Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Envy | ContraPoints

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(dramatic electronic music)

- So, April 27, 2017

was the greatest day in the history

of twitter.com.net.gov.

I realize that to you children, Twitter is an app.

But to us MILFs, it remains a website.

We have to dial in.

(dial-up modem chirping)

Hello operator.

Connect me to hell.

This was the day that Fyre Festival,

a "luxury music event" hosted by Ja Rule

and some charlatan was scheduled to begin on private island

in the Bahamas.

There was a lot of hype.

Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid endorsed the festival

on Instagram, there was a promo video full of supermodels,

tickets were selling for thousands of dollars.

One Twitter thread summarized the marketing

as, "Exclusivity, conspicuous consumption, & many,

many promises of excellent selfies

for your already-insufferable Instagram."

So, when the day arrived, and the advertised

"best in food, art, music and adventure" turned out

to be two slices of pallid American cheese languishing

over sliced bread in an atmosphere

that can only be described as muddy third-world shantytown-

I mean if you weren't on Twitter that day,

I don't think you can even imagine the revelry.

- [Twitter User 1] Just learned about @fyrefestival

aka Ja Rule's Concentration Camp for Instagram models

and rich white kids.

- [Twitter User 2] Yuppie hunger games hosted by ja-rule.

- [Twitter User 3] Finish your food,

there's starving millennial

influencers in #fyrefestival.

- [Twitter User 4] Instagram entitled rich kids

meet Lord of the Flies.

- [Twitter User 5] Let them eat salad.

- It was a shuddering climax of pent-up class rage.

You know, maybe Millennials couldn't

get Bernie Sanders elected,

but at least those sandwiches were garbage!

(dramatic music)

Jameela Jamil is an English actress

who is just extremely pretty.

Imagine looking like this.

Imagine being perfect.

Why are you doing this to me Jameela?

Why are you doing this to women?

One day on Instagram, an ordinary peasant

told the Queen Jameela, "Your skin is so perfect uwu."

And Jameela replied,

- [Jameela] "My skin is currently clear because:

A, privileged people have more access

to good quality nutrition and also our lives

are significantly less stressful than those

with less privilege.

I also get to sleep more because of this.

All of these things keep my hormones in balance

and I'm able to address food intolerances easily.

B, I believe that trans rights are human rights.

C, I exfoliate twice a week."

- Oh boy.

Jameela they're gonna cut your head off, gorg.

I'll protect you queen!

- [Twitter User 1] Could she be more annoying?

- Someone wondered on Twitter, to 77,000 likes.

- [Twitter User 2] This trend of fake self awareness legit

makes me wanna rip my hair out.

- Now look, to be fair, everything Jameela said is true.

Being privileged does make it easier to spend time

and money on cosmetics.

But Jameela's acknowledging this, this recitation

of all the complex socioeconomic factors

that account for why she's prettier than you,

doesn't take any of the sting out of inequality, does it?

And that's is kind of at odds

with what activists used to say,

which is that you should check your privilege.

A suggestion which privileged people seem

to have taken to heart, since the rich

and famous now go around

delivering these orations

on how fortunate they are compared to rabble.

And this of course, turns out

to be far more annoying

than when they acted oblivious to it.

"I don't have any beauty secrets,

I guess I just drink lots of water."

Take me, mother!

A similar scandal occurred when Kim Kardashian

tweeted about her birthday party at the height

of the coronavirus pandemic.

- [Kim] 40 and feeling so humbled and blessed.

There is not a single day that I take for granted,

especially during these times

when we are all reminded of the things that truly matter.

After two weeks of multiple health screens

and asking everyone to quarantine,

I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip

to a private island where we could pretend things

were normal for just a brief moment in time,

I realize that for most people, this is something

that is so far out of reach right now,

so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded

of how privileged my life is.

#thisis40.

Tag me, bitch.

So like Jameela, Kim is attempting

some kind of privilege-checking maneuver, and once again,

it has not gone well.

- [Twitter User 1] You are the Marie Antoinette

of the 21st century,

bragging about being "humble" and letting us eat cake.

- [Twitter User 2] Millions of Americans sick and suffering,

standing for hours in food lines and being evicted

as you flaunt your wealth and privilege.

Your tweet made 10 times worse by #ToneDeaf

"humbled and blessed" line.

#gross.

- [Twitter User 3] Happy birthday.

I hope someone got you an alphabet book as a gift,

so you can learn to read the motherf*ckin-"

- So the response on Twitter resembles moral outrage.

But what people were upset about is not

that she had the party,

I mean, wouldn't you escape

to a private island if you had that MILF money?

The problem was more that she tweeted about it,

and that the tweet was, maybe just maybe,

a little bit yikesy.

But if having the party wasn't wrong,

then why was tweeting about it wrong?

"This isn't a good look," we say.

"Bad optics."

"Not relatable."

Relatable.

Relatability is not a moral category.

This is public relations, it's not ethics.

And it definitely isn't socialism.

Like I'm pretty sure Karl Marx

never said-

- [Karl] "The problem with the bourgeoisie

is they're not relatable.

They can't read the room, and it isn't a good look.

This should have stayed in the drafts.

#ToneDeaf.

- Isn't the issue that when Kim tweeted

this most people were trapped in quarantine.

We didn't get to have birthday parties.

Some people couldn't even travel

to visit their dying relatives.

So watching Kim get to travel

and celebrate her birthday like normal was, painful.

"Pain at the good fortune of others"

is how Aristotle defined envy.

And I think it's interesting that

whenever social media erupts in outrage

over luxury music festivals, or Kim K's birthday party,

or Jameela Jamil's... privileged pores?

-no one ever uses the word "envy."

It's like we're averting our eyes, avoiding confrontation

with this dark aspect of our own psychology.

So in this video I wanna take a long hard look at envy.

What is it, where does it come from,

and seriously, what is Jameela Jamil's skincare routine?

Drop it in the comments, bestie!

Okay, so what is envy?

"Pain at the good fortune of others" is not a bad start,

but there's more to it than that.

Envy is a syndrome, a complex of poisonous thoughts

and feelings about people

who have what we want but cannot get.

It's not simply wanting what another person has.

That's greed, which is a much more wholesome sin.

Because wanting what someone has can inspire us,

it can fuel our own ambition, it can even motivate us

to improve ourselves.

And sometimes people call that envy,

but it's not really envy.

It's emulation, or admiration.

At worst it's what the Bible calls "coveting."

He covets!

Envy is something darker,

it's not just wanting what someone has,

it's begrudging them what they have.

You might even hate the person you envy,

and want them to lose what they have,

to be humiliated and destroyed,

even if their downfall doesn't benefit you in any way.

Like Satan, who was willing to lose heaven

just to spite God,

according to the poet John Milfton.

It's gonna be 90 minutes of MILF jokes, kids,

so strap in.

So envy is malicious.

It's a force of destruction.

For an example of the distinction between

envy and emulation,

think about incels, "involuntary celibates",

these men who can't get girlfriends

and are bitter about it online.

It was incels who contributed to our culture the concept

of "Chads", that is, beautiful, wealthy, masculine men.

For incels, "taking the red pill" means buying

into this ideology which says that women only want

to date Chads, or else they want to marry beta cucks just

to take their beta buxx.

Gaskeep, gateboss, girllight.

So if you're an incel you can either

go to the gym and become a Chad-that's emulation,

the aspiration to attain what another person has.

Or, and this is the more popular option,

you can "take the black pill" which means believing

that Chadhood is genetically determined at birth,

there is no hope, no woman will ever want you,

and therefore happiness is impossible,

you may as well lie down and rot.

This mindset of resentment has inspired

so many mass murders

that there's an entire Wikipedia timeline dedicated

to tracking them.

And the essential motivation for this violence is envy.

The incel's failed ambition and sense of incurable,

predestined inferiority turns venomous.

The logic behind the violence is,

if I can't get a girlfriend, if I can't get what I want,

then no one can.

In the words a murderer-

- [Murderer] "The Day of Retribution

is my attempt to destroy everything I cannot have."

- But most incels aren't murderers.

Most of the time, envy is most harmful

to the person who envies.

The philosopher Max Scheler called it

"a self-poisoning of the mind."

There's a Christian saying that

"envy is the only sin that gives no pleasure."

Because the other sins are fun, right?

Greed, gluttony, lust,

that's what I call a good time.

But envy is misery.

Though I wouldn't go so far as to say it gives no pleasure.

- [Twitter User 1] FyreFestival is an art installation

where mediocre people realize what their lives

would be like without rich parents.

Yaaas.

- [Twitter User 2] Rich refugee crisis.

- We're living in a moment of growing inequality

and resentment.

Look around you.

We've got the guillotine memes,

the edgy teens tweeting "eat the rich."

And none of this is new.

The slogan "Eat the rich" actually originates

with the philosopher of the French Revolution,

Zsa Zsa Gabor, who supposedly said,

- [Jean-Jacques] When the people shall have no more to eat,

they will eat the rich!

- And fair enough.

That's a good source of protein.

But take it from me kids, cannibalism

is one of those tricky things. It's hard to do just once.

You develop a taste for it.

It's like they say at NA meetings,

once you vore you just want more.

Also who counts as the rich?

Am I the rich?

I certainly hope so.

