the confidence issue; or: the global highschool rule

Breaking news today: 1. a tentative G8 agreement on climate change, and 2. Paris Hilton getting out of jail because of an unspecified medical condition. The media never ceases to amaze me with their mix of news stories. My verdict? Thank God the G8 are coming to some sort of agreement on a planet-saving issue, and Paris is a wimp. To tell you the truth, there’s no reason why I should mention her, but it’s just too foolish to ignore. Celebutantes should not get away with such things. No one should. You do the crime, you do the time, sweetheart.

Strangely, Paris’ swift escape from her puny sentence of 45 days in prison is an excellent transition into today’s discussion: confidence and its effect on personal, and therefore global, politics. Paris’ social position is what got her the leniency she needed to avoid having to serve the time than you or I would have served, which is the result of personal politics and the intimidation of class and press on even the highest and most influential lawyers and jurists. Of course, this begs the question: what qualities are the American public and its legal representatives condoning, endorsing, and even promoting? Certainly it is not Paris’ confidence and good common sense that got her out of such a gigantic mess and made her the talk of the town (and by town, I mean the world).

In my twenty-two years of dealing with the world and all it throws at a young woman, I’ve learned that confidence and a good dose of common sense can go a long way. But, how do we define such malleable and relative terms? Common sense is something that comes from experience and good moral, social and political judgment. Confidence – as it is relevant to our discussion – if you look it up in the dictionary, is defined as: the belief in oneself and one’s powers and abilities.

Believe it or not (and I’m almost 100% sure that you will), personal confidence is sometimes extremely difficult to come by, and is more often viewed as cockiness and the opposite of humility and modesty. Confidence is a central issue in personal politics: whether you have it or not, how much you have, how you use it, and how you – yourself – define it. It can get you a job, it can gain you respect, it can get you a girl or boyfriend, it can open doors in every aspect of your life. Sexual confidence, certainly, can make you or break you, but is not to be confused with ambition, paranoia, and penis envy. Hence the difference between possessing confidence and being a cocky son of a bitch.

Remember high school? Sure, we all do. It might have been the worst or the best years of our lives so far, but everyone spends four of their longest years there, and we all remember it for one reason or another. Who were the confident people in your high school? Were you one of them? Did you look up to them or despise them? Most importantly, what was your definition of confidence at that point in your life? Then, finally, ask yourself where those people are today. What about everyone else?

Take a minute.

Now that you’ve had a minute to reflect, take the personalities of your high school classmates and apply them globally. Who was the bully everyone feared and wouldn’t dare cross? Who was the loose cannon? It occurs to me that the countries of the world and their relationships with one another are exactly the same as the drama fest that was/is high school. Peer pressure still applies on a huge scale (*cough* Bush and Blair! *cough*), and there are certain people we “elect” by popular demand to be our leaders; they remain in that position for a shot period of time, and then they’re either politically and socially torn to pieces and a new leader is chosen, or they go into the yearbook as “most likely to succeed” and continue to do good after the fact. It’s an interesting metaphor. Oh, and don’t forget that sometimes the elected leaders are slaves to the popular ones: just look at Hollywood and Government, and Paris’ situation.

To backtrack for a moment to my previous entry, the religious and political power struggle doesn’t care for the effect of confidence on the outcome. Right now, it seems like it’s the man who’s got the biggest number of missiles who wins. Does that seem unusually similar to a penis measuring competition to you?

Iraq and Iran and other countries who feel bullied and intimidated by the bigger and more powerful countries of the world are the potential perpetrators of global school shootings using their “weapons of mass destruction”, and not even the US – the big, fat bully – can do much of anything about that. If the US, other members of the G8, and the “loose cannons” of the world had the confidence and self-assurance in themselves to sit down and be civil with one another and cease fire, cease threats and such, the world wouldn’t be in the middle of the biggest cock measuring contest it’s ever seen. Put it back in your pants, boys: you won’t save the world with your missiles.

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