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Help Me Fight the Creepy Smile!

September 6, 2011

Know what I love about blogging? I have two issues to address in this post, but I didn’t have to burn brain wax to craft a title that would encompass them both. Easy to love that if you’re a type “B,” like me.

For some order, I’ll keep this first part true to the title.

You probably already know what I’m talking about with regard to the creepy smile. I couldn’t tell you when it started… maybe 2005ish? It’s when somebody is speaking about something that is clearly and plainly not related to something a human being would generally smile about, yet they smile anyway. Not a flashy smile. Not a simple, “I’d-like-to-make-others-smile-so-I’ll-toss-one-out-while-I’m-speaking,” smile…. no sirs and ma’ams. This smile is a deviant smile, and it is easily spotted because it begins to slowly spread across the speaker’s face, not while he’s talking about a hot date he once had or a prank he pulled on somebody, as you would expect… not when he’s about to deliver the punch line of a joke or say anything related to humor or sarcasm or anything else that can even be loosely connected to a normal human reason to smile or try to make others smile.

No, no.

These smiles begin to creep onto a face while one is talking about deep space or capital gains tax or sentences with the word “draconian.” It comes across the faces of many prominent, regularly-interviewed folks when they are talking about the most non-smile-related shi8 you can possibly think of.

What is it? It’s a sad and scary thing, all in one. It’s a major and flagrant display of confidence–one that says, “I’m so gd sure of myself and what I’m saying that I’m going to make sure that you know that I have absolutely zero reserves about saying it (see my smile starting?) and, in fact, I’m so confident that I’m going to keep it on… not a flash, no, but a 5 or 10-second face deformation that shows that I’m so comfortable in my own shoes that I can talk about the decline in urban infrastructure funding while bearing my teeth, slowly, first two, then four, then six or ten. Why am I doing that as a little personality trait deal and not just keeping a straight face until the context that would support a smile arises? Well, because I saw others do it on TV or at work, so now I do it. I do it because they do it. If they are doing it, it must be cool.”

The raw truth is that there is irony here, and I know that because I’m a bona fide irony hunter.

These people trying to show their strength are actually imitating others. They are being led by a weak and very creepy fad… a trend set by the pompous. My studies of psychology in school were not nearly enough to qualify me to explain this. Only the deepest thought in the inquisitive mind (about human nature) could bring this issue into the light as I am, and that’s not a pat on my own back–it’s an admission of an affliction. I can’t stop finding this stuff.

Help me destroy this creepy trend of the haughty and their sycophants. It’s truly disturbing–this creepy-smile deal–when you think about it. I hope.

When you’re listening to somebody speak in person and they start giving you that creepy smile at a most inappropriate time (you’ll know), simply interrupt them. I hate interrupters, but by the crack of St. Peter’s white arse, I will interrupt them when they start this smile and ask, “What is that smile for? No, you were just smiling. I don’t understand. I wasn’t smiling at you; I was just listening with a straight face, and you were telling me about how you knew your boss delegated his hardest work to you and that you knew his job better than him and that you were getting tired of doing his work on your pay, which in now way involves humor or should invoke a smile of relief or gratitude or any other kind of known smile, yet you started smiling, got this big smile on your face as you were talking. What are you smiling for? What is the cause and meaning of the smile?”

Shine the light on them.

And while we’re aiming lights around, can we focus one on anchor reporters? Well, not necessarily anchors, but the ones that are sort of shuffling the stories to and fro between field reporters?

Watch national news sometime (it happens with world and local, but especially nationally-focused news folks). You’ll have a news dealer, of sorts, bringing you 1 minute spiels from the medical guy and the weather guy and the finance girl and the fashion girl and as they give their headline for the segment and finish up, the anchor-at-hand will almost always add her little 2 cents to it, when she is not the expert. What should she do? Say, “Thank you…” and move on to the next effing line on the teleprompter. Just this morning, I saw it twice; an unnamed anchor-at-hand was talking to a doctor who was talking about disease and a new organization that had been started by a family with diseased children and as he finished by saying their new “mantra,” something like “Live for today, hope for tomorrow, and pray for a cure,” she adds in something like, “Always be thankful for your family, for the moment, and realize how bad others have it…” blah blah mc-effing blah. No, anchor-at-hand. No no. You may not teach us your morals. We just heard from somebody who went to school for eight or ten or twelve years and did all the research for this story and did the story and then delivered the family/new organization’s mantra and now you are going to to take that piece of cake, drop your two grains of unrefined sugar on top and sell it as your own? No, I do not accept your ploy. You go out in the field, you become the expert and do the research for your own stories, and I’ll be fighting the anchor-at-hand that is trying to grab your jet pack straps to sneakily rise above the fray with you to deliver his message from the same elevation.

Human nature. The parts that I love, I really do love. The parts that I hate are few. Unwarranted confidence, masking a weak nature to be a follower (indeed, a need to be led) is one that bothers me. Taking credit for the work of others and pushing morals (or religion/politics) bothers me. And hypocrisy (not addressed here) drives me batty. I’m always looking to enlist folks into my army that will battle uglies. Help me, please, battle these uglies.


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