'Cause I want you eat meee.

Shhh, stop it.

This is why I quit academia,

if I was a professor I'd have to behave myself.

And I don't wanna behave myself.

I want to be bad.

Do you wanna be bad with me?

Let's be bad.

(dramatic electronic music) (remix of Mozart's Lacrimosa)

So you might think

that envy is simply the product of inequality,

and that societies that have more inequality have more envy.

I used to assume that too,

but the more I think about it the more I realize

that might not true.

Envy is a basic part of human nature,

it exists in all societies and all economic systems,

and it begins any time two

or more people start comparing themselves.

"Part 2, The Desire for Mommy's Milk."

According to Sigmund Freud, or as I call him, Daddy-

Zaddy!

-the first stage of human development is the oral stage,

in which the primary concern is oral gratification,

which is of course provided by mommy milkies.

Am I doing too much?

I'll tone it down.

Just a little bit.

So look, I get that a lot of people

are skeptical about Freud,

and it's true he was a bit

of a crackpot cokefiend who had a lot of zany ideas.

Like "p*nis envy."

Maybe there's transgender men who experience that

but I don't think it's a basic fact

of the female condition.

As for castration anxiety, is that a dare?

Because I take that personally.

I'm giving it very serious consideration, Doctor.

But I feel like even when Freud is wrong,

he's often at least onto something.

Like, with the Oedipus complex,

It's not that you literally desire your mother,

right, that would be weird.

It's more that you desire an archetype, Mother.

Right?

Mommy.

You guys get it.

Gen Z TikTok lesbians get it,

they're the ones who got me started on this MILF shit.

I'm a reverse Socrates, I've been corrupted by the young.

My innocent and delicate nature has been defiled.

So, Freud says that in the first two years

of life, libido is primarily focused on mommy's milk.

And it's also in this stage that envy first emerges.

So I was the oldest child in my family,

and I was less than two years old when my brother was born.

So I don't remember this, because I was one year old,

but my family tells me that when my brother was born,

I was just insanely jealous.

Oh, I guess now's a good time

to discuss the difference between jealousy and envy.

Scholars agree that there is a difference,

and usually they

(tongue-tied babbling)

and usually they describe the difference in one of two ways.

The first is that jealousy is defensive,

it's a kind of protectiveness over what is rightfully yours;

whereas envy is offensive,

it's resentment over what someone else has that you lack.

The second difference is that envy is between two people,

the envier and the envied;

whereas jealousy typically involves three people,

as in romantic jealousy where you have the subject,

the romantic object, and then the rival.

And the subject is jealous of the rival

because they're protective of their relationship

with the romantic object.

And that's also the dynamic of sibling rivalry,

just substituting the romantic object for mommy.

Of course in ordinary English,

people are always gonna say jealousy when they mean envy,

probably because envy has more negative connotations.

And I think it's pointless to try to fight that,

like don't go around "correcting" people,

but just keep in mind that there is a difference.

So sibling rivalry, is that envy or jealousy?

I think it's both, because initially you're defensive

of your privileged only-child relationship

with your parents.

But a new baby often gets more attention,

at least in your paranoid toddler brain,

and you might be envious of that.

And in romantic jealousy, you may also envy the rival,

if she has qualities that you wish you had.

You know, young kids are little egotists

who are very sensitive to when another child

might be getting preferential treatment.

One of the favorite phrases tiny babies is "it's not fair."

It's not fair, ehhh.

Tell me about it, bambino.

And I've got bad news,

life is not getting any more fair than this.

According to the Bible, one of the first events

in human history is story of Can y Abel.

Los dos hermanos.

I don't know why I said it in Spanish,

I guess I just thought it would sound cool.

Was I wrong?

Can!

It just sounds so much better than "Cain."

Cain and Abel.

Cain and Abel!

God tells Cain and Abel to each to make a sacrifice,

and then God prefers Abel's,

you know, 'cause God loves meat.

Then, in an act of malicious envy toward Abel

and spite towards God the father,

Can kills his younger brother.

In my earliest memories of my brother

I already loved him and I don't even remember the envy.

So I guess I wasn't a Cain.

Can!

So I must have somehow worked through this

without resorting to murder.

Hmm.

Freud says the older sibling's envy of the younger

leads to a recognition of impotence.

Because at first you selfishly

want to be the special most-loved child.

But you see that your parents love your sibling

just as much as you, and you're powerless

to do anything about it.

So your ambition to superiority fails.

And so you have to repress your aspiration to superiority,

as well as your envy.

And the result of that repression

is what's called herd instinct, solidarity,

this feeling of identifying with a group,

the equal siblings.

And as you get older the herd instinct

evolves into our feelings about justice, duty,

community, and equality.

But Freud thought these feelings

retain a vestige of repressed envy.

"If I can't be the favorite,

if I can't have special privileges, then no one can!"

From these observations Freud made the generalization:

- [Sigmund] Social justice means

that we deny ourselves many things

so that others may have to do without them as well.

- Okay, so we don't want other people

to have anything we can't have, so we enviously insist

on equality as a defense

against the greater prosperity of others.

I don't completely agree with that,

Like I think Freud is definitely onto something here,

but don't some community feelings also come

from a place of genuine care for other people?

(sighing)

I cared about someone once.

Rosebud.

(glass shattering)

Well, we'll come back to that later.

Let's put a pin in me for now, a pin in it for now.

Freud, I mean.

Let's put a pin in Freud.

In a 1966 book titled "Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior",

the sociologist Helmut Schoeck argued

that rather than being-

That's very German name.

Helmut Schoeck.

It's putting me in a German mood, sweetie.

Hallo meine Lieben.

Heute gibts ein neues Video!

I just get worse at German every year.

Schoeck argued that rather than being the result

of social or economic inequality,

envy is a universal experience across all human societies,

including very egalitarian ones.

For example, in tribal and village cultures

around the world, there's often a concept

of black magic or witchcraft,

which are thought used by envious people

to bewitch the ones they envy.

You're probably familiar with the concept of the evil eye,

which originates in Ancient Greece

or maybe even earlier than that.

Cultures all over the world today understand the evil eye

as kind of curse cast by the malignant gaze

of an envious person.

Now you might be thinking that sounds superstitious,

but I think the concept of the evil eye

reveals a more sophisticated awareness of envy and

of the social danger that it poses.

You've probably seen these amulets around,

there's an emoji for them now, which are supposed

to protect against the evil eye.

It's called a nazar, which comes from the Arabic word

for sight or surveillance, similar to the origin

of the English word "envy," which is the Latin "invidia,"

which just means to look at.

So there's agreement across cultures that envy is related

to sight, the malevolent gaze, the evil eye.

And these amulets show that a lot of people

are afraid of being envied and want to protect themselves.

I was just watching this Turkish YouTube channel

with an episode on the evil eye,

and the host explains that for Muslims-

- [Narrator] It's customary to say-

- Mashallah.

- [Narrator] Or god has willed it,

when admiring a person or object.

You know, to avoid unintentionally cursing them.

- I love that.

It's like "no envy!"

Like no homo, but no envy!

Mashallah!

The top comment on that video says,

- [Marie] You want to protect yourself

from the evil green eye monster?

Well, don't tell others about your ideas, goals, or wishes.

Don't be flaunting your accomplishments on social media

or posting pictures of your children,

that's how you avoid being jinxed.

- See this is where Kim Kardashian went wrong

with her birthday post.

Clearly, no one in the Kardashian cinematic universe

has ever heard of the evil eye.

Wait, I thought these people were Armenians.

Why haven't they heard of the evil- oh.

Okay, nevermind.

Every piece of media they've ever produced

is about flaunting an enviable lifestyle.

This is a particularly American thing.

Most Americans have no concept

of the fear of envy.

Like there's advertisements here that literally promise,

"If you buy this exclusive luxury vibrator

you'll be the envy of all your friends!"

As if it's a good thing to be envied.

Oh but it is not.

If people envy you, they gossip about you,

they seethe over your successes

and celebrate your misfortunes.

Being envied is basically the opposite of being loved.

So why would anyone want to be enviable?

Well it's a contradiction of human nature.

On the one hand, we need to be loved,

but then there's this other drive

in us, this like Homeric striving for fame and glory

and riches, which is kind of in conflict

with our need to be loved.

In a past gilded age there were stories

like "Citizen Kane" and "Sunset Boulevard"

which warned what a sad and lonely thing

success can become.

In ancient democratic Athens,

there was a practice called Ostrakismos,

which is the origin of the English word ostracism.

Ostracism was a procedure where the Athenians

would assemble and each person would write the name

of a person they wanted to ostracize

on a pottery shard called an ostrakon.

And whoever got the most votes would simply be banished

from the city for 10 years, no questions asked.

(laughing)

I love the ancient world.

Things were so direct.

Often this was used to remove someone

who was becoming too prominent or too arrogant,

or just annoying.

According to Plutarch, I'm just gonna read from Wikipedia:

"In one anecdote about Aristides,

known as 'Aristides the Just,'

who was ostracized in 482, an illiterate citizen,

not recognizing him, came up to ask him

to write the name Aristides on his ostrakon.

When Aristides asked why, the man replied it was

because he was sick of hearing him being called 'The Just'."

It's good.

It's so good!

