Tag: america

No One Fucking Thinks Anymore And It’s Driving Me Crazy

It takes all I can muster to not be an insufferable cunt on Facebook every day.  If I had less self-discipline, I would comment on every single fucking social/political meme that had 4 brain cell’s worth of thought put into it, which was then reposted a million times by people who agreed with a premise they refused to research or verify.  I would comment on every single fucking one with facts and analysis to show them how dumb they were for sharing an idea or statement that is fundamentally flawed with only 10 minutes of Google-Fu.

And it wouldn’t do a damn thing.

No one wants to know anything, and that’s the problem.  They want their feelings formed into a bullet point, and that’s good enough.  Fuck reading, fuck research, fuck fact-checking, fuck verification.  Someone took two minutes captioning a picture, so it can’t be all wrong, right?

This happened today:

Someone who I thought was smarter than they actually are reposted the following on their Facebook feed:

dumb

Hey, that’s not a bad point at first blush.  If I pretend like I only have a few hundred brain cells, I could probably conjure some rage and follow that up with “Yeah, how dare they!”

First: should risking your life be the only path to affordable higher education?

Second: tuition has increased at least 1,000% over the last 30-50 years (depending on who you ask), and that’s with adjustment for inflation.  So yeah, I guess risking your life does seem like a good fucking idea now.

Third: Note that the veteran in the picture is white; not surprisingly, that makes it more accurate.  There is a long history of minorities, specifically African-Americans, getting a shaft of some sort or another regarding their G.I. Bill benefits.

Fourth: Like many veteran’s benefits, the G.I. Bill has received numerous cuts in recent years.

Fifth: This meme distorts the overall message of the outcries from millennial/GenX young people who are often identified as the people “whining” and “complaining” about “life.”  The overall message is that they were sold a bill of goods (work hard, be smart, have a house and family and dog and comfortable life) that hasn’t been delivered upon.  Costs for everything are higher today than they were only 20 years ago, let alone 40 (adjusted for inflation, of course).  Hard work can still get you places, but not the same places it got your parents, or your parent’s parents.  Most people who are “crying” about getting their student loans forgiven are mad because they paid more for college and got far less than their parents (and their parent’s entire generation) did.

I spent maybe 10 minutes searching all that information up.  I’m not a genius.  But I am now more informed than what feels like half the people in America.  I’m not special, so that makes things even sadder.

The worst part of this is that the righteous indignation that people spew along with their opinions, opinions that have been poorly (if at all) researched, or opinions that they got from a fucking meme.  The person I know on Facebook probably posted that with an internal “yeah, those lazy fucks!”  Not only have they internalized a really weak opinion, but they have paired it with the entitled condescension of someone who you would have thought would have done a search or used their brain.  In reality, all they did was nod at a picture and click “share.”

This isn’t just obnoxious, this is deleterious to society, and has spread like wildfire.  Many, many people just don’t research for themselves.  They take the spoonfuls of information they’re willing to eat, and accepting that it is right.  It is reducing our culture to that of bullet points and sound bites.  I know this  is happening because Donald Fucking Trump is going to win a nomination for President Of The Fucking United States while treating every debate like it’s a wrestling promo.  He has provided zero detail on his plans, only surface-level proclamations, yet there are people hailing him a savior.

I don’t have a solution for this.  I can’t understand it.  The way I’m wired, if I read something that I’m not sure of, I go and research it.  I can accept that not everyone is like me.  But isn’t it good to, y’know, know things?  Isn’t it good to make sure you’re right before you call someone lazy, or worthless, or wrong?  Isn’t it good to base your arguments on things like facts instead of emotions or fucking memes?

Just fucking burn it to the ground, we wouldn’t notice anyways.

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My New Favorite Podcast: The Dollop

Dollop-logo
Two of my major obsessions are comedy and history.  I’m a huge fan of stand-up comedy, to a point where I follow and cheer for comedians not unlike how some cheer for sports teams or political candidates.  On the other side, history probably would have been my major if I had completed college, and that’s probably a good thing that I didn’t, because having a history major usually means you have a lot of student loan debt without a matching career to justify it.

Anyways, The Dollop is a bi-weekly podcast hosted by Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, two excellent stand-up comedians who explore weird parts of American history.  The format is simple: Dave reads while Gareth reacts, though they will often go on tangents where they act out possible situations in the story they’re telling.  The end result is informative and hilarious.  I love it to pieces.

