The Malcontent on: First World Problems


Or more specifically,
“ohmygoshIwasjustgettingchangedafterashowerandmyscoutwalkedinonmehashtagfirstworldproblems”. Or any other egregious example of over-wringing a trivial moment of embarrassment, strife or inconvenience into a social occasion.

Not that any of us are exempt from such minor worries. Of such incidental day-to-day mishaps is life’s rich tapestry woven. What is a problem, though, is the persistent habit of the everyday Oxonian to spin these foibles into a lament on the human condition, for which there is no cure except to relentlessly inform the world that your new CD doesn’t have the bonus tracks from the Japanese release that you pirated. You should be ashamed. It’s not just that these banalities are annoying or self-centred – they’re a betrayal of the nature of humanity itself. This is not a joke – the reason we, or rather, those of us who don’t take refuge in complaining of the most trivial issue, survived on the African plains and made it to our lofty perch at the top of the food chain is by seeing problems and doing something about them. I mean, even crows do it – they have first world problems too. Find some walnuts that you can’t crack? Use a traffic light to get cars to smash them, then pick up the remains. It doesn’t get more first-world than that. You don’t hear crows bitching to each other that “ohmygoshthesewalnutsarelikesooootoughandI’llmessmybeakuponthem”, do you? Crows are fucking cool about that shit. They deal with their problems. They see a solution, and they do it. Did you fix your problems? Yeah, right, you just went out and bitched about them to an uncaring world.

“But I’m better than a crow! My problems are even more trivial and insurmountable!” you say. I have a request on behalf of the rest of humanity: shut the hell up. Don’t worry, we stopped listening a fair while back. First world problems fall into two categories: those you were too lazy to fix, and those you were too inept to deal with. Tell us about your first world solutions instead. Maybe don’t bother telling us about your minor struggles, because here’s a hint: everybody has them. Hashtag-first-world-problems is emotional blackmail via trivialities, demanding the world pay attention to your personal struggle. On the other hand, maybe you can get a job writing about trivial inconveniences in a student paper.
John Glanville

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