See this is why the idea of "cancel culture" is absurd.

This has been going on since the dawn of civilization.

People in most cultures, not all,

but most cultures understand that being envied

is a massive social liability,

so it's best not draw too much attention to yourself.

According to a Tamil saying,

"The tree that bears fruit will be stoned."

This is sometimes called "tall poppy syndrome,"

because the tallest poppies in the garden will be cut.

Schoeck argues that the fear of envy

is a major inhibiting force in many societies.

- [Helmut] In Haiti, GE Simpson found that a peasant

will seek to disguise his true economic position

by purchasing several smaller fields

rather than one larger piece of land.

For the same reason he will not wear good clothes.

He does this intentionally to protect himself

against the envious black magic of his neighbors.

- Now this kind of thing is not unheard of in America.

Like I've known people from seriously wealthy families

who move to the city and they dress like gutter punks.

Like they're trying pass as poor.

But in general Americans don't openly acknowledge fear

of envy the way many other cultures do,

and I don't think that's an accident.

We're a nation of show-offs.

And so the taboo against discussing envy is related

to our whole national ethos of shoving our wealth

in everyone's face.

But though the fear of envy isn't widely talked about

or admitted here, it's definitely still there,

only repressed; confined to the realm of dreams and art.

(dramatic orchestral music)

In the movie "Black Swan",

Nina is a perfection-obsessed ballerina

who achieves her dream of getting the lead role

in "Swan Lake", after which her life

and mind are totally unraveled by fear of envy.

Black magic, black swan.

At first we see how Nina's success comes

at the very real cost of being envied:

by her ex-ballerina mother, by the other girls

in the company, and by the former lead ballerina

she's replaced.

- Did you suck his (beep)?

- Not all of us have to.

- I love Winona Ryder so much.

I love Natalie Portman so much.

I love Mila Kunis so much.

I just like women.

Where's my shock wand?

Stop it!

Stop stanning!

But reasonable fear of envy becomes paranoia

as Nina begins hallucinating Black Swan doppelgangers

and is seduced by bisexual demon Mila Kunis

who's trying to steal her role.

You gotta watch out for those bisexual demons.

They'll getcha!

- Did you have some sort of lezzie wet dream about me?

- Stop it.

- You could argue that Nina is actually suffering a kind

of self-envy, where she envies the disinhibited,

sexually liberated, corrupted part of herself

that's capable of adult eroticism and also

of dancing the black swan.

So she imagines that part of herself

as an envious rival who's trying to replace her.

It's like her mind is split between two impulses,

there's her dominant White Swan impulse

which we could call the Squidward personality:

perfectionistic and orderly, but reserved, priggish, stiff.

And then there's her repressed Black Swan impulse,

which we could call the Spongebob personality:

intuitive, chaotic, ecstatic.

In "Spongebob Squarepants", the character Squidward

is fundamentally a figure of envy,

stemming from failed ambition.

- Hello, you've reached the house of unrecognized talent.

- [Natalie] Squidward aspires to artistic achievement

but remains a mediocrity, partly because of his overly dry,

doctrinaire attitude towards art.

Spongebob is Squidward's social equal,

they're literally neighbors,

and they both work the same fast-food service job

for the same exploitative capitalist.

But Spongebob is a Mozartean intuitive genius

who's able to transform

the most mundane activities-blowing bubbles,

flipping burgers-into a kind of aesthetic rapture.

Squidward intensely envies Spongebob's uninhibited joy

and intuitive creativity,

but he can't admit that envy to himself.

So he convinces himself that what he's really feeling

is contempt, snobbish disdain

for Spongebob's childish behavior.

- What the people want is culture,

not dancing bubbles.

- Though deep down Squidward really wants

what Spongebob has.

- It's beautiful!

I mean, uh-

- Which we see when he can't help himself

from blowing bubbles, or when he trades away

all of his possessions for the chewing gum wrapper

that in Spongebob's hands

was a source of infinite entertainment.

A lot of people my age who watched Spongebob

as a kid rewatch it now and are horrified

to discover that they identify with Squidward,

whereas as children they identified with Spongebob.

Well, you either die a Spongebob or you live long enough

to see yourself become the Squidward.

- Future!

- And there's a pain in becoming the Squidward,

which is usually explained as "the disappointing drudgery

of adult life," or simply loss of childhood.

I would argue the envy of childhood

is the distinctive Squidwardian emotion.

Squidwardian?

Are we saying that word?

Are we really saying this word out loud,

to an audience of millions?

Okay.

It's basically the same dynamic as Salieri's envy

of Mozart in "Amadeus."

Oh my god, the evil eye killed Mozart!

You gotta watch out for that one kids.

If a mysterious stranger shows up on your doorstep

at midnight asking you to compose a requiem mass

for your own father, just say no.

So in Spongemadeus Mozartpants

we have the diligent though stuffy wannabe

envying the effortless playfulness

of the spontaneous genius.

(Spongebob and Mozart laughing)

[Squidward grumbling]

-Grazie signore.

[Church Bell]

-So Squidward's envy of Spongebob is,

well, it's Apollo's envy of Dionysus.

Look if we were to view "Spongebob Squarepants"

through the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche-

stay with me ladies, I have an angle here-

we could say that Squidward represents

what Nietzsche called the Apollonian impulse,

while Spongebob represents the Dionysian.

Nietzsche thought there are two conflicting artistic

drives in the human personality.

The Apollonian, named after the Greek god Apollo,

is the drive toward self-control, order, logic, morality.

And the Dionysian, named after Dionysus,

is the drive toward intoxication,

frenzy, passion, intuition.

Both Spongebob and Amadeus present these two drives

in conflict, with the Apollonian envying the Dionysian.

Of course this is a misrepresentation of how art

is actually created, because Nietzsche's whole point

is that you need a balance of the two drives.

In reality you cannot have a pure Dionysian artist

like Spongebob, because creating good art requires

at least some level of discipline and ordering.

- See?

It is all in the technique!

- Otherwise you're just some drunk idiot with a guitar.

Get off the stage!

So "Black Swan" is in a way actually more realistic.

In order to give the perfect performance, Nina has

to unify her fragmented personality and dance both swans,

resolving the envious rivalry

between her two artistic impulses.

- It was perfect.

(grand orchestral music)

- Another movie about fear

of envious ballerina doppelgangers-can you guess it?

-is Jordan Peele's 2019 horror film "Us",

which dramatizes the repressed economic guilt

and fear of the American middle class.

We meet the Wilsons, a moderately affluent family

with a vacation house and a boat, along with the Tylers,

a slightly better-off white family whom the Wilsons envy.

You saw their new car, right?

He had to do it.

He just had to get that thing to f*ck with me too.

- One night the Wilson's vacation home is invaded

by a family of their own monstrous doppelgangers.

Red, the only doppelganger who can speak,

explains that her family is metaphysically tethered

to the Wilsons, living wretched and destitute versions

of their lives in a liminal backrooms underworld.

It's super fucking liminal.

I'm on Ambien in an AA meeting.

Not again!

- Once upon a time, there was a girl

and the girl had a shadow.

The two were connected, tethered together.

When the girl ate, her food was given to her warm and tasty.

But when the shadow was hungry,

she had to eat rabbit raw and bloody.

- We later find out that all over the US-

Oh US spells "Us"...

Hey that's the title of the movie!

Ohhh.

The tethered have risen up

to kill their privileged doppelgangers

and to link arms across the country in a dark parody

of the real-world 1986 homelessness

fundraiser Hands Across America.

So my reading of "Us" is that it's an expression

of middle-class guilt about privilege, and fear of envy.

It's not a movie about the working class.

If it was about the working class,

then the working class would be able

to speak human languages,

and would not be scary monsters who make animal sounds

(growling)

and stagger around like zombies.

This is a movie about the anxious middle class's nightmare

of the working class.

"Us" represents in a self-aware way

what other home invasion movies represent unconsciously:

the fear of the envious poor, of revolution,

of slave revolt.

- Tell me you did not just reference "Home Alone."

- But "Us" diverges from other home invasion movies

by not just being fearful about the underclass,

but also guilty.

The idea of the tethered underclass represents life

as a zero-sum game where every moment

of your happiness is bought with someone else's suffering.

It's an incredibly guilty fantasy, an internalization

of the black-magic logic of people

who blame their own misfortunes on the people they envy.

As Schoeck puts it, "My neighbor's harvest

can only have turned out better than mine

because he has some how succeeded in reducing mine

by black magic."

So the fear of envy, and the guilt of success,

are repressed in American culture,

but they still find expression in movies.

Jordan Peele is kind of like the Charles Dickens

of the 21st century.

"Us" actually reminds me of "A Christmas Carol",

a story about the guilt of the rich if ever there was one.

You know Scrooge is visited by ghosts

who show him how wretched and sad the lives

of his employees are, and how he'll die alone

and hated by everyone, and his funeral is only attended

by businessmen on the condition that lunch is provided.

Dickens was truly the master of scaring the rich straight.

So maybe fear of envy can serve a

softly regulatory function by motivating charity

and generosity in the rich.

But in general I'm suspicious of envy

as a motivation for politics.

'Cause remember, the basic logic of envy is,

"if I can't have it, no one can"

which is a purely negative, destructive style of thinking.

