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Monday, July 1, 2013

#firstworldproblems: I do not think this means what you think that it means

Today's post relates to something very dear to my heart: tagging social media posts with "first world problems" or "white whine." I have seen a whole host of abuses of these phrases lately, and quite frankly, it has to stop. This is serious business, friends. It is nothing to laugh about. Even though it is a joke. I'm serious. Stop laughing. You -- YOU -- STOP LAUGHING. I don't care if you're laughing about a joke that you heard earlier! STOP. THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS GODDAMMIT.

I have gotten my fair share of laughs from reading websites devoted to both "First World Problems" and "White Whines." When these terms are applied correctly, they can be funny as shit. Seriously -- seeing some 14-year-old white suburban kid fly into a fiery rage because his parents bought him the iPad without data service, those f**king assholes is downright hysterical. Laughing at morons is where like 95% of the joy in my life comes from.

But then there are all the times that these tags are misused, and they make me shake my head in sadness. If you're going to jump on a meme or crack a joke at someone's expense, at least do it properly. Please. So let us learn a thing or two about "first world problems":

Do not tag #firstworldproblems on something that sounds like it actually could easily have happened in the third world

This seems like an obvious one. I mean, the whole POINT of #firstworldproblems is to ridicule people for complaining about absolutely frivolous non-issues.

And yet, people f**k this up all the time. I once posted a status about my legs being so covered in poison ivy and stinging nettle burns that it hurt to sit down ... and someone tagged it #firstworldproblems. Okay, what?? The f**k??? I was so baffled. If being in excruciating pain after frolicking about in a bunch of poisonous plants is considered a frivolous complaint, then what the hell has to happen to me for you to NOT consider it a "first world problem"??

Do not tag #firstworldproblems on something that is clearly intended as a joke

I use hyperbole a lot. It's a great way to both get a laugh and also make a point about something -- like, for example, you know, just being hypothetical ... maybe someone might make a completely exaggerated complaint about something small to make fun of people who really do act as if everything bad thing that happens to them is the end of the world.

If you tag this with #firstworldproblems, you might as well tag it #idon'tgetjokes.

I have nothing to say to the second commenter. Nothing.

How can you tell if someone is joking or not? Well, if you've actually MET your friends before, then it should be incredibly obvious. There are people out there who post complaints like this in all seriousness:

I get the feeling this person was mayyyybe 40% joking, even though if you asked, she'd probably say it was 100%. Bitch, I don't believe you.

And then there's me and most of the other normal people in the world.

Don't make us have to start tagging "#sarcasm" on our own posts. It's annoying.

Do not tag #firstworldproblems on something that is a completely legitimate complaint that any person would feel frustrated by, regardless of education level, socioeconomic status, race, or age

A good White Whine is a complaint so ridiculous, you can't even imagine yourself being in the poster's situation, much less finding the energy to raise such a fuss over it.

I ... I'm sorry for your struggles.

So when someone posts something like:

That is not a "white whine." It is not a "first world problem." It is a legitimately stressful and terrible situation that most of us can absolutely empathize with. If you personally are not able to feel empathy for this particular bit of misfortune, that probably just means that you're an asshole.

Do not tag #firstworldproblems to anything posted by someone you actually like

Look, regardless of how funny or stupid you think someone's complaint is, the fact is that if they're peeved enough to post about it on social media, they are actually upset. And when someone is upset, saying to them "the thing you are upset about is really stupid and I am both judging and mocking you for it" is not going to earn you any favors.

Don't piss off a hungry person unless you want to get straight-up murdered.

So if you like the person and want to continue a friendship with them ... maybe keep those "my how frivolous this complaint is" thoughts to yourself.

But if you don't like the person much ...

DO tag #firstworldproblems to any complaint involving Whole Foods, farmer's markets, or organic produce not being fresh enough. Because come on.

DO tag #firstworldproblems to any complaint involving a gift not being sumptuous enough. Because COME ON.

DO send anonymous screencaps of people's idiotic complaints to White Whines and First World Problems

Hey, just because you can't directly make fun of somebody without hurting their feelings, doesn't mean you can't do it behind their backs. Besides, the people that edit those sites know what is actually considered a good #firstworldproblems example. Your stupid shitty one about someone having cholera won't make it to the site, and I can spend my evenings laughing riotously at all those idiots screaming in frothy rage because their Dad won't let them drive the Beamer just because they got arrested for smoking pot. Dad is such a f**king dick, right? Sometimes I wish I didn't even HAVE a dad.

And if you think that's an exaggeration of how awful some people really are, just spend some time on or

Make sure you set a few hours aside.

You're welcome.

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