Friday, September 12, 2008

Why am I doing this?

Seriously, this is not a rhetorical question.  There are people out there who have been blogging a lot longer than I and perhaps one such person will stumble across my blog, and be so gracious as to share the truth with an ill informed seeker.  I’m way out of my territory here; far beyond the boundaries of my intelligence, and it caused me no pain to say as much.

Help me out, how does that stupid, theoretical question go?  If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, was there: a tsunami is Asia; an American war in Iraq; a famine in Africa; a hurricane in New Orleans; hell I don’t remember.  

Concerning this blog stuff, if you've never posed legitimate questions to a hypothetical audience you should try it: it's oddly sobering and makes you concerned for your own sanity at the same time.  

What’s the point in my indulgence of this nano quantum of cyberspace?  ‘Can you hear me now?’

‘Did you hear me before I asked...?’

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Lost Art

What is the focal point of any family/gathering room you can think of? (And no, it's doesn't bother me to end a sentence with a preposition or begin one with a conjunction.) What does all your furniture face? Surely not the other furniture where people in the room that you maybe entertaining at some time would sit, because if it did; that would mean that they couldn't see the TV either. There was a time, before electronic entertainment, that people actually talked to each other, far beyond, 'how was your day?' More importantly, people didn't used to be such sissies and find any contrary argument or thought to be a personal attack on their character. You didn't have to agree with what anyone else was saying, but you'd listen, spar on occasion and at the end part ways without being offended.

Today, there are certain things we find socially disagreeable to talk about and not only to random strangers but even to our closest family and friends. I find it odd that we can run the gambit of , 'did you see American idol last night' to, 'dude, your girlfriend really is a whore...' but if you try to have open talk about religion, politics or sometimes said whore-ish girlfriend many people would flat our refuse, or meet your with hostility. I would say that most people would only want to talk about anything substantial if they think the present company is going to agree with them.

"Lets not talk about it. I wouldn't want to do anything that could put our friendship as risk."

I've had people tell me this preemptively. It makes me re-evaluate my friendship with them. If the ties that bind us can't survive the thought of open-minded conversation then I don't see much of a foundation for anything else. We can talk about 'x,y,and z' but for the love of pork fat don't ever, Ever, EVER talk about 'l, m, or the dreaded n.' To me, it seems like being okay with only knowing 80% of a given individual. Would you be okay with that if it were your spouse? Whether or not you plan on sleeping with them, should you really treat friends to a lesser standard? I feel we get to know people on a much more superficial level than generations past who maybe weren't quite so sensitive and had crappier entertainment options.

Perhaps people's unwillingness to talk about touchy-for-no-good-goddamn-reason topics is due to their own lack of education and the insecurity that comes along with it. If that is the case, the burden of responsibility lies with the individual. But I think it's something more, because I bow out of conversations all the time when I'm not well enough informed to comment. Furthermore, even then I listen to everything that is said through a sieve.

I think in general it maybe a little easier to have a serious discussion with a total stranger than a close friend. Friends have an image of who we are, be it right or wrong we generally don't want to shake it up and risk getting out of the comfort zone. I've done this myself; it's a socially acceptable form of lying by way of, 'no comment.'

You will act differently meeting someone for the first time if you know you'll probably see them next week or not ever again; the latter person will meet the more 'real' you. Assuming you're being cordial and not just some cavalier asshole you will be able to speak your mind about everything, listen, contradict and agree all without anyone taking anything said to a degree where 'offense' could be given. I'm assuming a certain level of learned disposition here. I'm not talking about a south Georgia redneck and a San Fransisco hippie talking about health care in a Chicago dive bar.

I refuse to be the guy who blames the media for everything, but you do have to wonder what did people do for a entertainment before the advent of electricity? Senior year of college, Dwanye and I had a TV with no cable but a Playstation, no internet (if I recall neither one of us owned a computer) a stereo and a VCR that saw modest to infrequent use. Games were great in thirty minutes burst, music was only played at parties, movies were watched when we too worn out to have a party and while I had discovered that I enjoyed reading that year, I almost never did it at home. We really talked to each at that point in time.

Conversation was born out of there being nothing else to do--we were in Rome, Ga--and our being too broke to do much of anything, but it really became an activity in itself. Perhaps it was our mutual liking of Bacardi or the seemingly indefatigable bastion of booze we had literally stock-piled known as The Wall, but whatever the reason we didn't have to run out and find an activity to occupy our time.

More often than not, today we offer to hang out with someone and as soon as we get together, "so what are we going to do?' comes up. Perhaps I'm preaching elitism (Did McCain create that word?) or sounding self-righteous, but I'm not so sure as Dwanye and I weren't carrying on the most substantial of conversations all the time.

I walk softly when I speak to some of my friends, knowing that some subjects would piss them off. I view it as a limitation on our friendship. The irrationality of not being able to talk about things makes any debate of the matter moot.

I feel it should be a lot harder to make your friends mad; understanding and, well... friendship should trump impulsive emotions. It's too bad, to; because all that is left in 'comfortable' territory is our jobs (Boring), drinking (A Depressant), and why the Braves can't win a one-run game (Unanswerable).