It's taking privileges away not for the material benefit

of the underprivileged but merely

for the psychological satisfaction of the envious person.

And it's even worse when you consider

that envy is subjective.

It doesn't necessarily target objective power and privilege.

So envy in politics is not by any means relegated

to the left.

Conservative politics is brimming with envy.

Like this debate about forgiving student loan debt,

you often hear people say,

"I had to pay my student loans, so they should too.

Debt forgiveness is not fair!"

The logic here is,

"Since I didn't get my student debt forgiven,

no one should."

It's intergenerational envy, which is a pretty common thing.

Usually older generations envying the young.

"Kids these days have it so easy,

when I was young we ate nails for breakfast

and sent text messages on the Pony Express."

The feeling is basically, it's not fair

that kids these days don't have to suffer like I suffered.

Or think about the concept of a "welfare queen"

which openly reeks of envy and white resentment.

Or the way conservatives talk about immigration,

it's all this envious suspicion

about illegal immigrants sneaking in

and getting government handouts

without having to pay taxes.

"I had to work hard for my money

so why should these people get a free ride?"

Not that's what being an illegal immigrant is actually like,

except in the imagination of people who envy them.

Envy is felt more intensely by prideful people,

so it's especially sharp when it targets people

who are "supposed to be beneath you."

The Jewish radical feminist Andrea Dworkin made

what I think is a pretty compelling argument

that both anti-Semitism and misogyny

are partly rooted in envy.

She quotes a bigoted argument made

by the wife-killing protagonist of Tolstoy's story

"The Kreutzer Sonata", who resents that women

and Jews find a kind of paradoxical power

in their own oppression.

- [Leo] Just like the Jews: as they pay us back

for their oppression by financial domination,

so it is with women.

"Ah, you want us to be traders only, all right,

as traders we will dominate you,"

say the Jews.

"Ah, you want us to be merely objects

of sensuality, all right, as objects

of sensuality we will enslave you."

- [Natalie] Dworkin explains-

- [Andrea] This dominance of men by women

is experienced by the men as real, emotionally real,

sexually real, psychologically real; it emerges

as the reason for the wrath of the misogynist.

The woman appears to control sex.

The man needs it.

This causes his rage at her perceived power over him."

- Women control access to what men want,

which gives women a kind of indirect power

that some men envy.

They envy the sexual power of women.

It doesn't matter to the misogynist that, especially

at the time Tolstoy was writing,

women objectively have less power in society than men.

He envies women because they "have" what he desires.

Likewise, it didn't matter to Weimar anti-Semites

that Jewish people were a marginalized minority.

Anti-Semitism is often rooted in an envious obsession

with the disproportionate influence

and affluence of Jewish people.

- [Helmut] It is not the absolute differences

between men which feed envy, but subjective perception,

the optics of envy.

(dramatic orchestral music)

- Magic mirror on the wall, who is the c*ntest of them all?

- Thou art c*nt my queen.

But hold, a lovely maid I see.

- Oh yes, it's me.

- What?

- In a way, I'm kind of just in the beginning

of this whole transition, you know,

like a young little girl

going through all these things.

Having a sleepover with the girls.

What do we do on a sleepover?

Do we have like pillow fights and all that stuff?

- Alas, she is more c*nt than thee.

- My pussystunting on the gram has come to nothing!

Ugh.

(dramatic orchestral music)

The classic 1937 Disney movie

"Snow White and the Wicked MILF"

is the story of a quote "vain and wicked" queen

who obsessively envies the beauty of her own stepdaughter.

Are you sure this was for children?

Every day the MILF Queen asks the mirror,

who is the fairest one of all?

And the mirror responds that the queen is the fairest,

till one day it says the stepdaughter Snow White

is the fairest, which sends the queen

into an envious fury resulting in a series

of bizarre murder attempts.

So first of all, can we talk plot holes ding?

(triangle ringing)

Are we really supposed to believe

that this is more beautiful than this?

Uh, ding!

Isn't Snow White like 12 years old?

What's goin' on, Walt?

Why don't you take a seat?

Maybe she's not 12, I don't know,

it's hard to tell 'cause she's constantly

surrounded by manlets.

But she's just so boring!

And the queen is such a baddie.

Step on my throat, mother.

This is a horny video.

Well, yeah, 'cause I quit riding that brown tiger.

I can feel the pulse back in my veins.

So despite the injustice it does to its lead MILF,

"Snow White" does illustrate

some interesting things about envy.

Once again we have black magic and witchcraft

as an expression of envy.

We have the age difference, intergenerational envy,

the envy of youth.

It kind of reminds me of those Millennial women

who hit 30 and suddenly feel a need to rage against GenZ.

Pretty counterproductive, since if you're

worried about seeming old,

complaining about the youths is probably

not helping your case, gorg.

You might wonder if there's also jealousy involved

with the evil queen,

like is she worried the King is gonna fall

in love with his own daughter?

Well, I don't think so, because we never even see the king.

The queen doesn't mention him, it's not about the king.

So there's no romantic jealousy involved,

it's just one woman envying another over beauty

for its own sake.

We stan a Bechdel-test-passing

movie about women hating each other.

Gatekeep, gas...girl, gategirl, gaskeep, lightboss.

In fact in the original Brother's Grimm version,

the queen first tries killing Snow White

with beauty accessories, poisoning a comb

and lacing her to death with a corset.

I wish I could die that way.

What's really striking is the pure kamikaze malignity

of it all.

This queen who we know is obsessed with her look

is willing to transform herself with witchcraft

into an ugly old hag just to give Snow White

the poisoned apple.

And the queen disguising herself

as an old hag parallels Satan disguising himself

as a serpent.

You could actually argue that the queen

is simply a persona of Satan,

it's "Paradise Lost" all over again,

which also happens to be the title of my memoir.

The queen is incredibly petty because even according to the,

again, wrong and tasteless-mirror,

the Queen is still the second most beautiful woman

in the world.

How could someone so close to the top of the hierarchy

still be consumed by envy?

Well, basically because that's how envy works.

It's petty, it's subjective, and it's indifferent

to the magnitude of inequality

or to the absolute position on the overall hierarchy.

So you can be the second best in the world

and still be obsessively envious

of the one person who may barely even be above you.

In fact there's studies showing

that Olympic silver medalists

are actually less satisfied with their prize

than bronze medalists.

Probably because the bronze medalist is just happy

to be on the podium at all, while the silver medalist

is so close to first they can't help but wonder "what if?"

Humans form our sense of identity and self-worth

not by comparing ourselves to any absolute standard

but by comparing ourselves to each other.

And we're more likely to compare ourselves

to the people around us, than we are to people far away.

We could call this the proximity effect of envy.

We're more likely to envy people who are close to us

or similar to us, especially people

we're in competition with.

That's why social media is such a nightmare.

It's an incubator of envy.

Because it puts everyone next to everyone else,

so we're all being compared, all in competition.

And it can destroy your self-esteem

because you're comparing your actual life

to these idealized images. And it turns public figures

into lighting rods for envy,

because of the numeric visibility of popularity and success.

It's also perverse consequence of the proximity effect

that envy within an oppressed class

is often more venomous and obsessive than envy

for the oppressor.

So for example, in "Snow White"

and "Black Swan", you have women

envying other women, because women are often

in competition with other women.

And I know it's kind of a misogynistic trope,

in media there's constant portrayals of vain envious women,

jealous bitches fighting over men, over youth, over beauty.

It's like drag queen femininity,

"Death Becomes Her" femininity.

- En garde,

Bitch!

- So yeah, it's kind of a misogynistic trope,

but, how do I put this delicately,

sometimes reality is misogynistic,

like when my eyelash won't stay glued on.

The patriarchy's machinations are clearly to blame.

In her 1976 essay "Trashing: The Dark Side of Sisterhood",

feminist Jo Freeman wrote about her ostracism

from within the women's movement.

- [Jo] I have been watching for years with increasing dismay

as the Movement consciously destroys anyone

within it who stands out in any way.

- [Natalie] She quotes a speech

by fellow feminist Anselma Dell'Olio.

- [Anselma] And who do they attack?

Achievement or accomplishment of any kind would seem

to be the worst crime:

do anything that every other woman secretly

or otherwise feels she could do just as well

and you're in for it.

You are immediately labeled a thrill-seeking opportunist,

a ruthless mercenary, out to make her fame

and fortune over the dead bodies of selfless sisters

who have buried their abilities

and sacrificed their ambitions for the greater glory

of feminism.

- [Natalie] Freeman speculates-

- [Jo] The primary reason there have been so few

great women blank, is not merely that greatness

has been undeveloped or unrecognized,

but that women exhibiting potential

for achievement are punished by both women and men.

The "fear of success" is quite rational when one knows

that the consequence of achievement is hostility

and not praise.

- So at no point in this essay does Jo Freeman

use the word envy, but as usual,

envy is right below the surface causing all the trouble.

(dramatic orchestral music)

So Freeman is describing

how people from marginalized groups whose ambition

raises them above the typical limits of marginalization

are often ostracized from their own communities.

But she has no causal explanation for why this happens.

I have an explanation.

The explanation is envy.

And woman are more likely to envy other women.

Trans women are more likely to envy other trans women.

Oh God, am I really gonna go there?

