We’re constantly being asked by the culture to sublimate our desire to see or perform righteous heroic action. Instead of actually doing anything, we’re supposed to pretend to be a hero through video games and movies. Even there, instead of heroes we get narcissistic hard-edged nihilists smirking with studied irony. Authentic emotions are only for uncool weaklings.

Okay: fun, snarkiness, fake stimulation, grim cityscapes, edginess, world-weary resignation, hipness, ironic sneers, entertainment, spectacle, denial, self-interest, excuses.

Not okay: joy, earnestness, empathy, sorrow, righteous anger, serious political analysis, hard work, serving a cause, ethical standards, aesthetic judgment, courage, integrity.