Pride is nothing to be proud of

Maximum confusion
My story. Finally.

A few days ago in a weak moment I acquiesced to a request. I clicked to share this picture.

the source of the controversy

Nothing I ever wrote got as much attention as this half-heartedly shared stupidity that I did not even bother to comment on as I usually do when I like something.
You can read the whole silly conversation here; I will only quote a few to make my point:

The first comment:
This looks a lot like White Pride used to look … you may want to think through what this is saying and it is not about equality.

My answer:
To me, this is not about conservatism or gender politics but about standing up to the oppressive, politically correct, pretend concern, pretend tolerance, obnoxious leftist agenda making normal look its opposite.

Then the just a tad bit over-reaction:
Saying people should not be ashamed, beaten, killed and imprisoned for the way they were born, something which does not harm others, is not an “obnoxious leftist agenda”: it is recognizing their right of self-ownership. I know of no gay group saying there is anything wrong with being straight nor saying others must be like them, the same cannot be said for many if not most conservatives including the people who created the above. To feel threatened by others simply acknowledging who they are born and trying to shame that action is very much trying to promote a positive right, of oppression in this case, which is an authoritarian’s view on the world.

Then somewhere way down the line a word of true wisdom:
“pride” goeth before the fall

This was a lesson. It is not the kind of conversation I like to have. I don’t like to defend something I don’t really support. I kind of agree with John’s point, it is a bit like white pride and I would need to take a good look at the people behind it. I shared it because I found it amusing. Maybe it is not. Still, the reaction was surprising and quickly turned into something else, a discussion about discussions.
I am not going to talk about that – maybe another time, and I am not going to talk about what I think about the whole gender agenda – that I will do for sure another time.

What I will try to tell you is what I think of the word PRIDE. I have problem with the very expression and the way it is used. The only manifestation which I find somewhat acceptable is if it expresses a sense of achievement  over some great personal accomplishment or overcoming some great personal difficulty. Even then, ‘pride’ means that it is overdone.

When I went to see my father on his death-bed he told me that there is no greater joy for a father than to be able to be proud of his son (meaning me).

He saying that did not make me happy. I did not feel and I still don’t that he had grounds for it. Yes, I do better than my brothers, but I never achieved anything to make me feel truly proud of myself. How could he be proud of me if I cannot be proud of myself? Being what I am is not an achievement. Neither his or mine.

I used to work with a young mother. She was in her twenties at the time when she brought her three year old daughter to show around in the office. I never saw anybody beaming so much with pride about her baby who looked a little slow for her age. I found it touchingly sad.

I was never interested in spectator sports. I just can’t get it. Cheering for ‘your’ team and being proud of their victories is just not understandable to me. Appropriating the success of someone else to make yourself feel better is puzzling to me. I dislike the manifestations of the tribal instinct demonstrated by sports fandom. Especially in today’s world when your ‘local’ sports team may not have a single local player in it.
I appreciate achievement, I love my own in those rare moments when I have it, but I would not characterize it as pride.

I always had an issue with gay pride. Not with gays, but this contrarian, spiteful turning of shame around to stick it into our face. Just because something should not be shameful, does not mean that we can or should be proud of it. The very notion of ‘gay pride’ is confrontational.
The way gay activist are pushing politicians to celebrate their gay pride days is obnoxious. The way politicians bend over to accommodate them is distasteful.

I do not like the pride of the Americans. Desperately clinging to the notion of their long-gone exceptionalism, still pretending that their country is the best place in the world as they are losing their former greatness and glory day by day.  I love Canada, but I am not ‘proud’ of it. I appreciate my heritage, but I am not ‘proud’ of being born Hungarian. My cousin is and he thinks that I should be too. Any time I go there I have the feeling that I am lacking something that I am supposed to have.

I have serious problems with political pride. The arrogant pride of the left of their supposed morality and benevolence and the righteous pride of the religious right and their morality.
I have a problem with the condescending smug pride of the environmentalists and the aggressive pride of the Marxist activists.

