Cynicism is intellectual cowardice (short video of the week)

“I started coming to the conclusion that cynicism is intellectual cowardice. It’s basically you not taking the time to deal with what is…”

-Henry Rollins

It’s an entertaining and inspiring 3 minute riff, mildly NSFW (language).

6 Responses to “Cynicism is intellectual cowardice (short video of the week)”

  1. Mike Nitabach

    I had no idea Rollins has been doing stand-up! He’s not bad!

  2. Kay Walten

    Well the video was entertaining. But even without the video what does ring true is: “Cynicism is intellectual cowardice”

  3. Scott Berkun


    If it rings true to you, why do you think cynicism is so common a refuge?

  4. Sean Crawford

    Cynicism to me is common because so many people take the easy way out. To not be cynical, for them, is work.

    They are the same ones who, in a Doonesbury cartoon, would have some dark around their eyes rather than being wide eyed and open to the world. To me the darkness symbolizes a delay-filter where they can check for hurtfulness before they risk letting in words and feelings.

    To avoid such a delay, avoid being a half step back from life, I insist on risking being open and expressive. This means that people who are mean or sarcastic or cynical end up avoiding me. (I grate on them) And that’s OK. I stick with the volunteers and hopeful workers of the world.

    Last night, for example, it felt so nice to be among the blessed few who attended my condo association AGM. The cynics and complainers never showed up. The only fellow who was somewhat negative-abrasive-cynical was not elected to the board, an election result that probably surprised no one but him.

  5. E. Pyatt

    I personally think cynicism is underrated. I think a healthy dose of skepticism can actually make the daily life Rollins bitches about more tolerable (“I could kill myself, but what’s the point…”). In fact, I would say that a certain level of cynicism is built into the U.S. Constitution (“Better balance the powers so no one gets too far out of control…”) and some cynicism in project planning isn’t so bad either (“the programmer says it will take 1 hour, let’s quadruple that in the time estimate”).

    Not everyone has to be cynical, and no one should be so cynical they become corrupt jackholes (“I could do you a favor, but what’s the point/only if you deliver…), but cynicism in moderation has a place in my life and probably in Rollins’ life too.

  6. trymore gonzo

    cynicism might be a reactionary ethical philosophy.


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