Where I grew up everyone believed in unicorns. The only people who didn't were Soviet Communists who wanted to infiltrate and destroy our American way of life, the bastards. I can honestly say I never heard a single person I knew even suggest that unicorns were not real until I was actually in high school. By that time I'd seen people on Donohue deny the existence of unicorns. I believe it was a taping in a huge auditorium in Dallas or somewhere and I was astonished the disbeliever wasn't lynched there and then. On reflection I'm not at all surprised. The audience was being watched, so they responded the way all unicorn-loving folk do, with acrid condescension and pity at the woeful and fallen state of man and the sure knowledge that someone was never going to get to ride a beautiful horned horse across rainbows in the sky, etc. The average American follower of the unicorn almost never meets disbelief with overt violence, at least when being recorded. Derision, bullying, sarcasm, tears, even screaming rage, but seldom physical violence; unless it's late enough, dark enough, isolated enough, and you know, maybe a very special day in the unicorn calendar.
That's the thing about the unicorn lovers. They will tell you straight up that they are all about the rainbows, peace, and pretty ponies. They are shocked and horrified that anyone has ever done violence in the name of unicorns, any and all unicorns. Shocked. And horrified. If pressed, most good unicorn lovers will admit that there are folks who follow the wrong unicorns and that they do all sorts of unspeakable things, and the most progressive unicorn folk will insist that any true unicorn believers are fundamentally sweet natured sweetie-pie cutie-patooties and no one should judge unicorns or the genuine believers therein by the behavior of just a few bad horse-apples, as it were.
And really, it is the unicorn lovers who are oppressed nowadays, if you hadn't noticed. The unicorn haters have an agenda you know. It's Soviet Communism all over again! Corrupting the innocent love of unicorns in our children with their perverted anti-unicorn talk and describing their filthy non-unicorn sex practices in classrooms and those unisex bathrooms and putting secret messages against unicorns in their fancy children's books that they hide in our libraries.
I don't believe in unicorns myself. Simple as that. Never seen the slightest evidence of 'em. Don't find I need 'em, never really think about 'em, could not care less about unicorns if they played golf or danced on the head of a pin or vomited skittles because unicorns don't exist. You want to believe in unicorns you go right ahead. You do you. I've had my run-ins with the unicorn crowd, and so I generally just avoid the topic altogether. None of my business, really. You "know" unicorns are real because you walk with unicorns, not with sight and so on. Okay. I know that's nonsense, but I don't want to fight. You enjoy your unicorn stories and your unicorn art and your unicorn stickers. Wear your unicorn shirts and crocs and trot on, unmolested by me, to frolic in happy meadows. Would that we could all just get along.
I personally almost never bring up unicorns. Maybe when I was younger and still finding my way in the world, but now? Trot on. I see your unicorn lawn flag, or your unicorn post on Facebook, I don't have to like it, right? That's how this is supposed to work in a democratic plurality.
But some of you unicorn people just can't help yourselves, can you? You just have to talk shit about us nonbelievers. Oh, I don't mean the hardcore unicorn fanatics of my rural American childhood. Those unicorn ladies are still out there burning books and takin' names, I know. No, I mean my unicorn loving friends, some of 'em anyway, acquaintances really. Not all. Never all. Some of these just can't help speculating about just what would make some poor, benighted soul like me reject the Truth and Beauty of unicorns. Not the old school, western unicorns you understand -- how vulgar! how stupid! -- no, these more sophisticated, meditative unicorn believers follow altogether different trails; up and down the Himalayas for instance, or into ayahuasca retreats deep in the rain forest. I've just been sucked into a series of these unicorn conversations on social media, all of 'em with terribly smart folk, who just can not frame an argument without a unicorn or address my disbelief without being exactly as smug, pompous, humorless, and narrow as any of the unicorn ladies of my youth. Worse, by way of justification for all this wrong-headed twaddle about we who do not believe in unicorns, these believers only bring it up because (you guessed it) the anti-unicorn people are just so mean to the unicorn people!
And why am I getting so angry? Doesn't that just prove I need unicorns in my life? Do admit.
It is just so depressingly familiar, isn't it?
I did try to crack a few jokes, lighten the mood. I tried to frame the whole thing as a friendly disagreement. I spoke from personal experience. I tried very hard to be respectful of other people's feelings, but I could not convince these otherwise intelligent, thoughtful, indeed creative men (all men, always men) to maybe not be such complete dicks about people who don't believe in unicorns. That was it. That was the whole deal. I wasn't trying to talk anybody out of their unicorns. I wasn't calling anybody names or saying that unicorns are responsible for an unspeakably awful and unrelenting history of violence and oppression and war -- though they absolutely are, the freaks. No. I was just telling these guys to ease off explaining me to myself and others from the enlightened unicorn point of view as if that was not only the best way to do that but the only way, which is just insufferable. I don't believe in unicorns, any color, stripes or no stripes, virginal white or midnight blue, so no, I do not see the point of your insistent invitation to ride yours. It's not there. That's all. Can we talk about something else?!
This morning I came perilously close to calling a online friend a pompous ass. Instead I deleted the conversation, my part anyway. I mean look at the problem logically for a moment. If he is, nothing I say is going to change that. I actually like the man and respect his work. He seems genuinely kind and he is a very clever fellow, if a bit stiff and occasionally humorless. I've been way worse. I wish he wasn't talking -- we'll say "through his hat" shall we? nicer -- but why go on when it's clear there's nothing to be accomplished beyond hurting one another's feelings?
That would be the point.
Fucking unicorns. Ruin everything.