1. Oh God…
This favorite comes in handy because it connotes exasperated horror, born of an inability to process the amount of revolting, terrible shit going on in the world at any given time, while simultaneously evoking the image of a divine creator, responsible for that same world, who will eventually explain and justify its existence and the suffering of so many innocent people.
2. Jesus Christ!
Though superficially similar to #1, “Jesus Christ!” is a complex ejaculation that mingles anger with the image of compassion. Usually, this utterance can be read as “I can’t believe this shit!” which is ironic, especially if you’re loose with the definition of irony.
3. Fuck me.
Another ambiguous phrase, connoting both a desire to be punished, like the awful external world is so bad that one should be in more pain to identify with it, as well as the desire to feel the ultimate pleasure, to escape from the violent reality of contemporary society through orgasm.
4. What the hell!
The lack of interrogative punctuation here shows that this statement is entirely rhetorical, as no explanation could possibly serve to make sense of the atrocities witnessed on a daily basis by everyone in the world all the time, making the allusion to “hell” all the more apt.
5. [shaking the head sadly, sighing deeply]
Unable to even speak an inane catch-all for shock, fear and disgust, this response expresses absolute helplessness in the face of tragedy on such a large scale. The violent rupture of the real has shattered the fragile cohesion of symbolic order and only a mute gesture of body language, most often to an empty, quiet room, serves as the best articulation of impotent sadness.
6. [uncontrollable heaving sobs]
Unable to maintain emotional stability in the face of soul-crushing human folly, breaking down into great, heaving sobs that wrack the body with their force lets the reality that individual human lives were abruptly and violently ended meaninglessly (again) manifest in the universal symbol for grief.
An empty numbness to the realization that this is what the world is apparently, this horror show of violence, counter-violence, counter-counter-violence, of exploitation, dehumanization, acquisition, jealousy, shame and death. There’s nothing. Just these brief moments of empty reflection in between attempts to engage with one’s personal life as if all this isn’t happening, won’t continue to happen. Maybe not to us personally, but to someone we love, someone we knew in school, someone we’ve never met. Has it always been this way? Is there anything other than this? Any other way to live as people? Is there anyone or anything to answer the heartbreakingly sincere questions of creatures trying to come to terms with existence in a monstrous system rife with senseless acts of cruelty?
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