St. Andrew, the Partyflake

Despite his eternally white (albeit grubby) garb, Andrew WK is not a snowflake. In fact, he’s pretty much the opposite, whatever that is. A flake of party lava, exploding with good vibes and a positive message, maybe? He’s definitely not a snowflake, but not in that uber-masculine Ron Swanson sort of way. Sure, Swanson isn’t real, but Nick Offerman seems to embody the character much in the same way that WK embraces his party god-persona.

I’ve been fascinated with Andrew WK’s recent rise to fame, and equally confused by the conspiracy theories the float around the internet about him. He’s been around forever, making upbeat music about things like partying, and also partying. I don’t know how or why he became this advice giving oracle for our generation, but it’s not unfortunate.

Over the months of watching this I’ve had a couple of different reactions to his positive message. Initially, I met it with my hallmark cynicism. Nobody is this happy and positive, he’s obviously up to something nefarious. I decided that he was going to parlay this following into some sort of pyramid scheme or cult (I’m not sure there’s a difference).

The infectious positivity wore me down over time, and I could no longer be snarky about it. He seems genuine and consistent in his message, and in awe that so many people are getting behind it. The whole thing is endearing because there is a simple innocence to the whole thing – he just wants people to be happy.

I recently read an interview where WK explains that his party persona and philosophy were born out of his struggles with depression. A fake it ’til you make it sort of thing. It certainly seems genuine, so I guess it worked for him. He wanted to be happy, so he put a lot of work into finding happiness.

Now he wants to help others do the same thing.

Work? Struggle? Helping others? If things all sound suspiciously un-snowflake, that’s because they are. We the snowflakes don’t struggle, don’t need to work toward our goals, and usually can’t be bothered to help others. Of course, that’s a lie, but we try to act like it isn’t, because then we might not be special.

It’s not just the way the Patron Saint of Partying has arrived at his current philosophy that separates him from the snowflakes. His message itself is at odds with much of our culture, which makes it feel that much more important and refreshing. Andrew WK is not preaching some long forgotten wisdom, he is just reminding us that it’s a pretty swell idea to be happy while simultaneously not being an asshole.

Protip: it’s hard to be happy when you’re an asshole, we seem to have forgotten that.

Through his various ways of conveying his message, Andrew WK promotes a philosophy of love, kindness, and open-mindedness. He encourages people to be respectful of others and considerate, even if they dislike the person or what they are doing. He wants people to be good to one another, which absolutely includes ourselves. Random tweets and facebook posts remind us that almost anything counts as partying – the unspoken postscript to this is ‘as long as you’re trying to have a good time.’ If we are trying to be happy, then we are treating ourselves well. We aren’t mired in unnecessary stress or negative emotion because we are choosing to be positive.

Andrew WK encourages people to treat others well, because this promotes happiness. If we are treating others well, then we feel good about it. In turn, this person feels valued and will probably treat you well. This strengthens relationships, which also bolsters positive feelings. It’s also kind of the golden rule.

And it’s also so simple that I have a therapeutic children’s book about it that I read in session with elementary school children.

Andrew WK is not a saint, messiah, or any other sort of religious figure that we are currently projecting onto him. He is a genuine and kind person, but that has become so rare that we want to gather at his feet and hear his teachings. In our culture of selfish materialism and self-worship, Andrew WK has become an important counterpoint. A voice reminding us that being kind and positive is an effective and powerful way to fill the gaps left by focusing too much on ourselves and negativity.

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