There goes Madam Cynic

From my favourite online resource, dictionary.com

cyn·i·cal /ˈsɪnɪkəl/ Pronunciation KeyShow Spelled Pronunciation[sin-i-kuhl] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation –adjective

1. like or characteristic of a cynic; distrusting or disparaging the motives of others.
2. showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one’s actions, esp. by actions that exploit the scruples of others.
3. bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

So I get this a lot, you’re having a conversation with a bunch of people and you stupidly voice your real opinion on things. Someone turns around and says, “Oh my you’re a bit of a cynic aren’t you!”.

It always ends with that high pitched, accentuate, “aren’t you”. Generally I let people get away with it, because in my attempts at being humours through wit, I am confused for a mean hearted, evil little person who drowns kittens. I try and steer very clear of making personal comments on people’s behaviours and personalities and don’t appreciate being told what “I am” by total strangers.

Here’s a conversation that took place at work today. You decide if I’m a cynic or not.

Just to set the scene, the conversation started when my paranoid android, I need to play the man and have everything under control but can actually shit my pants in a flash cubicle buddy decided to solicit my help for a project he’s working on. He’s the contractor, ie, my company has employed his company to do their IT side of things. When I used to work at this place, I was in his shoes, contracted through a different IT consulting firm to provide some of the same services. He’s a security guy. I’m a Finance girl.

Another thing I should probably mention here is that in the entire time we’ve talked to each other, over the cubicle, he’s never called me by name. Recently, I was identified as “head phone girl”, because I listen to music at work. Anyway, moving along.

He starts to tell me he needs my services (to help his work) but for free and a few other things that just pissed me off. Also he was doing a terrible job of trying to get my help. He’s one of these people that can’t ask nicely and can’t butter you up either, he’s a terrible “in the middle” kind of guy. Grr.

He asked me, I referred him onto the Oracle “expert” after which the exchange that took place between us was repeated to his manager. She’s a woman, and has the ability to make conversation, and she can communicate. He’s a man, and therefore a twit (not that I hate men…). He tells her that if ever he asks me for anything, I spit in his face (spit in his face? bit dramatic are we not?). I obviously deflect this with a devastatingly clever come back and the conversation moves into Ireland (because the manager is from there). We start talking about Irish literature, male participant is quiet through out this conversation and she brings up the topic of desolation and misery, a recurring theme in Irish literature.

She goes on to mention that she remembers war and that its a terrible thing. As she’s augmenting her anti war sentiment with facts, I cement my decision to make this quip:

“But Linda our PM says war is good. We need war, go war, wooo” and I make the victory hand gesture (when you close your fists and wave them in the air to denote happines, just imagine something, you get my drift).

She comes back with “Oh, you’re cynical. See, she’s using wit and sarcasm to illustrate her point” – almost like she’s deconstructing an Irish text.

I remain silent.

They exchange ideas. She continues with the “war is bad” situation, its actually bothering me that no one’s picked up on you know, the Iraq situation so far.

I come back with “Listen Linda, I’m sorry, but you’re in Australia now and we say Go War. We need to support our allies even though we have like 200 soldiers in Iraq and they have and are continuing to spend billions daily on the war. So I’m sorry but keep your hippie war hating ways out of here.”

This conversation left shit my pants cubicle buddy more than uncomfortable and he wrapped up the conversation with, I think that’s not a good topic to discuss at work. She being more tactful but equally unfair, remarks, “You’re cynical! Yeah see, you’re a cynic! I’ve had too many of these conversations with my husband so don’t even get me started”.

I don’t get it…I’m a cynic?

If some one can explain the logic of war to me then ok. What is the matter with accepting the reality of life which is that it doesn’t matter what anyone wants except for those in power because they’re going to get it. Is that what people mean by being a cynic? Is there something wrong with seeing things they way they are? Maybe the issue is saying it like it is. Perhaps people don’t appreciate hearing that?

I don’t appreciate this term being brandished about like its totally acceptable. Its a strong word and my feelings dissipate before its full potential is realised. I’m not a cynic and I don’t appreciate being told this by people who barely know me. What I’ve related to you here I believe is an exercise in the misuse of language. Neither of them knew what they meant or wanted to say.

I am not a cynic.

Hmph.

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8 thoughts on “There goes Madam Cynic

  1. I think someone uses that argument “my, aren’t you a cynic” when confounded by logic and finding that their own consumption of the government Kool Aid does not suffice anymore.

  2. I think there’s a touch of cynicism reflected in your blog, but only a moderate, healthy amount. *Being cynical* is quite a step above that, and *being a cynic* even further beyond, i certainly don’t think either applies to you. Sarcastic with a hint of bitter humour, perhaps, but a cynical cynic not.

    I agree with your assessment “poor choice of words”, though Linda is merely following a trend. My firm belief here of the main problem is that the word cynical has, like so many, been gradually misappropriated through typical ignorant misuse and banal overuse. Quiiiiiiiiiick where’s my anti-rant medicine.

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