You shouldn't have to precede or end a comment with, "No offense..." Speak your mind, and if someone gets their panties in a wad, strike up another mental tally mark in the column of, 'people that will never be as cool as me.' Then go find someone who is.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

And why should you have to make up your own mind?

Okay. I’ll come out and say it; hate if you want, but you know I’m right. The world is going to hell: McCain, Obama--Bob Barr if you like--will lead us into a new era of doom. DOOM, I tell you! Worse than a fate of spending the next four years in an inferno picking fleas off a camel’s crotch is the fact that not the next President, rather the American people who vote for him will lead us there. I present to you, public enemy number one: roughly eighty percent of the voting population.

No science or opinion polls were consulted in coming up with that number, because this is my blog and I can make up statistics if I want to. Democracy is a beautiful idea, but in practice I’m not so sure. The thought of everyone having a ‘voice’ is very appealing, but the problem with giving everyone a vote is that most of ‘everyone’ is a moron.

“Did you listen to Obama’s speech?” a co-worker of mine asked another the day after the DNC. “No. It was late, and it was a long day. I just figured I read about it online and listen to what the ‘talking-heads’ had to say.” This is a real conversation that I heard between two people that are allowed a vote in our system. One person asked a question seeking quasi-intelligent conversation. (Quasi because nothing concerning politics is really worth listening to.) The other… well; there’s no need for name calling.

Allow me to make things worse. The ‘talking heads’ in this situation consist of Neal Boortz, Noam Chomsky, and Sean Hannity. Nothing wrong with that lot; all very educated and well informed personalities, but they do have a certain hardcore spin on all the talk about. Scariest of all, it’s not just this one co-worker that thinks like this, hence my fictitious but plausible statistic above. The only thing worse than voting straight down party lines due to some indefinable belief that the other guy is wrong is taking the gift of democracy and putting it in someone else’s hands. I’m doing my best to stay objective and feel it necessary to say that the three listed above aren’t the only ones out there influencing people’s vote. Liberal thinkers do it to. (Though I do find it ironic that conservative radio personalities are the more outspoken ones.)

Influence is okay: it’s nothing more than what the candidates are trying to do. Not listening to a speech in an election year is okay. (In Obama’s case I think it’s necessary; through no fault of his own, he’s gift for oratory is phenomenal, thus dangerous. Read his speeches, then figure out if he said anything...)

A brief moment of patriotism: (disgruntled Europeans living abroad, beware…) American history is perhaps most boring to Americans. It is common place and beaten into our heads from first grade. Try to view it with virgin eyes and I’m sure you’ll agree that despite all our founding fathers hypocrisy they had some phenomenal ideals at heart. In America there are certain, “ inalienable” rights that citizens have, like owning projectile weapons designed to kill people, and spousal abuse. In explicit detail, we legislate who can do what and why; sadly we don’t revoke these peoples same rights with any amount of haste. At the risk of sounding undemocratic, I don’t think many American rights are inalienable, rather, they should be earned.

When we come of age, we are made to prove to the state of our residency that we are capable of driving a car. Make enough mistakes and the right is taken away. Why is the same not true for having children? If I may be blunt: if you are over the age of sixty and your car is longer than a Toyota Camry, you should have your driving privileges revoked. The same is true if you are female, asian, and have a profound urge that leads you to drive in the far left lane. If you are unable to determine which candidate is the best to vote for, then you shouldn’t vote and be held legally responsible for your action if you do in fact make an ill-informed (not your own) decision. Ignorance to the law has never been an excuse, but if you are ignorant or just plain unwilling to choose sides (make a stand) your voice still counts? Is that contradictory to anyone else? Kinda like McCain hating on Obama for having a platform of ‘change’ and having Palin go out and preach ‘reform.’ Or Obama calling McCain elitist because he’s richer than Midas and to old to remember how many houses he has while Obama eats an arugula salad...

Have you ever had a salad comprised of nothing but arugula? Seriously?


Delegates, Super delegates. Do you know what they are? Do you how Bush got in office two straight terms? I feel that myself and others should be super Delegates of sorts that have the authority to revoke peoples right to the popular vote. A little un-democratic I know, but the system has many flaws, so allow me my suggestions.

The eighty percent that I referred to earlier are also made up by the people I overheard at lunch last week while dining on margaritas and hot sauce. “I just don’t trust that Oh-BAM-ah, fella. I don’t know why, but nothing good is gon’ come a that one.” “We need to pray for our Savior and future Sovereign: the Good Mr. Sen. John McCain.”

R. Kelley, pee on me if I’m making this up. People actually said this out loud. Don’t trust Obama? That’s fine, only give me a reason why. Is that asking too much? A little justification for your belief or is it so much easier to escape the physical effort of thought and seek prayer?

I don’t care who you vote for I really don’t. And to those that are concerned that my political apathy is in jeopardy rest assured; I’m as indifferent as ever. After all, we survived Bush for eight years, what could Obama or McCain possibly do to ‘and-one’ that?

“Morons of nations--(present readership excluded)--, heed the call and head to voting office this November. Cast your vote for whomever you deem worthy, but please--on bended knee in a most humble gesture of earnest supplication, I beseech you; make sure your vote is your own.”