If we did this topic justice,

this video would be nine centuries long.

- En garde,

Bitch!

- A lot of people assume that trans women envy cis women.

And there is some truth to that.

There definitely was a time in my life

when I used to envy cis women for being cis women,

but now I kind of just don't even allow myself

to have the thought "what if I were a cis woman?"

So in a way, because becoming a cis woman is impossible,

it's unattainable, I actually envy cis women less.

So trans women are more likely to envy other trans women.

Because of the proximity effect,

and because another trans woman represents

an actual possibility of what I, a trans woman,

could become.

She is a standard to which I can plausibly compare myself.

Here's a post someone made on my own fan subreddit.

- [Poster] Am I the only one who finds it hard

to watch trans creators?

Before I realized I was a trans woman

I fucking loved people like ContraPoints, NyxFears,

and other trans creators.

But ever since I realized I was trans,

I just get this angry resentful feeling in the pit

of my stomach whenever I get recommended any

of these videos.

I seriously loved ContraPoints,

but whenever I try to watch any of her videos,

I just want to scream.

I have this feeling towards passing trans people in general.

I feel such a hatred for them, and I don't know why.

Am I just a toxic person?

(sighing)

- Well sweetie, you're not a toxic person.

At least not any worse than anyone else.

It's just that human nature is a toxic person.

And that "angry resentful feeling in the pit

of your stomach" that "makes you want to scream"

and "feel such a hatred" has a name.

And the name is envy.

I actually admire the person who wrote this post

because they're doing the best any of us can do really,

which is noticing the feeling without endorsing the feeling.

I wish more people could feel things without rushing

to a "rational" defense of the feeling.

And isn't rationality often simply the attempt

to make our feelings contagious?

Sometimes people have no self-awareness about it at all.

For example, there's a certain kind of,

uh, boomer transsexual who complains that,

"When I transitioned I had to go through

rigorous medical gatekeeping, but kids these days

just waltz on in and walk out with hormones."

It's intergenerational envy, trans edition.

"It was hard for me so it should be hard for everyone."

Like the student debt debate.

If I can't have it, no one can.

And look, I do have sympathy and admiration

for older trans people,

like being trans in 2021

is already the maximum level of adversity

that I can handle.

I cannot image how hard it was to do this in the '80s.

However, the pain of envy is not a valid argument.

Envy is not sacred rage.

And the malignant demands of envious people

should be ignored.

God, this community.

The constant competition, the envy, the cringing.

It makes it really hard

to get along with other trans people.

Oh, speaking of which.

Gay tangent, everybody, gay tangent!

Envy presents kind of a unique problem

to same-sex attracted people,

because of the increased risk

of envying the very people you're attracted to.

- [Lil Nas X] I wanna (beep) the ones I envy,

I envy.

It's the classic,

"do I want you or do I want to be you" problem.

I've heard feminine queer women

say they could never date another femme

because they're worried they'd just end up envying her.

So dating masculine women solves that problem.

Because having separate roles, separate aesthetics,

separate categories,

helps to avert proximity envy between partners.

Unfortunately, I am not that smart.

Basically I am attracted to femininity,

but I also want to embody a kind

of feminine archetype myself. I'm not masculine

and I don't want to be.

You know, I used to think I'd only want to date

another trans woman because of the mutual understanding

but I've kinda realized that at this point

it may actually be more psychologically healthy

for me to open up to dating cis women.

I used to not want to do that

because I was afraid it would make me feel like a man,

but at this point, honestly, just be a man.

Whatever, it's fine.

As a drag queen once said,

"I'm more of a man than you'll ever be,

and more of a woman than you'll ever have."

Yes gawd.

Can we get the tequila out of the frame please?

I think at a distance it's okay

to indulge the attraction/emulation ambiguity,

but if you want to actually have a relationship

with someone you have to make up your mind

that you desire this woman and you do not want to be her.

Because think about it from the other perspective.

What could be less attractive than someone

who literally wants to be you?

"Teacher, make her stop copying me."

Like as much as I joke in every episode

about how Buffalo Bill is an iconique trans legend,

you don't want to date that bitch.

Imagine trying to date Eve from "All About Eve."

Pass.

Hard pass.

So if you're a queer woman, or a queer anything, honestly,

and you find yourself envying your partner,

my advice is, stop overthinking a good situation.

An enviable woman wanted to be with you.

So sit back,

relax,

and enjoy the clout.

I get it though, it's complicated.

You know we're all supposed to proudly affirm

what we truly desire,

but how do you know what you truly desire?

Do I want mommy, or do I wanna be the mommy?

Yes.

Just yes.

Anyway, let's go back to talking about Sigmund Freud.

- The mother half took over completely.

(dramatic electronic music)

- Do I look okay?

Is my head on straight?

So we keep running into this avoidance of the word "envy."

People especially cannot seem to notice

when they themselves are feeling envious.

Like that person who puzzled

over the "angry resentful feeling in the pit

of their stomach" without being able to name

what they were feeling.

There's two reasons why people are usually

in denial about their own envy:

one is guilt and the other is shame.

Shame! Shame because admitting to yourself

that you envy someone implies that you feel inferior

to them, which is shameful.

It wounds the ego.

And guilt because envy is malicious.

If you envy someone you may feel angry

and miserable about their success and good fortune,

and you may wish to see them ruined or brought down.

That's cruel and anti-social, it goes against most ideas

of morality, and it's a thought

that's usually not socially acceptable to admit.

So envy is shameful, guilty, and socially unacceptable.

And we deal with that by suppressing it from our awareness.

But it is still there, and in order

to maintain the denial, we have to convince ourselves

that this angry resentful feeling

in the pit of our stomach is actually something else.

Think about how in Spongebob, Squidward

shows contempt for Spongebob's childishness,

for blowing bubbles, for having fun at work.

When in fact, Squidward envies Spongebob's uninhibited joy

and intuitive creativity.

But he can't allow himself to have the thought

that he envies Spongebob,

because that would mean

recognizing the intolerably shameful truth

that he feels inferior to Spongebob.

So what he does instead is convince himself

that what he really is is a refined sophisticate,

scoffing at this childish fool.

- How did I ever get surrounded by such loser neighbors.

(tuneless clarinet music)

- We could call this envy-to-contempt sublimation.

Sublimation is a psychoanalytic term which means

that you transform an ego-wounding feeling

or socially unacceptable longing

into something more ego-flattering or socially acceptable.

So the classic example used by Freud

is the transformation of sexual urges,

of erotic energy, into creative expression.

It's like the founder of the no-fap movement, Lady Gaga,

once said, "I have this weird thing that

if I sleep with someone they're going

to take my creativity from me through my (beep)."

So, according to Freud, the vast majority of erotic longings

can never actually be fulfilled. Tell me about it Sigmund.

Ugh, misery.

But there's a positive side to this,

supposedly, which is that you can sublimate

your erotic longings

into a more socially acceptable productivity.

So, instead of flicking the bean,

maybe you write novels about thirsty vampires,

or for that matter philosophical treatises

about the will to power.

Oh we'll to get to you.

Freud thought that civilization itself is built

at the cost of our instincts,

most of which we have to sacrifice to live in a society.

So like erotic impulses, I think envy

can be sublimated, which is what's happening

when it becomes contempt.

Another example is the blog McMansion Hell,

which makes fun of the tasteless architecture

of suburban ostentatious trash.

I would argue that part of the fun of this blog,

is the pleasure and relief of looking down at the rich.

Because looking enviously up at the rich is painful.

It makes you feel inferior.

And a way to alleviate that pain is to sublimate envy,

and pretend that you're an aristocratic aesthete scoffing

at the vulgar taste of the arriviste.

"These flying buttresses are in extremely poor taste."

Another example is, oh, shit-talking plastic surgery.

I once heard a trans woman say,

"At least I don't look like a botched sex doll!"

The subtext is, there's a certain kind

of trans woman influencer who lives in LA

and has had a lot of cosmetic surgery

to achieve a doll-like aesthetic.

But it costs a lot of money to look like this.

And a lot of trans women can't afford surgeries

that they want.

And one way to deal with frustrated desire

is to convince yourself that the thing

that's out of reach is not worth having anyway.

See also the discourse on Twitter

about how "Passing is transphobic".

There's an ancient Greek fable where a fox

wants some grapes but he can't reach the vine,

so he walks away bitterly

and says, "well the grapes are transphobic anyway."

The cisgender version of this is maybe the

"not like other girls" meme,

which is classic envy-to-contempt sublimation.

The trope is usually that other girls are popular

and slutty, they have fake tans and fake nails,

they like partying and makeup and stupid music for idiots.

But I'm quirky and real, I listen to Pink Floyd

and read books and eat lots of pizza late at night alone

and sad.

There's usually a subtext of anxiety about inferiority,

the "other girls" being more socially accepted,

feminine, and put together.

A lot of times, "the other girls" don't even exist,

right, they're a media construct of idealized womanhood.

Right, like where are these "other girls"

who've never eaten pizza and enjoy wearing makeup

at nine a.m. on a Saturday morning?

Are they between the sofa cushions?

Did you put them in with the other laundry?

Are the other girls in the room with us right now?

The feeling of inferiority

toward "the other girls" is reframed

as kind of contemptuous hipster superiority,

which is really just an ego-defensive persona of resentment.

Like Janis in "Mean Girls."

She's not even really a lesbian.

She's Lebanese.

- Lebanese.

- Regina got confused.

And then she dances with a boy

at the end and is readmitted into girlhood.

Thank you for that Tina Fey.

That's very helpful.

(bitter gay sighing)

Great.

Another way we can reframe feelings

of envious inferiority is by transforming them

into moral superiority.

Moral superiority often being the refuge

of people with nothing better to feel superior about.

We don't have to feel guilty or ashamed of envy

if we convince ourselves

that what we're actually experiencing

is "justified" "legitimate" hatred.

So for example think of the morality around sexuality.

Part 69: Sluts

Yeah what are you gonna do about it?

Cancel me?

- En Garde,

Bitch!

- Why does everyone hate sluts so much?

Sluts never did nothing wrong to nobody.

Open sexual promiscuity is in a way analogous to opulence.

You're conspicuously enjoying something

that other people want, and might not be able to get.

Many cultures have norms about modesty,

for example expecting women to cover their hair in public.

This is usually explained as prophylaxis against male lust,

but I wonder if it also serves

to prevent a more generalized envy,

which female beauty has a way of attracting.

Men often slut-shame because they want

to control female sexuality.

And by female sexuality, I do mean male sexuality.

Because often what they're really struggling

to control is their own desire.

But slut-shaming is also done pretty viciously

by women to each other.

And that's a complicated thing, it's more than just envy.

Sometimes it comes from a sense that a woman

who's having casual sex with a lot men

is compromising the collective sex-withholding power

of the group, almost like she's crossing a picket line.

But there's also sometimes a resentment

that a woman who's showing skin is using her body

to get "unearned" attention.

And that smells like envy to me.

"I don't use my body to get attention, so no one should!"

The repressed feeling is "maybe I'm a little jealous

that she's getting all this attention

by posting thirst traps."

But you don't think that, you think: I am above this.

Because I am chaste, I have class, I am a feminist.

I would also suggest accusing her of

"pandering to the male gaze",

that's of course the feminist way

of calling someone a lowdown hoebag skank.

So again we have envy-to-contempt sublimation,

and often the contempt is "moral" "virtuous".

The psychological need to convince ourselves that envy

is morality can become so strong

that we actually start inventing things

to be outraged about.

Take for instance the tendency to imagine

that the wealthy and powerful

are enjoying wild Satanic orgies,

and indulging all the forbidden salacious pleasures

that we ourselves are denied.

Like QAnon, these conspiracy theorists who want us

to imagine Hillary Clinton reclining

in a garden of early delights

sampling the pleasures of ephebes.

Live laugh love that for her.

Envy is very imaginative when it comes

to the hedonistic extravagance of the envied.

Let's talk about Marie Antoinette,

the Queen of France who was guillotined by the Revolution.

If you know one thing about Marie Antoinette,

it's probably that when she heard about a famine

where the people had no bread,

she infamously responded "Let them eat cake."

What an evil bitch.

How could she say that?

Well, she didn't.

She never said it.

It's a lie.

The phrase "let them eat cake",

originally "let them eat brioches" first appeared

in Rousseau's Confessions, written in 1765

when Marie Antoinette was nine years old.

Rousseau attributed the line

to "a great princess."

Probably, no one ever said this.

It's kind of like how the most famous photo of Paris Hilton

is the one where she's wearing a "Stop Being Poor" T-shirt.

What an evil bitch.

How could she wear that?

Well, she didn't.

It's photoshopped.

The actual shirt said "Stop Being Desperate."

Envy likes to fabricate the diabolical crimes

of its enemies, I assume

to complement their hedonistic extravagance.

I mean what is a Disney villain

if not an opulent homosexual seen through the eyes

of the envious.

- See how I glitter.

- I'm gonna try lowering the ISO

'cause it's so (beep) bright in here now.

Okay, well that's a much lower ISO.

What if I get another light over here?

That's what this channel's really about,

One biological female's quest to create a harmonious

color story.

In the years leading up to and during the French revolution,

Marie Antoinette was constantly defamed

in these sleazy tabloids called Libelles.

It's the same root as the English word libel.

The often pornographic Libelles depicted the queen

as a bisexual demon, who was constantly

having drunken orgies

and sexually manipulating everyone around her.

All of which is very interesting, but none of which is true.

The historian Robert Darnton called it

an "avalanche of defamation" that "has no parallel

in the history of vilification."

This woman took the blame, the moral blame,

for the structural failings of a broken economic system.

And by the time she was brought

before the Revolutionary Tribunal in 1793,

the actual person Marie Antoinette

had long ago been overshadowed

by the libelous caricature of her.

Now there was maybe one good reason

for executing the former queen,

which is that the legitimacy of your new republic

is a little more secure

when you don't have living monarchs hanging around.

Someone better tell the English.

But the problem with that reasoning is it has nothing

to do with whether the Queen "deserved" to die.

And beheading a recently widowed mother of two

in front of a jeering crowd

for political expediency might weigh a little heavy

on the conscience.

So the Revolution had to convince themselves

that the former queen "deserved it,"

which was pretty easy after decades of again,

false and defamatory gossip.

In her biography of Marie Antoinette,

Antonia Fraser describes how the prison guards

separated Marie from her eight-year-old son,

who they plied with alcohol and groomed

into accusing his own mother of incestuous abuse.

To justify killing Marie Antoinette they had

to destroy the idea of this woman as a mother.

So she was convicted of what may

as well have been crimes against ethics

in games journalism and sent to the guillotine,

where her last words were sorry to the executioner

for stepping on his foot.

Uh, women stop apologizing challenge!

This is what a girl boss winning looks like.

So, Marie Antoinette literally did nothing wrong.

Hey how are you.

An innocent MILF was killed that day.

And I, for one, won't stand for it.

So look, we have a psychological incentive to believe

that people whom we envy are immoral monsters.

Because then we get to label our hatred

and violence towards them "justice."

Cruelty generally cannot conceptualize itself as cruelty.

And part of the reason for that is calling cruelty what it

is takes the fun out of it.

It reminds me of the second best day in the history

of Twitter: October 1st, 2020, the day that Trump got COVID.

And I'm gonna be honest,

I have never felt more schadenfreude in my entire life.

(cork popping)

Well well well, if it isn't the leopards

eating people's faces party

having their faces eaten by leopards.

(dramatic orchestral music)

Let them eat cake.

Like Dan Savage said, it felt like Ronald Reagan got AIDS.

The next day I tweeted: "These last 24 hours

have been the first time I've genuinely

enjoyed Twitter in years.

Because this website is good for one thing only.

Reveling in the cruelest of human impulses."

And someone responded to that saying

- [Twitter User] Oh my God,

could you even be a bigger killjoy?

- But why was I being a killjoy?

The tweet was about how much I was enjoying it!

Well, for most people, I guess not me,

but for normal people, for other girls,

cruelty is only pleasurable

as long as they're able to convince themselves

it's something other than cruelty.

"Justice served"

So again "reason" "rationality"

are often the attempt to publicly communicate,

to evangelize our private feelings.

And morality, ethics, and justice are often put forward

as the respectable public face of private envy,

vindictiveness, and hatred.

But is this a corruption of morality,

or have we stumbled onto something darker.

What if morality itself is simply the expression

of some kind of sadomasochistic urge?

It's too early for this.

It's literally seven a.m. where I'm filming.

I don't know how this keeps happening to me.

My head gets cut off one afternoon,

puts me in a philosophical mood.

Next morning, I've stayed up all night

and I'm still talking about the philosophes.

(light orchestral music)

Meow meow!

Hello again kittens.

Let's talk about justice uwu.

I look like a Supreme Court Justice.

Sonyaa

Sotomeowyor.

It would actually be fierce if I wasn't, you know,

if I wasn't being Nyatalie.

Look, I've been seeing a lot of comments about me lately

along the lines of "Natalie used to do

serious academic arguments.

Now she only cares about makeup."

(chuckling)

All right you little shits.

You want book-learnin'?

I'm gonna learn you so hard,

I'm gonna learn you so hard

you're gonna have a goddamn headache in the morning.

Friedrich Nietzsche.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

Do you mind if I call you Fred?

Frederick was a German philosopher who had a lot

to say about envy and morality.

But before we get into that, I want

to say a little about his life,

because it's just very funny.

Nietzsche is famous for his concept of the Ubermensch,

but Frederick, sweet beautiful little Frederick,

he was not what most people think of as an Ubermensch.

Frederick was a chronically ill, chronically in pain,

nearly blind incel who probably slept with a prostitute

once and got syphilis and died.

Life is funny.

Sad, but funny.

Ehhh.

In the Introduction to "Beyond Good and Evil",

the editor says,

"Though he prided himself on being comfortable

with women, he does not seem to have been very successful

in establishing emotionally satisfying relationships

with them, which is hardly surprising"

Aaa!

I love it when the introduction to a book

is just a brutal roast of the author.

Who wrote this?

Rolf-Peter Horstmann.

You're killing it Rolf.

You're a savage.

I adore.

Frederick's books sold a "dismal number of copies"

in his lifetime.

"What emerges is a picture

of a totally isolated, highly neurotic man who had

to try hard to avoid thinking of himself

as a complete failure."

Aw.

He we also doing huge doses of opium, relatable,

and writing himself prescriptions for sleeping pills

and signing them "Dr. Nietzsche"

Dr. Nietzsche!

Pretty sure I got an Xanax prescription

from that guy once.

Behind a Dairy Queen.

Nietzsche was also a failed musician and was in love

with the composer Richard Wagner's wife.

Ohhh.

The virgin Nietzsche contra the Chad Wagner.

You beta cuck.

Why did I do that?

Can we all agree that cat-girl Nietzsche

is by far the most cursed thing I've ever done?

I just wanna mom this guy, honestly.

I don't even care that he's a misogynist,

his misogyny is simply too sad to be offended by.

You know I think it's interesting that a person

this pathetic can also be a genius whose name

will never die.

He's someone who had a lot of reason to be envious

and self-pitying, but his philosophy

couldn't be more against that.

And, as a person of pathetic experience myself,

that is unironically kind of inspiring to me.

So let's go in.

In his book "On the Genealogy of Morality",

Frederick wants to explain the origin of the concepts

of good and evil.

"Under what conditions did man

invent the value judgments good and evil?

And what value do they themselves have?

Have they up to now obstructed

or promoted human flourishing?"

Hang on, my food's here.

That's right, you're getting a mukbang, sweetie.

Did you think I was gonna sit at this giant table

and not be eating something?

This video's been going on more than an hour,

so I assume you guys are drunk by now

and we're just kind of hanging out at this point.

You guys can't even see.

Well, here, I've got a bunch of sushi

and it's my mission to eat all of this

while summarizing the entire life and work

of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Trisha Paytas, Nikocado,

consider this a challenge.

So, Friedrich argues that "good" and "bad",

not yet good and evil, that's different

we'll get to that,

but good and bad

were originally the self-affirming values

of people with power.

So to be good meant to be powerful, strong,

beautiful, healthy, and to be bad meant to be weak,

sick, common, ugly.

I wanna eat one like a cat.

And Frederick supports this speculation with etymology.

So in a lot of languages the word that means morally good

or spiritually noble, originally meant noble

in the sense of aristocratic, the propertied class.

Like in Buddhism the arya satyani, that's Sanskrit

for Noble Truths.

Arya means noble,

and arya is used to mean spiritually noble,

but earlier it meant the aristocracy, the rich,

and originally it was just the name that a culture

in Northern India gave themselves, the Aryans.

I'm really working not to get soy sauce on this lace.

This was later misunderstood by Europeans

who wrongly thought that "Aryan" was a race.

Oops.

Goddammit.

Goddammit, kids.

Can we not?

Frederick traces the origin of the German word "gut"

or English "good" to the name of the Goths,

no not those Goths, the Scandinavian people

who invaded Europe.

Frederick calls them, "the blond beasts of prey."

I like to stalk my prey in the small hours of the night,

nyaa.

The German word "schlecht" which means bad is related

to "schlicht" which means "plain, simple,"

originally "common, low" not aristocratic, not noble.

So "good" and "bad" were originally the values

of warrior aristocrats who were

like Homeric heroes celebrating themselves.

And Frederick calls their value system master morality:

this glorification of combat, feasting, athleticism,

sexual conquest, beauty: these things were called "good."

And their opposites: weakness, impotence, ugliness,

were called bad.

The ancient nobles worshiped noble gods

who acted like them and shared their values.

I mean if I created a personal goddess,

I think you all know what animal that would be.

Me and the ancient Egyptians, on the same page.

So for example Roman warriors could worship Mars,

the god of war.

And it was like they were worshiping themselves.

They were dumb jocks worshiping dumb jock gods.

Well good for them.

But what about the people who got shoved into lockers?

Well, Friedrich's example,

and this is gonna create some misunderstandings later,

but his example is the Jews, who were colonized by the

Romans in Judea.

And it's certainly not that the Jews didn't try to revolt,

oh they did.

Multiple times.

But for several centuries the Romans were just too powerful,

no one could stop them.

So the question is what happens psychologically

to people who are oppressed and who lack the power

to overthrow the oppressor?

Well in that case frustrated vindictiveness builds

over time to become this deep bitterness

that Nietzsche gives the French name, Ressentiment.

Resentment in English.

Oui. Eh... eh...

Oui.

Absolutement.

Naturellement.

I don't speak French.

I just enjoy making vaguely french noises.

Ment, bas, quatre, eh, eh oui.

I don't like the English but I like the French even less.

Because they're always dressed so well,

and they speak a sexier language than me.

Stop it!

This is your final warning comprendez-vous?

Good wine though.

I'll give them that.

So there's German word, Neid, which mean means envy.

So why is Frederick using this French term, ressentiment?

What's going on Frederick?

Why are you speaking French?

Are you nervous?

Are you trying to impress me?

Nietzsche must have said ressentiment

because he thought it was something different than envy.

I think the difference is resentment,

and I'm just gonna use the English word

so I don't sound like an asshole,

resentment is born not just

of wanting what someone has,

but of a permanent frustration of the desire for revenge.

It's born of weakness, inability to get revenge.

Now revenge itself implies weakness,

at least a temporary weakness.

We say "Revenge is best served cold", but actually,

revenge is only served cold.

If it's served hot, if someone slaps you

and you slap them back immediately,

that's retaliation, not revenge.

- You brought this on yourself.

- Revenge is only a possibility

when you can't retaliate immediately,

so you become vindictive, you start plotting and scheming.

But if you're too weak, too impotent to have any hope

of revenge then you become resentful.

So Nietzsche's argument is that a person

who's too weak to get material revenge

can instead get psychological revenge

by creating a new morality.

In Frederick's words, "The beginning of the slaves'

revolt in morality occurs when ressentiment itself

turns creative and gives birth to values".

This is a little high concept for a mukbang, isn't it?

What are you doing, Frederick?

So while master morality says that "good" is power,

riches, health, strength; and "bad"

is the opposite-slave morality,

the morality of resentment says, "blessed are the poor,

the meek, the sick, the powerless."

This is the "good" of slave morality,

and its opposite is not the "bad" but a new concept,

the "evil."

And what is evil?

Well, everything that master morality says is good.

Power.

Wealth.

Conquest.

Sexual satisfaction.

(light playful music)

He's talking about Christianity here,

he's not talking about Judaism.

But Frederick thinks of Christianity

as the spiritual revenge of the Jews against the Romans,

an inversion of the Empire's values.

But, he thinks that slave morality

is fundamentally dishonest.

It's like the fox and the grapes.

"Not-being-able-to-take-revenge

is called not-wanting-to-take-revenge,

it might even be forgiveness".

Slave morality says that weakness is righteous.

Submission to people you hate is called "obedience,"

having to wait is called "patience."

Inability to satisfy sexual desire is called "chastity",

"purity" and so on.

And while master morality is born of saying yes

to yourself, as a powerful. noble beast of prey;

slave morality is born of saying no the master

and everything he has that you can't.

I like to have my belly rubbed.

Scratch my back above my tail, please.

I'm gonna put the rest of the fish away

because it's getting warm and I'm full.

This has not been a successful mukbang.

It turns out that it's actually very difficult

to do a mukbang while talking.

I should've thought this through a little harder.

So slave morality is born of a repressed desire

for revenge, but that desire

for revenge never completely disappears.

It's there for example in the Christian idea

of the last judgment.

(Wilhelm scream)

No need to take revenge against wicked, my sheep.

God will do that for us.

And in the meantime, being weak is good actually.

I find this book thrilling to read,

honestly, and I am not easily thrilled, especially

not by philosophers.

I think this book in particular gets me because

especially if you were raised Christian,

this is so the opposite of everything we were ever taught

to believe that it almost feels like, dirty.

Like should I be reading this?

Is this allowed?

'Cause even if you're not religious, most of us

still agree with a lot of Christian morality.

Like yeah Jesus was a good guy, blessed are the meek, sure.

But then Frederick comes along and he's like, mmm morality

is just a cope for frustrated vindictiveness.

And you're like, I need to lie down,

where's my smelling salts?

(dramatic orchestral music)

(glass clattering) (objects clattering)

(Natalie laughing)

But wait, there's more!

This gets even darker.

Nietzsche thinks that over the last two millennia

of European history, slave morality has triumphed.

St. Paul made Christianity marketable.

The Emperor Constantine converted,

and by the Middle Ages even kings

and aristocrats were kneeling down not

to powerful warrior gods made in their own image,

but to a god that was weak, suffering,

victimized, oppressed.

Eeeeh.

So by the 19th century slave morality

had become the only morality.

And it's not just Christians either, the secular version

of these values became socialism, anarchism.

About freethinkers and atheists, Nietzsche has this to say.

"We loathe Church, not its poison, apart from the Church,

we too love the poison."

Okay the poison, what is "the poison"?

Well Frederick thinks resentment poisons the mind

and turns humans against our own natural instincts.

Not just against aggression, but against sexuality,

against ambition, against power, against life itself.

And there's two possible outcomes of this.

One is that resentment becomes a political movement,

"the conspiracy of those who suffer,"

the tyranny of the herd, the revolution that eats itself.

