In the Internet age, "not giving a fuck" has become one of the most celebrated traits, the height of cool. We post memes proclaiming "not a single fuck was given that day". Sometimes we even go out of our way to be offensive just to demonstrate the lack of fucks we give.
I submit that the person constantly making these claims in fact gives the most fucks - at least by their own warped interpretation of what fuck-giving actually means. I also submit that the whole portrayal of not giving a fuck as some kind of badass or even psychologically healthy character trait is, well, pretty fucked.
Firstly, and most obviously, if you feel the need to constantly claim that nothing bothers you, that you don't care wether people like you or not (the basic tenets of alleged non fuck-giving) then you quite transparently do care an awful lot about how you are perceived. If you truly didn't give a fuck about what people thought, that would surely extend to not giving a fuck about wether people thought you gave a fuck or not.
So far so obvious. But how did this this brand of borderline sociopathy become a desirable trait in the first place?
In the 90's and 00's, "cool" became synonymous with post-ironic cynicism. Everything in the world was a bought-and-sold corporate shit show and if you didn't believe that then you were just a "sheep". This is just apathy. "The worlds a mess and there's nothing I can do about it so why should I give a fuck?"
This wasn't always so. Right through the 80's the counter culture was identifiable by the sheer amount of fucks it gave. Jesus, you couldn't move for fucks being given about everything from gender equality to nuclear power to workers rights. To care about something, to give a fuck, was actually quite cool.
But somewhere along the line the idea of giving a sincere fuck about anything came to be seen as hopelessly naive and sentimental, the very definition of uncool.
Nowadays not giving a fuck extends to the people who surround you, too. And of course there's some merit to this. We should all be free to be ourselves, to dress, act and behave in whatever way makes us happy provided we're not hurting anyone. We should of course be free to express ideas that other people may find offensive; in fact it's vital that we do. No one has a right to a life free from offence. (And anyone who says otherwise is a cunt).
We are free to be who we are, but this is not the same as saying we should not give a fuck. It may sound like I'm nit picking, quibbling over a turn of phrase, but I'm not.
This is the crux of it:
We need to care. That's all that's going to save us. And the don't-give/a-fuck attitude is the opposite of that. It's not brave or cool. It's lazy and apathetic.
Conversely, being kind and caring, though frequently portrayed as soft and bleeding-hearted and wooly and naive, is quite often the hardest thing to do in life.
Don't give a fuck what others think? You're not a badass you're just painfully incurious. Or a sociopath.
Don't read the news 'cos who gives a fuck it's all lies anyway, man? You're not a badass. You're uninformed. And contrary to popular belief you're NOT entitled to an opinion, certainly not one that anyone has to actually listen to, unless it's based on actual information.
Don't vote? You're not a badass. You're apathetic, and you're opting out of the most important conversation there is about the forces that shape our lives. I know you love to believe you're in control of your life, the hero of your own story, the captain of your own ship. And you are. You are the captain of your own ship. But society is the water.
So please: Be brave. Inform yourself. Be curious. Care.
Give a fuck.