I’m Exhausted (With Apologies to Joe Brainard)

In a hellscape year, these are the (mostly) minor annoyances that drained the life out of me.

(If you never have, read Joe Brainard’s sui generis memoir I Remember as your first act of self-care in 2021.)

I’m exhausted by memes, the circulating images that reveal the limited number of cultural totems people deem relevant (Mean Girls yes, Heathers no) and the contempt with which the sharers hold the future of democracy. Trump may be planning a coup, but look how witty this TikTok someone made about it featuring Britney Spears is!

I’m exhausted by feelings, others’ and my own, creeping up in unexpected moments during this year of forced contemplation.

I’m exhausted by seeing which celebrities get a pass (Tina Fey) and which celebrities get canceled (Alison Roman).

I’m exhausted by idle fights online, in which two people with no interest in changing their minds engage in a battle of decibels.

I’m exhausted by the people who greet the announced launch of something new with, “Why do we need that?”

I’m exhausted by people who think we need reboots of every TV series created, but happily churn out new concepts for holiday movies every year.

I’m exhausted by straight actors getting annoyed when they’re asked about their sexuality for playing gay, as if gay performers are not constantly thinking about their sexuality in terms of their careers. (Also, there’s a very simple remedy to this.)

I’m exhausted by people wishing death on other people, even when they really fucking deserve it.

I’m exhausted by every gay editorial sites publishing something Drag Race-related for every third story.

I’m exhausted by the people who are outraged that they are expected to consider the greater good.

I’m exhausted by Zoom meetings, where I can feel my energy being drained from me with every passing moment of having to stare in a certain direction with a fixed look on my face, because god forbid a gay man look unpleasant or bitchy.

I’m exhausted by my own limitations and weaknesses, making any kind of growth seem both impossible and irrelevant.

I’m exhausted by worrying if what I’ve said will be taken in bad faith and various moral failings will be attributed to me other than the ones I actually do possess.

I’m exhausted by TV series that equate grimness with seriousness.

I’m exhausted by old white men telling me how to consume culture (movie theaters good; streaming very very bad).

I’m exhausted by the sheer amount of casual racism on display every day, and by so many Americans’ shocked reaction that racism still exists.

I’m exhausted by the self-aggrandizement of New York City.

I’m exhausted by social media trends that make something very small seem to be an international issue.

I’m exhausted by every political act and figure reduced to who will enact it or play them on Saturday Night Live, a series that Twitter insists is still relevant.

I’m exhausted by the shocking badness of The Undoing.

I’m exhausted by the people who are clinging to the illusion of normalcy in a year that forced everyone to confront new, more efficient, healthier ways of being. We have been given an opportunity to rethink our entire way of being, and instead we’re busing reposting Mean Girls memes.

I’m exhausted by people acting as if 11:59 PM, December 31, 2020, will reveal a false back to a wardrobe and we’ll emerge on the other side in Narnia. Years aren’t cursed. People are bad. And we’ve allowed bad behavior to flourish for too long to shorten the leash on it all at once.

The Gay Goods is dedicated to engaging with a range of opinions and viewpoints. To share yours, email editor@thegaygoods.com.

Mark Peikert
About Mark Peikert More Articles
Previously editor-in-chief of Playbill, Backstage, and New York Press, Mark Peikert is a content creator with over 15 years of experience in publishing. In addition to his editorial work, he's also a popular moderator who has shared the stage with everyone from Angelina Jolie and Julianne Moore to John Mulaney and Tituss Burgess. Not at the same time.

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