"'Only we are good and just' is what they say,

as though health, success, strength,

pride and the feeling of power were

in themselves depravities for which penance,

bitter penance will one day be exacted.

Among them we find plenty of vengeance-seekers

disguised as judges, with the word justice continually

in their mouth like poisonous spittle."

So you get the mentality

of a hyper-moralistic resentment mob,

which I'm sure we'll all familiar with.

The other outcome is that this moralism turns inward,

and attacks the individual conscience,

producing asceticism, self-denial, guilt.

Because slave morality condemns not just the external beasts

of prey who are oppressing us, but also the beast

of prey within, our animal instincts,

what Christianity calls "sin."

So Frederick thinks modern humans have become sick:

we hate ourselves, we hate our own nature,

we hate life itself.

I mean, is he wrong?

You see a girlboss winning,

I only see the will to power.

Frederick thinks of modern men as once-proud wildcats

who've become domesticated house pets

at the cost of everything great in the human spirit.

That's very valid Frederick.

That's super hecking valid.

Look I've been pretty positive about Nietzsche so far,

but I do have a couple critiques I want to say.

One is that Friedrich's associating slave morality

with the Jews is very irresponsible.

Even though he didn't intend to be anti-Semitic

and even though he was outspoken against anti-Semitism

in his own time,

when you keep referring to the Christian values

that you're critiquing as "Jewish hatred"

and "Jewish revenge," some people might get the wrong idea.

And some people did, Frederick.

Like your dumbass sister Elizabeth Nietzsche,

who became a literal

alternative-ethno-identitarian-goddamn it Liz.

Kind of goth goals though?

Yes that kind of goth, you're right this time.

My other critique is that it doesn't seem

to have occurred to Frederick that genuinely caring

about other people is an option.

Like not because you're repressing your true selfish nature,

but just because caring about other people

is part of your nature.

And isn't it?

Isn't caring about other people also in our nature?

I do think that most of what Nietzsche says

about resentment accurately describes a very real thing.

But it's not the only thing.

There is genuine care and love in this world,

I've been told, I've heard rumors.

And I'm even gonna go so far as to say #NotAllChristians.

Christ I'm defending the Christians,

what has this channel come to.

There are Christians, maybe not most, but still some,

for whom love and forgiveness are genuine experiences,

and not just some kind of twisted, impotent,

passive-aggressive vengeance.

Where I agree with Nietzsche, and with Freud,

is I do think a lot of the emotional foundation

of "justice" and "morality" is retribution, envy,

or some combination the two.

But maybe it doesn't have to be that way.

There's a famous Martin Luther King quote

responding to Nietzsche:

- [MLK] What is needed

is a realization that power without love is

reckless and abusive, and that love

without power is sentimental and anemic.

Power at its best, power at its best is love

implementing the demands of justice, and justice

at its best is love correcting everything

that stands against love."

- So Reverend King concedes to Nietzsche

that to simply call power evil is a sickness-"anemic."

But there still needs to be some kind of emotional

or spiritual force that keeps humanity

from tearing itself apart.

And maybe something like this Christian idea

of love for humanity is the missing piece.

Because without something like that, I just see retribution

and envy snowballing into human self-destruction.

And I hate that for us.

It's not very sliving of us.

Do you guys know about sliving?

Do you even subscribe to Paris Hilton's YouTube channel?

She doesn't have as many subscribers as I do, but, you know,

I try to support smaller creators.

- Sliving is basically slaying and living our best life

into one word.

It's the new "That's hot."

(sighing)

- Maybe I'll do a video about love,

when I'm in a better mood.

So for now, well, let's put it this way:

God is dead and we have killed him, nyaa.

Sliving!

(light playful music)

(singing in German)

okay, I'm moisturized, I'm primed.

I've proven my academic credentials,

now it's time to do my makeup.

That's right, children, I'm going full Bailey Sarian.

I'm going full suspish.

So, I guess I should say something

about the political implications of all this,

since I guess this channel is about politics?

Sometimes I have to read my own Wikipedia article

to remember what I'm doing with my life.

So this morality of resentment, of impotence

and permanently frustrated revenge,

judges that power is evil.

I don't use foundation, I just use concealer.

I know that's like not how you're supposed to do makeup,

but I don't need to be good at makeup, okay,

I have a million subscribers on YouTube.

I don't need to be good.

There was a New York Times article

about young women's attitudes toward political ambition,

and one of the women who was interviewed said,

"As a white woman, I know I have unearned privilege,

so am I the best person to be in leadership?"

Yes.

Yes you are.

Because we need leaders like you who

are capable of questioning the legitimacy

of their own authority.

Otherwise we're gonna be stuck

with another blond beast of prey.

Of course it's good to be aware of your privilege,

especially as a leader.

But, let's not be so self-effacing

that we efface ourselves off the face of the earth.

This is the self-sabotage of resentment values.

If you think that power is evil, then you've given up

on the ambition to acquire any power.

Which virtually guarantees your political irrelevance,

since, like MLK said, you have to at least

have some power to implement the demands of justice.

Remember what incels call "taking the black pill",

this conviction that the reason

you don't have a girlfriend is just

that you're genetically undesirable.

There's nothing you can do to change it,

and I guess women are just too shallow

to be attracted to all the amazing hatred

and spite that festers in your heart.

For a lot of blackpilled incels it seems

like there is only one thing left in life that they enjoy,

which is simply the pleasure of complaining,

of moaning in pain.

It reminds me of a comment from Dostoevsky's

second-most horrible protagonist.

- [Fyodor] Even in toothache

there is enjoyment, in that case,

of course, people are not spiteful in silence, but moan;

but they are not candid moans, they are malignant moans,

and the malignancy is the whole point."

- The moan is a protest against the meaninglessness

of pain.

And part of the satisfaction of moaning

is inflicting your pain on other people.

This malignant moaning, it's kind of the opposite of music.

Because a lot of music, like blues, is benevolent moaning

that transforms pain into pleasure.

That's what blues is all about.

My woman don't love me no more, but I know her sister will.

You know, optimism.

I think a lot of incel discourse

is really just Dostoevskyan moaning.

It's not an attempt to diagnose or solve any problem,

it's just a contagious expression of misery.

A moan of pain that masquerades as a political agenda.

"Sexual Marxism" they call it.

The redistribution of sex.

State-mandated GFs.

That's very valid.

Of course they don't actually expect any of this to happen.

That's not the point.

So, incels are kind of a universal punching bag online,

it's very easy to point and laugh at them.

But what's harder is to look in the mirror

and notice how these exact same tendencies are rampant

in our own communities.

So the incel Blackpill is just one instance

of what I call an "ideology of resentment", a discourse

that outwardly appears like moral or political critique,

but which on examination is mainly just a resentful moan.

The goal of resentment politics

is not to improve conditions.

In fact, the resentful ideologue is full of contempt

for any "morally compromised sellouts"

who are trying to enact plausible reforms.

They don't want victory, they don't want power,

they want to endlessly "critique" power.

Because for them "critique"

is a psychological defense against feeling impotent.

Scheler described it this way.

- [Max] It is peculiar to "ressentiment criticism"

that it does not seriously desire

that its demands be fulfilled.

It does not want to cure the evil:

the evil is merely a pretext for the criticism.

- What am I gonna do with my eyes?

I think a pink kind of look.

We've been doing a lot of pink looks?

I just love that hay fever look.

As a general rule,

the more radical a political community claims to be,

the more likely it is to be a community of resentment.

Self-styled radicals will tell you,

"Superficial surface reforms do not interest us.

The problem must be critiqued at its root."

And the root turns out to be this universal,

all-encompassing evil, right?

Society itself, the system,

the machine.

A resentment ideologue always imagines himself engaged

in a kind of Satanic revolt against an omnipotent,

omnipresent enemy.

Okay, I just need to do makeup for a second.

It's harder than it looks to be a makeup vlogger.

It's hard to talk while doing this.

And nothing short of total revolution counts as any sort

of victory whatsoever.

"We have to dismantle the entire system!

Burn it all down!"

I guess it's pedestrian to point out

that this is the revolutionary utopian equivalent

of Christians awaiting the last judgment.

Our Kingdom is coming comrades!

Often the appeal of utopian ideology is similar to religion.

It's not about healthcare, higher wages,

relief from police violence: those are actual goals

that could be demanded, worked for, and achieved.

Utopian ideology instead promises relief

from some general malaise, "alienation."

And so ironically it can have the same opiate effect

that Marx ascribed to religion.

But release from the general anguish of human existence

is not a political goal.

There's been many revolutions in last few centuries

and so far zero utopias.

Resentment, envy, and hunger for that matter

are not satiated by the downfall of the old regime.

When the people have no bread they eat the rich.

And when the rich are gone they eat each other.

And because of the proximity effect,

envy may actually increase after the revolution.

You may be more envious of a favored comrade,

a successful citoyent, oui, a kulak, than you ever were

of the aristocrats.

So envy gets paranoid and imaginative

in revolutionary moments, it's sublimated into morality

and the accusations start flying.

That citizen is conspiring against the revolution!

That peasant is hoarding grain!

So the guillotine starts slicing thousands of heads off,

the gulags fill up.

Or an authoritarian strongman takes over

only to announce another revolution two decades later.

The things people will do to stay relevant,

honestly.

And for what?