I just had my usual agonizing ten minutes of deep moral complexity when deciding what milk to buy, and I thought I would walk you all through it so you know that I’m not just insane about overthinking movies, it’s my whole life.
I am one of those people, who will be familiar to many of you (possibly from within your own brains), who cannot enjoy something without justifying it as in some way serving the greater good.
For instance, milk!
Every time I go to the grocery store, I find myself starring at the milk fridge and this is what goes through my head:
“Oh! Milk of Evil [not the actual brandname]! I want that because it is so tasty and I enjoy it!”
And then I think “I can’t do something just because it makes me happy, that is WRONG. I must consider the greater good and determine of my actions will serve it.”
And then I consider the greater good:
“It’s a local company that uses small family farms, recycles their bottles, and doesn’t give the poor cows growth hormones-Good! I should buy it.”
(Small family farmers! I should buy their milk! GOOD!)
“But on the other hand, the owner of the company has terrible evil political views-Bad! I shouldn’t buy it!”
(Evil! Khalnayak is what he is!)
“But in a larger sense, if I believe in free speech, I shouldn’t economically punish someone for expressing their honest opinions, and if the product is high quality that is all I should care about-Good! Buy the Milk!”
(High quality product! Deserves to be rewarded merely for the quality no matter who made it!)
“However, in this case, it isn’t just free speech, he is actually running for political office self-funded using the profits from my milk purchase, I am in essence donating to a political campaign for someone whose values are antithetical to my own-Bad! Don’t Buy the Milk!”
(He has to pay for TV ads not helicopters, but it’s still expensive)
“But his political campaign is doomed DOOMED because he is running in a moderate district, and by his self-funded aggressive campaigning he is blocking the Republicans from fielding a more viable candidate and therefore guaranteeing a Democratic victory-GOOD! Buy the Milk!”
(Yes! Good Ajay will win instead of evil rich Manoj Bajpai!)
And so, after ten minutes of starring at the milk fridge, I finally buy the milk. But I am careful not to enjoy drinking it too much, because that would be WRONG. I am buying the milk as a political gesture, not for fun.
And this is my life. You should see me deciding when (if ever) it is justified to use the dryer at the laundromat, buy cut flowers, or the real luxury, getting a dog (I landed on “I am allowed to get a dog because if I don’t, I will spend my life curled up and miserable and not be able to do any good in the world”).
(And now through the transitive property of dog ownership, Hazel is the one who is curled up and miserable)
Anyway, that’s why I blog. I was getting too much pleasure from watching movies, which is WRONG, because you shouldn’t waste your life on things that merely give you pleasure. Well, not more than the bare minimum of pleasure required to get you through all the things you are supposed to be doing for the greater good.
So I went back to school which made watching movies into “learning” and learning is GOOD (so long as I’m still working full time and paying my own tuition and generally not enjoying it too much). But then I finished school which meant watching movies became pleasure again and therefore WRONG, BAD, and unjustifiable waste of time and money that could have been spent on making the world a better place. And thus, this blog.
I write here so that my watching movies becomes a donation to the greater good of the world, to teaching others, to providing content and value. And also (I’m sorry) removing some of that pure escapist pleasure for the rest of you. Because pleasure is BAD! Learning and empathy and cultural understanding and seeing the lies peddled to you by the media is GOOD!
And now, as a surprise twist ending, let me bring this back to Shahrukh. This is why I love Shahrukh. He brings me a joy so intense that it breaks through all my guilt and messed up mind and lets me reach a place where I am just happy, purely happy, without worrying about if it is right or wrong or justified or wasteful, but just happiness. If I look at his face or watch his songs or his interviews, everything else drops away and I feel like I can fly.
Margaret, just buy the Oberweis milk. The sons run the business. It is just better! I get it delivered to my house.
See! I knew it wasn’t just me who has this whole moral dilemma over milk! It is so strange that such a conservative family is trying to sell a product that is primarily purchased by liberals, which leads to all their customers agonizing over grocery choices.
On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 9:59 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
As long as Shah Rukh is pure joy, you’ll be okay. He does say that he thinks his purpose on earth is to make people smile. So smile!!
Aw, you’re right! I don’t even have to feel bad for using him for my own selfish ends, he wants me to!
On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 10:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
But Shahrukh smokes, which is bad, but then . . .
But that’s his choice! Unless I should boycott his movies until he stops smoking in order to send him a message? No, I can’t go down that road!
On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 11:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
You can sidestep the agonizing by not buying milk as a staple . How important is a cow’s white blood cells liquid to your daily diet anyways? Meanwhile you can take a step toward reducing the agribusiness – oil – global warming – human and animal rights abuses – complex by reducing your contribution to perpetuating it.
Oh don’t send me down that road again! I was on soy or almond milk for 2 years for this reason until I finally went to the doctor for feeling generally run down and without energy and miserable she put me on prescription Vitamin D pills because my levels were dangerously low. And then I went back to regular milk (but local and organic so it is better for the cow and the earth) and have felt better ever since. It’s my breakfast lunch and dinner staple.
On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 1:31 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
I take a vitamin D3 pill daily (Vit C & D3 are my only daily supplements), never take soy (which has its own agribusiness and soil erosion and destruction of entire economies concerns), and my cuisine choices don’t have much need for creamy white liquid substance, but if i do i use almond milk, coconut milk/cream, goat milk, depends on the purpose.
But yes, *as an individual*, do what your doctor says and what your nutrition requires. It’s just that i think *as a society*, especially in the West, we rely too heavily on milk, butter, and dairy products. And it’s clearly not necessary (on the *aggregate* level) because other societies exist that use far less dairy or not at all. For example, in my native cuisine, milk is used in tea, and yogurt with rice, but that’s the extent of it in terms of daily usage, otherwise it is used in certain dessert recipes, and that’s most likely ghee not milk.
Ha ha! I so much can relate to what you wrote and again, I enjoyed your humour 🙂
ShahRukh would be happy to know that he can give you the joy of pure pleasure, of making you feeling so well and light that you can fly. Probably that will you make learn that there is no need to lable your pleasures with “good” or “bad” but simply enjoy them.
As for your way to extend your gusto for movies by extending your knowledge and using that to write about them, I am sure you did it out of hightened interest and your knack for communicate through writing (your book and your blog – including the comments – largely show that).
“the greater good” … I think it’s relative to the impact you make and where you try to make it…it is like throwing a stone into a pond…already the smallest one will make waves across the pond (while a really huge one thrown into the ocean will make waves which may not even reach a shore). So, it’s fine, let the “greater good” start with you…and keep it up with letting us know about you…it makes me think, smile, learn and gives me pleasure 🙂
I’m glad it makes you smile, learn, and get pleasure!
On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 7:17 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote: