How to Become a Badass and Defeat Bad Leaders
I was thinking about history, and of course what we know to be “true” may not be true at all. But let’s take what we think is true about the French Revolution. King Louis and Marie Antoinette were partying and leading their lives of luxury right up until the day they were seized at Versailles and transported to the Tuileries, where their situation deteriorated until both, along with an estimated 17,000 others, lost their heads to the Revolution.
Our culture blames Marie Antoinette for all of it, as she is the one, when told the French people lacked bread to eat (something that had been going on for at least two decades) said, “Let them eat cake.” There continue to be films about her life, the majority very sympathetic. Of course, little to none of what actually happened was her fault. If we consider her little farm at Versailles, she probably would have had a reasonably happy life as a farmer’s wife rather than wife of France’s last, degenerate King.
So, back in these Revolutionary times in France, the French leaders, including the King, decided to call a meeting of the Estates-General, a sort of Republican voting concept that hadn’t been used for over a hundred years. There were three “Estates” in this, and the “Third Estate” was comprised of everybody who wasn’t the nobility or the clergy. This included the bourgeois and the peasants — everyone not “noble” or a Catholic priest. The “Third Estate” was able to choose 600 representatives. The clergy and the nobility, respectively, had 300 representatives of their own. And this little bit was the beginning of the “straw” that broke the back of the French monarchy, an institution that had existed for almost 1,000 years. The French people in cities and the countryside began to rebel against a regime that made life difficult to impossible for them. People with nothing to lose stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789. While the American Revolution was about rich land and slave owners wresting control from the British Crown, the French Revolution was more about the survival of the people who were dying under the boot of a corrupt, dying monarchy and noble regime.
It’s likely deep-set gender bias that has made Marie Antoinette, the King’s wife, out to be the public face of France’s exploitive and evil monarchy, but there are hundreds far more responsible than she for the terrible conditions that created the French Revolution.
But perhaps — this time women can play a more active role in assisting society to move beyond bad leadership.
I do work internationally so what I’m writing about is in no way limited to the U.S. And, other nations are far ahead of us here in the U.S., which, if you give history an honest look — let’s say through my lens, the lens of a writer — this nation is a backward country with weak and feeble traditions. The reasons should be obvious: when a culture selects any artist, writer, performer, or creator for their fealty to an evil and dishonest regime, the results will be at-best mediocre. As far as we writers are concerned, the opportunity for independent creative work passed in the 60s and 70s. This regime clamped down hard on creators in the 80s and has not let up one iota since. Now we have COVID, which has devastated the traditional structures in all creative ventures across the board.
For me, life has been so challenging that the part of me that wrote “To Kiss the Star” and Like Fire has been dormant for a long time. When your daily concern is to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head and you genuinely fear homelessness and destitution as a weak, old woman unable to even find a man to support you —
That’s quite the line our culture sells us, isn’t it? So this is also the solution and it’s one that every single one of us in our Third Estate can take. We can start right now, today. And I even have a tech tool that can help each of us.
I started messing around with these face swap apps and beyond the selfie, beyond TikTok or other similar programs, I learned 2 things from this. First, I look far more like my grandmother than I ever thought — at all ages — and second, from using these programs, I have a much better understanding of what I actually DO look like. Like many people, I have dysmorphia, and I don’t see in the mirror what others see. Someone very dear to me has it even worse — when he looks in the mirror, he sees a monster rather than the kind, handsome man and boy he has always been and remains.
This is not my grandmother — it’s me.
So quite a few, if not 100%, of our “First Estate” (the ‘ruling elite’) like to spend their time and near-monopoly of all media channels mocking, denigrating, verbally abusing, misgendering, using homophobic slurs, or various other insults to anyone who dares question them in any way. They are responsible for the cultural advertisements of the past 100 years that taught women to hate their bodies, their hair, their skin color, and everything about themselves. They correspondingly encourage films/TV that celebrate violence and devastation, whether they’re fantasy/superhero or endless paeans to the endless wars, from prehistory to the present day. But if you want to watch people making love — well — that’s pornography.
Thank God we have YouTube, right? All I watch are The Dodo, videos of sea animals, and virtual running.
OK, so stay with me here. Get one of the face swap apps and put your face on a superhero, movie star, or other heroic figure. Do it until you see yourself that way. I’m not guaranteeing the effect will last, but I am suggesting that it’s an automatic and easy way to boost your self-esteem and help you to see that you are as worthwhile and worthy as these film/TV characters and also — just as worthy or worthwhile — in reality, moreso — than today’s versions of Louis XVI or Marie Antoinette.
The thing is, the career that I had (fiction writer) is basically pointless and out of business right now, and maybe that’s the same concept as buggy whips. It’s not about me, it is not about any “bestselling writer” it’s about YOU. You, who are reading this. YOU need to take charge of your life and your future because you have been putting your trust in, and passively relying upon, people who wouldn’t be qualified to do the right thing by you even if they were good people — which they expressly, are not.
There’s an old writing assignment used in Freshman English called “I am the hero of my own life.” Like all such assignments, it’s seldom taken seriously, and the students asked to do it by mostly-incompetent, tone-deaf teachers, and asked at the wrong point in the semester and in the wrong way, often struggle with it. They don’t even know who they are yet, much less have the ability to write their own life story with any reasonable veracity.
So, we are living beings and we use our senses to make sense of the world, and the first sense I’m addressing here is vision. Put your face on the superheroes, extreme athletes, whichever image most appeals to you, have fun with the face swap app … and then look at it and realize …
I am that.
I deserve a life
I deserve a decent place to live
I deserve health care
I deserve education
I deserve not to live in fear
I deserve to live fearlessly
I deserve time off
I deserve a healthy environment
I deserve to be heard
And correspondingly, the next time you see or hear the ‘elites’ expressing their endless, ceaseless denigration of others, turn them off and tune them out.
By now, since we see this a.m. that COVID, according to the New York Times, is officially over, we can quickly move on to our own next phases of life.
When each of us in the 99% sees ourselves and own own lives, thoughts, and opinions as worthy as those of the ones who shove theirs down our throats 24–7.
Bastille Day USA. The French called it “The Great Fear.” When the peasants rose up in the cities and the countryside. But there’s no need for violence. I’ll lay money that within 100 years there’ll be no ‘ruling elite’ at all. What can you do?
BECOME A BADASS
BECOME THE HERO OF YOUR OWN LIFE
That is all you, any of us, needs to do. Is that easy? No — but start by picturing yourself that way. Any change that lasts happens one day at a time.
PS — unfollow all online ‘influencers’ that tell you what to do, how to be, and what to think. Suck the air out of their room. It’s happening naturally anyway.