This image shows the statue Armedfreedom in 1993 just before
it was lifted onto the top of the capitol building in Washington
D.C. after undergoing a major restoration.
What is a Curmudgeon anyway?
A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved.
They're neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate
mankind, just mankind's absurdities. They're just as sensitive
and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their
vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy. They ease the
pain by turning hurt into humor. . . . . .   They
attack maudlinism because it devalues genuine sentiment.
. . . . . Nature,
having failed to equip them with a servicable denial mechanism,
has endowed them with astute perception and sly wit.
Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is a
symptom rather than a disease. They can't compromise their
standards and can't manage the suspension of disbelief
necessary for feigned cheerfulness. Their awareness is a curse.
Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad rap in the same way
that the messenger is blamed for the message: They have the
temerity to comment on the human condition without apology.
They not only refuse to applaud mediocrity, they howl it down
with morose glee. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and
we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor.
- JON WINOKUR
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