Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Beautiful people, tiring of all the attention they receive for their appearance and wishing instead to be valued for the person they are inside, want to be seen as intelligent.
Intelligent people, sick of their self-esteem resting on whether they can win arguments or have the most interesting take on the latest political scandal, want an easier and more direct route to approval, they want to be beautiful.
Serious people, seeing the way others can relax and joke around, want to be funny.
Funny people, typecast as the clown in their group of friends and not being able to voice their actual opinions on things, want to be serious.
The Old, confronted with their mortality and worries about a life mis-lived, wish to be young again.
The Young, consumed with anxiety about their future and drifting from one zero-hourscontract to the next, never knowing whether things will ever work out, wish to be old.
The helper wants to be helped. They want to let down their guard and cry and be hugged and experience what it’s like to be vulnerable, to not have to be the strong one.
The helped want to stop being so dependent. They want to learn to be self-sufficient, and if possible, they want to one day have the fortitude and wisdom to support others.
The poet, gifted with the ability to see beauty in the ordinary, scorns themselves for being a mere observer of everyday life and wishes to be a part of it instead – a labourer instead of an artist, someone who actually does things rather than writes about them.
The labourer, the doer, would do anything to escape their drudgery: the life of a poet seems like a life of luxury to them.
Now admittedly, these are mostly false dichotomies. A lot of these qualities can be possessed together, and maybe finding the right balance is the key to some sort of happiness, whatever that means.
But what if you have none of these qualities? A nothing person with nothing going for you. Not beautiful, not intelligent, not serious, not funny, not old, not young, not helped by anyone and your presence certainly not helping anyone else, not poetic and not doing anything of any practical worth whatsoever.
James Corden wants all of these things. But having chased approval his whole life, he also now wants none of them. He doesn’t want to be a target anymore, and thinks we all need more compassion. He yearns for a society that drops these labels, that views people as people rather than a collection of adjectives. He wants us to think through the consequences of these descriptions, the way we judge people too harshly for the things they lack and even praise them too much for the things they’ve got, which can be just as dangerous. He wants us to accept everyone we meet, despite their flaws and their mistakes and their hacky talk show monologues. He wants us to understand that each and everyone one of us is complicated, and that no one in this world really has the right to look down on anyone else. He wants to live in a world that’s more humane.
James Corden wants change.
And I want it too.
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