Emotional Constipation & The Tyranny of the Smileocracy

You have yet to learn the trauma of happiness
So do not preach to me as if you know

-Melissa Ellis (aka) Mistress Strangelove

Why the long face?

Did your beloved leave you for that bloke she’s secretly been shagging on the side for the past six months?

Has your mother just dropped dead?

Or are you beating yourself up over your son’s revelation that the “nice old man” next door has been feeding him more than just candy ‘n’ sweeties?



Thought I sounded like a wee bit insensitive there?

Well, welcome to the Smileocracy, friend!


Yes – welcome to the society that values – nay, demands – harmony at any cost. The culture of “holding it all in”, of “keeping it all inside” – the culture of emotional constipation where all worry, sadness, anger and dissent is sealed away under a smile so prosthetic it’s pathetic – and woe betide any who lets said smile slip!

The way I see it, the concept of self-resentment powers this Smileocracy. The Sultans of Smile despise themselves for not being sufficiently able to make the most of their lives and rise above the mediocrity they’ve allowed to swarm over them. However these people also know that acknowledging this fact would cripple their (pseudo) self-esteem and thus, seeing no way out of the rut they’ve dug themselves into, choose to find “happiness” in slavery – to their half-lives! Thus, carrying this further, they despise most forms of dissent that remind them of how wretched their lives truly are; the most notable enmity, of course being reserved for their less-repressed fellows – for those who have enough self-respect to acknowledge their despair in thoughts, words, actions.

In short, emotional honesty is leprosy in the eyes of a Smileocrat!

Don’t believe me? Note, as a flipside to the “SMILE!” phenomena, how true enthusiasm, passion and life-lust in anything that brings an individual joy (the food that nourishes one’s desire to smile authentically) is rather ironically derided as “sad” or “pitiful”. How pathetic of such naysayers – they want the visibly unhappy to “cheer up”, but not too much! Conflicted cocksuckers! This reminds me of a work colleague who last week made a point to berate one of the pint-pullers at her local pub for being too miserable – only to moan about a “psycho” friend of hers being “too happy” in her next breath! By the end of her moanfest, it became apparent that “the medium” was the only state which held any validation for her. Indeed, she unwittingly signposted herself as a personification of the malnourished massmind, devouring and regurgitating mediocrity as the key part of a socially-controlled diet.

In any case, the exhortations to “smile” or to “cheer up” (cos, y’know “it might never happen”) and other such imperatives are assertions of the societal tendency to stuff all demons in the closet, beyond the reach of sight and ken. Another such manifestation of this habit is the plethora of prescription drugs which induce emotions not felt naturally – note how many waning ones kneel on the Prozac prayer mat in the name of redemption. Of course, this also plays out vice versa with the advocating of chemical suppressants like Ritalin and Zoloft for the “hyperactive” and depressed respectively.*

It has to be asked – what has this fucking culture got against authenticity? Why instead do we choose to venerate these veilings?

I mean does no one take notice of how much it aches to force a smile onto one’s face? A genuine smile should be something into which one sinks – relaxes!It should be an affirmation of one’s being, not an abnegation of such. Yet this gesture is asked, encouraged, demanded as a social lubricant to smooth over the cracks. It’s kinda funny how physical promiscuity is condemned, whilst the emotional equivalent is more or less a mandate of social acceptance – all the same, the smile, much like the schlong and snatch, diminishes in value with indiscriminate usage.

It is my deep-set belief that telling people to cheer up is anything but the gesture of good-will many state it is. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s the verbal equivalent of kicking a bloke in the bollocks after he’s told you his woman’s cheated on him. There’s no benefit in it and, if anything, it makes a shitty situation all the worse. Alas the battle cries of the Smileocracy qualify as “concern”,not unlike the religious dogma spouted by a Jesus freak or a PC peon. As is often asked, do those who are genuinely confident in their truth need a cushion of converts for the sake of security?

To the slavish Smileocrats I say this – shut the fuck up, relax your facial muscles, and quit trying to sell me (and others) the notion that your neurotic self-denial is befitting of a human life.

Oh I’m sorry, did that hurt you, Mr Smileophant?

Oh well, cheer up, eh? You’re the bloody expert after all.


*Yes, I recognize the validity of Prozac and Zoloft as part of a depression recovery program. It’s the “quick-fix” attitude toward these drugs I decry – mmmkay?

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14 Responses to Emotional Constipation & The Tyranny of the Smileocracy

  1. chiller says:

    You rock.

  2. ghostdog_ says:

    That was pure fucking genius. It’s strange how often you manage to explain ideas I haven’t even reached yet. All the people I tend to associate with have been those who are somewhat depressed or viewed as “odd” by everyone around them because of the choice to show emotion, but I never managed to come to a conclusion like this.

  3. LOL… I have a collection that people contribute to without ever fully understanding. It all started with a boss who said I didn’t look happy enough to be working. So I lined up the most obnoxious little yellow smiley faces on the shelf between us, and it grew from there. >:)
    I just received another one this morning.

  4. ex_req431 says:

    yep. people get uncomfortable when others aren’t smiling. they ought to mind their own business

  5. noshot says:

    When people tell me to smile, or cheer up – even if it’s my own grandmother – I feel like punching them in the face. Same goes for people who walk around with a retarded grin on their cabbage-patch-doll faces, belting out faux pleasantries in shrill, I-Have-No-Fucking-Clue-What’s-Going-On voices.

  6. noshot says:

    You’re a great writer, by the way.

  7. kasku says:

    Well, I’ve been on Prozac for over two years now and would say to anyone not to judge until they’ve walked in my shoes. : )

  8. fnguitard04 says:

    “the culture of emotional constipation where all worry, sadness, anger and dissent is sealed away under a smile so prosthetic it’s pathetic “
    *bows down* You are awesome. I think some of my jaunty mood and smart-assness has rubbed off!! I’m so proud!! 😀
    And in reply….I believe that these “smileocrats” or whatever, are merely convinced that they can use a smile as a placebo for happiness. I know many people like this…in fact someone very close to me. I think in their minds they’ve weighted what is more painful….accepting the pain, or pretending it’s not there….and obviously…we see the results. Ah, the power of denial. I prefer to wear my heart on my sleeve….even if it gets dirty, don’t you??
    Well, great post….

  9. Good entry. I am of course one of the leading rebels in the cause. I’ve gotten to love shocking people to no end with my emotions and thoughts laid bare. But then again, you read, so you know.

  10. biscayne says:

    Wow, now I feel bad for genuinely smiling all the time. x.x

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