The Best Way to Complain

“The best way to complain is to make things.” I discovered this quote over a decade ago and fell in love with it. I’s attributed to James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem but I’ve never been able confirm this. It doesn’t matter who said it, it’s the meaning that’s important.

Stay vigilant is one of my daily mantras. “The best way to complain is to make things.” is one of the other mantras. Maybe it’s middle age but I’m tired of listening to people complain. People complaining on TV, in real life, about politics, their boss, or some asshole who cut them off on the road. Everyone needs to shut the fuck up. No, I’m sorry. I take that back. Turn whatever shitty life event happened to you into something else. A poem. A drawing. A live Netflix special.

This is what Chris Rock chose to do after Will Smith slapped him, on stage, at the Oscars in 2022. Rock didn’t go on The View, or CNN, or any other show to complain about this horrible, catastrophic, life-changing, apocalyptic event. Nah, he incorporated it into his stand-up routine and it eventually became the closing bit of his Netflix stand-up special that aired live this past Saturday night. I’m not going to quote it here, out of context, on this website. Go watch the special for yourself.

This is the power of art. It’s the closest thing to alchemy I’ve found. Art has the power to turn negatives into positives. Rock turned something shitty that happened to him into something we could laugh at. Comedians often confess telling jokes about things that have happened in their lives help them cope with these things, to process them. I’m willing to bet this was the case for Rock too.

So stop complaining about shit and go make stuff.