Grumpy cats and other sour joys

Grumpy cats and other sour joys

Why should all those touchy-feely, sappy-happy optimists have all the fun? Let's get critical and cranky. Remember: Complaining is a valid venting mechanism. I think some psychologist said that somewhere.
 
Aug 11, 2016

We know, the S-word. But it's in the title of the book!

Book learning

Get your social media off my lawn! Yes, you need a Facebook page and a Google listing and some avenue somewhere online for future and current clients to talk to you. But that's about it.

In Social Media Is Bullshit, so-angry-and-he's-not-gonna-take-it-anymore B.J. Mendelsohn argues that big corporations, media empires and wildly popular celebrities have great success on social media—not small businesses. Social media is not the magic bullet to fix your marketing woes. Get back to basics, Mendelsohn says: encourage word-of-mouth and the power of personal relationships (especially in your community). And collect people's real digital addresses: their emails. See? Community outreach! Old is new again! Tell them what they can do with their Pinterest!

This is not official Grumpy Cat. But he looks grumpy, right? Slightly peevish? Uncertain? (Photo Getty Images)

Internet memes

If you love cats, you love Grumpy Cat. If you don't like cats, you love Grumpy Cat.

This squish-faced icon of pessimism and overall pissiness is really a quite happy cat named Tardar. But forget the happy story! Shut the office door, whip out your smartphone or keyboard and head to images.google.com and search for "grumpy cat meme" and sit back and laugh at the Internet's collective work at embracing the most misanthropic, troglodytic, willfully miserable sentiment ever encapsulated in one cat's face. See? Feeling bad can feel good!

Alexander Evans is being pessimistic in this video screenshot. It's his thing.

Video watching

In a TED talk, British diplomat and Yale World Fellow Alexander Evans rails, gently and negatively, at our world's "unrelenting optimism." Everyone tells you to follow your dreams and you will achieve. Do you? Often not. Optimism bias is a real thing and makes us "very dangerous human beings," he says.

But you have a secret friend to help you: pessimism. Looking honestly at the overweaning confidence and unrealistic goals for yourself and the world around you—without being cruel or getting caught in depression or being overwhelmed by the futility of life—is, paradoxically, crucial for living a good, contented life. Search YouTube.com for "why pessimism is good."