I don’t know what to do with the pride of the believers. The pride of being better by knowing better. The pride of being right while they are mostly wrong. Religious pride can be quite virulent; just look at the Muslims. I can see pride even in some Buddhists.

No matter which manifestation of pride I look at, I sense overcompensated insecurity or an inferiority complex. Something that deserves mocking. That is what I see in that picture above, not the pride.

The Bible considers pride the most serious of the deadly sins, the one associated with Lucifer, the cause of his fall from grace.
Dante defines it as the “love of self, perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbour”

All of this has been watered down in our present culture not to small extent thanks to the efforts of gays who are positing it as an entirely positive notion. It is also helped by our educational system promoting it as a rightful reward of every child for simply being.

Could that be an implication that our culture is about to fall?
When Aletta was quoting proverbs 16:18 I had to wonder what she meant. The above? The fall of our whole culture, the fall of gay culture or the fall of white/straight pride?

If the fall comes, what will it look like?
Just two days ago Piya Chattopadhay of the CBC interviewed Michael Lannan, the creator of Looking, an HBO show about three gay friends in San Francisco. The show seems to have sparked a debate in the gay community, as some do not like this new world of being ‘normal’ (meaning fully accepted in this instance). If nobody cares that you are gay, if you have all the rights, then there is nothing special about being gay. No shame, no pride. No more heroic fight for acceptance.

Maybe the gay rights movement is dying. Let’s hope that at least this instance of pride will end with a whimper, not with a bang. Well, ok, let them have the bang, but can we just keep it private?

Just enjoy it, no shame, no pride.

2 replies on “Pride is nothing to be proud of”

  1. Oreszt says:
    I think there is way too many different concepts are mushed up here. You are criticizing one concept, and then get into another’s bad parts. There should be a clear separation of pride’s interpretations.
    “Gay pride” is one. I can see its reasons for existence (ignorance, rejection, hatred, discrimination) and the powerful emotions behind it. I personally have also felt that many of its way of being expressed are actually counterproductive and on occasion seem way too desperate, instead of expressing “hey there is nothing wrong with this, stop the hate and discrimination.”
    Pride as a sin is the second one. If we are talking about Dante’s definition, then yes, it is certainly harmful “love of self, perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbor”, but not because of the first part for sure. Of course if we are talking about some religions guilt focus, then yes, feeling good about yourself or finding the valuable things in yourself are against the agenda, it makes confessions, praying all day and going to church unnecessary, so it must be branded as a sin.
    Pride in oneself as you mentioned referring to education is the last one. I will in fact analyze it as it relates to all humans. Being proud of yourself is not wrong. If you look at its opposite, perfectionism, you will realize it is the search for what is wrong with what you do or who you are, what is missing, what needs to be corrected. Being proud is being able to find what is good with what you did or who you are and feeling good about it. Of course if you are going to either extreme you will have problems. Being blind to one’s flaws or trying to be proud without any actual reason or achievement is just as wrong as the perfectionist extreme: not being able to feel any sense of achievement.
    I think the truth is halfway between both ends. Yes you should be proud of your successes; yes you should feel good if you achieve something, especially if it was a big thing for you (even if it is no big deal for others). AND be aware that there is no perfection; there is always room for improvement, and that’s ok. Acknowledge it, and only feel bad about it to the extent that it motivates you to do it better the next time.
    In fact this definition should work for the previous problems as well.
    • zorkthehun says:

      Words mean what we chose them to mean. Words also change over time, they may not mean today what they meant yesterday.
      Words are also reflections of our concepts of reality, our understanding and our desires.
      To me the word pride has mostly, not exclusively but mostly, negative connotations. I have less of a problem with excessive self-confidence and outright arrogance than I have with pride which – to me – necessarily involve an element of being undeserved.
      There is no authoritative definition of what the word means as there can be no definition comprehensive enough to include all and any connotations and special uses.
      Maybe the correct interpretation is that of the first grade teacher explaining to her student that being proud means to feel good about yourself. It’s just not mine.

      And I don’t think that I was mushing different concepts. I used many different examples of a phenomena pointing to a common element in them because unlike you, I do see a common element in them. You want to separate them because you wish to see some more acceptable than others.

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