All a bit Holden Caufield, I know, but after reading 'Catcher In The Rye' I just felt I had to rant a little on the subject of 'phonies' (people who are dishonest in what they say and what they do for the purpose of creating a false impression on others or to aide in self-delusion).
I'm a free-thinking person that doesn't change or alter his reactions to cater for other people's expectations, of course. Of course, I am! I'd be a hypocrite ranting about phonies if I allowed myself to be one. Well, Holden was a hypocrite and so am I. Honestly, I believe that I'm pretty good at avoiding phoniness but at times I catch myself and think 'Hey, stop! You're just doing or saying that because you feel you should' I hate it.
My first thought is to glance at my music collection. Thankfully, I'm not guilty of falseness on this count. I damn near get assaulted daily for being open about liking Avril Lavigne more than I do The Pixies, and Iron Maiden more than Nirvana. Apparently it matters to some people, the people who tend to advertise their taste in music to those who couldn't care less, the people who I shall dub 'musical phonies'. Musical phonies are in abundance all over the world although they certainly bother me less than the other main variations of phoney as they only really annoy and clash with each other.
And the musical phonies are just a subset of 'Social Phonies'. These form a much greater group which encompasses most of the world in some form or other; people who are influenced by the potential negative reactions of others can change their clothes, their hairstyles, their colloquialisms - even their beliefs can be altered for the desired effect on society. Sorry if they piss you off, but don't see massive shame in being a social phony. Hell, I'm probably one and most likely you're one too, even if just to a small extent.
The second phony is my shameful branding. 'Intellectual phonies' are bastards, all right. Intellectual snobbery and condescension are our primary vices and we don't half get up other people's noses. Don't misunderstand me; an intellectual phony could be outwitted by plankton and still maintain their phoniness. It's not a question of intellect, rather of a people who feel snug and safe in society if they can pretend to be a little cultured and armed with a wit or two.
I intensely dislike the third type of phony. He's a fake of the worst of kind; the 'emotional phony'. I covered a lot about my distaste for the emotional phony in my 'Lying Through Sorrow' rant, but I'll reiterate a little because this is the only phony that I really see going beyond being annoying or trivial and venturing into seriously delusion. To be an emotional phony is to feign a feeling, normally of sympathy or empathy, in order to become removed from feeling of guilt instilled if you don't naturally emote.
Phoniness spreads and adapts much like a contagious disease. Humanity's dishonesty and their tolerance of dishonesty is increasing exponentially. I'm not saying we were nice 'back in the day' but we were certainly more honest about who we were, even if it could get you your head lopped off.
You won't stop being phony; you can't; to do that is to revolt against human nature but you must try, make an attempt to be honest about who you are and what you feel, even if only to yourself. If you don't force yourself to do that, then who'll believe a word you say?