It's Easy to Show Courage When You Have Nothing to Lose
Modern culture has a way of ruining words. Once the collective hive mind of humanity finds something they like, they beat it into the ground until the words or phrases go from meaning what they originally meant to “feel free to gloss over whatever the person writing this is saying.” This is a bummer because some of these words are just so hard to replace.
"Epic" is a particularly good example of this, as society passed the point where something being good or great was acceptable and needed something short and snappy to describe an increasingly silly number of videos, memes, social media rants and screeds populating social media. Epic became the word of the day, and suddenly everything everyone did was capital-e epic. Epic was a great word before all of this, and now we have to pretend things are mythic like this is ancient Greece.
Likewise, "destroyed" and "demolished" are well on their way to uselessness. We no longer take people to task or challenge their opinions. With one tweet, one look, one joke, people and institutions are reduced to rubble by late night talk show hosts, c-level celebrities and people who are just real good at Twitter. Of course, no one is actually destroyed or demolished, but those words certainly do look good in a headline when you're fishing to clicks. The Internet is well on the way of ruining "slay" too, but for different reasons. At least we'll always have "zap"; "[x] zapped [y] in one tweet" will never sound cool.
Which brings us to the latest word people are collectively obsessed with: "Courage."
Quiz time: would you say that the following groups and individuals are showing they possess courage?
1. A tech company makes a radical change to a product which could potentially upset millions of people so they can stretch the limits of a product that has changed our society forever.
2. A man leaves behind a successful career to pursue his dream in a quest that could lead to not only injury but death.
3. A patriot desperate to save his country takes the high road when going low would put him closer to his goal.
There are those who would say at least one if not all of these three examples show people possessing courage. The people that believe this would be completely wrong.
1. Apple owns the largest wireless headphone company in the world, so, you know, getting rid of the headphone jack so they could jam a slightly bigger battery into the new iPhones is pretty much a no-brainer. Of course, that's not how they see it: "The reason to move on: courage. The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us.” Now, it's true that wireless headphones are wonderful, but making them slightly easier to use isn't an act of courage, it's an act of capitalism. Apple could start making a phone out of a plastic that smells like used diapers and people would still camp out to buy it.
2. Because combat sports are the best, the man who complained about other wrestlers coming in and taking his spot because they hadn't put in the time to earn it, CM Punk headed to the UFC... and got a spot that should have gone to someone who had put the time in to earn it. And the bizarre thing about the entire situation is how people acted like he was brave to step into the octagon, as if getting pounded for two minutes in a sport that is fairly safe – seriously, you're more likely to die in a boxing match – was a real risk to an athlete who spent the last few years taking bumps in the world of wrestling. Not to mention, if you offer most people $500K to fight one MMA match, most are going to take it, not because they're brave, but because money has a way of making bruises – to the body and to the ego – easier to swallow.
3. Does it really need to be explained that Donald Trump, no matter what his son says, didn't show courage because he didn't bring up Bill Clinton's poor life choices up during the debate?
Life is a hustle, and in the rat race for money, respect and power, many will say whatever is necessary to get to their end goal. Apple, CM Punk fans and Eric Trump are all just playing their roles in the big game of “Please Pay Attention to [X].” But none of them have anything to be afraid of. Apple is still going to sell a ton of phones. CM Punk is still going to be a millionaire. Donald Trump is still going to be the Republican nominee. Courage requires fear, that's why we know it when we see it. Because we know the things that we can't do, and respect those that can.
Besides, if the Internet is any indication, there are a whole lot of people who aren't afraid to be a jerk to Hillary Clinton.
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