Someday, maybe, you’ll get an issue of Unwinnable Weekly that is all about flowers and people being nice and puppy dogs. I doubt it, though.
That’s not because of that old chestnut about bad news selling, though after a decade (!) in the news business, I can tell you first hand that there is some truth to that. On slow nights at one outlet, for example, we’d scour the web for missing persons stories – always a high traffic get. If the victim happened to be a white, blonde single mother, we’d have more clicks than we knew what to do with.
It has more to do with stories about happiness being boring. The same way that God is the literal deus ex machina in an exorcism movie, a story about happiness inevitably ends with “and they lived happily ever after.” Any story with a resolution that can be summarized in six words isn’t worth your time.
No, the stories worth telling are about struggle and hardship and uncertainty. This issue has that in spades. Miguel Penabella explores the brutal surrealism of Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. Corey Milne grapples with the lonely isolation of The Rapture is Here and You Will Be Forcibly Removed From Your Home. Matt Duhamel gives us a searing account of his troubled youth and his impulse to create. And in perhaps the saddest story of all, our resident Space Marine advice columnist, Aurelius Ventro, tells you how to avoid loneliness in love. Hint: you have to kill a dog.
Happiness is a perfect and absolute state. “I’m happy but my back hurts” or “I’m happy despite my dog dying” aren’t true statements. The truth is more along the lines of, “I really messed up my back and in an effort to distract myself from the excruciating pain, I am doing my best to pretend to be happy.”
Happy is a unicorn. Chase meaning instead.
Kearny, New Jersey
June 23, 2014