Your Life Sucks: A Recent History of "The New Niceness"

• November 19, 2012: “New Yorkers once carried mace; now we sit at home in cardigans and pickle cabbage. Angry young men while away quiet hours playing Angry Birds.”

• December 21, 2009: “In this new world of nice netiquette, technology is designed to make it easier for everyone to love one another. After all, if you’re not your ‘real self’ online, how will Leighton Meester know it’s you who loved her dress at the Teen Choice Awards?

• February 24, 2010: “It’s not just Internet logrollers riding the wave of positivity. Conan O’Brien signed off from NBC saying, ‘Please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism—it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere.’ Quite unlike aloof Madonna or spoiled Britney, pop star of the moment Lady Gaga is constantly professing what seems to be sincere, mature gratitude to her fans and creative partners on Twitter. Tom Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson, proclaimed nice ‘the new black’ in the March Harper’s Bazaar (‘How often have you yawned in boredom when someone has told you about a nice person they know? What did nice do to deserve this treatment?’).”

• November 17, 2012: “The ironic frame functions as a shield against criticism. The same goes for ironic living. Irony is the most self-defensive mode, as it allows a person to dodge responsibility for his or her choices, aesthetic and otherwise. To live ironically is to hide in public.”

Now, three years into the New Niceness, it’s pretty easy to make the point that you’re all a bunch of complacent stupid assholes, enjoying your apps and your social networks and your urban gardens and homemade aioli, dithering your days away in a flurry of clicking idiotic thumbs-up buttons while financial institutions remake America and destroy the middle class, and rich people ruin even the things that are expressly for rich people, and meanwhile they are setting up the 2016 presidential slot for a man too stupid or too evil or too craven to publicly even take a stand on how old the world is.

Presumably there’s a contrary point one could make but it’s just not very apparent.