The true genius here is that there is an endless supply of material to mine.  They confine themselves to American history, but there are so many weird things that have happened in America’s relatively short history that there should be no end in sight for what they could do.  And even if they do run out, I don’t think anyone would fault them if they expanded their net to include the rest of the world.

Above all else, even if you don’t think the idea of a history/comedy podcast is a good one, you should listen to what is so far my favorite installment of The Dollop, The Rube.  I won’t spoil anything, but it is one of the most ridiculous sports figures in the history of all mankind, who I sadly had never heard of before I listen to Dave and Gareth.  The Rube is now my favorite baseball player of all time, full stop.

Anyways, do yourself a favor and give them a listen.  You’ll learn a thing or three, and laugh while doing so.  It’s typically difficult to get me to full-gut laugh these days, but these guys manage it on a bi-weekly basis.

American TV is Fucking Awful

I recently became enamored with Kitchen Nightmares, because Gordon Ramsay is legitimately hilarious, and working in IT I can identify with the feeling of “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING” that Ramsay so pleasingly exhibits as he discovers the kitchens and the nightmares.

So, eventually that led me to the British version of Kitchen Nightmares, which just happens to be exponentially better than the American version.

How?  Same guy, same premise.  How could it be so different?  Bullet points!

  • The music and sound effects that are used in American reality television are ridiculous and practically offensive.  All the dramatic posturing, stereotypical “whooshes” and ominous cues; it’s insulting.  The UK version has actual songs by actual bands, without dramatic wankery.
  • The American version also has these terrible, trite visual cues, such as a plate being smashed when transitioning to commercial after a fight, or someone crushing a muffin under their feet, or something else equally silly and unnecessary.
  • The show is narrated by Gordon himself, instead of some stupid typical guy going “you’ll NEVER guess what Gordon uncovers, after the break!”  Gordon is actually intelligent and well-spoken; why would you supersede that with a guy who should be on bad morning radio?

This isn’t the only example, however.  Shows in Britain are often much like this when compared to their American counterparts.  For a lack of better words, they act as if the audience has a functioning brain.

Oh, wait.  I get it now.

Why Everything Is Bad

Whoa, that’s a broad headline.  So, maybe not everything, but why many things are bad.

OK, what things?

Let’s try this: why every conversation and attempt at critical thought in America is bad.

OK, that’s not everything, but that’s a lot of things.  The way we think?  That directly and indirectly affects many, many things.  I think it affects enough things where “everything” isn’t too far off.

I just had a semantics argument with myself.  Awesome.

OK: Why many things are bad!

So few people really understand the way a democracy works, and even fewer people understand how to think critically in any context, let alone a context where there are multi-layered complex problems affecting an entire society.

Example: the argument over political correctness, a verbal thought war that’s been waged for a couple decades now.  Both sides are populated by many, many dumb people.  These people not only are dumb, but their dumbness continues the argument in perpetuity.

Many people on the “anti-PC” side of the argument are brushing off the PC idea as “soft” and “overly sensitive.”  In many contexts, this is simply wrong.  They are on the wrong side of history, and are resistant to a change that would be so minor and insignificant in their daily lives but very significant to the lives of others.  It’s more than insensitive, it’s crass and insulting.  It demonstrates a complete lack of sympathy for fellow human beings.

However, many on the “PC” side of the argument are so rabid and oversensitive that they may have created much of the argument in the first place.  While eradicating slurs and offensive language should be something we strive for, many people on this side of the argument are blind to the fact that mistakes and accidents happen, and that the kind of change they’re looking for is largely generational, and will not be complete until long after they’re dead.

OK, there’s a rabbit hole here I should probably stop going down.

My main point: everyone looks at shit in a binary fashion, with no respect for the gray area whatsoever.  This would be great if big problems were binary, but they simply aren’t.  There aren’t simple solutions for everything.  There’s actually very few things worth talking about that have a simple solution.

All people have guns, or no people have guns.  All abortion or no abortion.  If it’s not pure capitalism it’s communist.  If you’re Muslim, you’re a terrorist.  All welfare recipients are gaming the system.  These are all idiotic, narrow-minded sentiments that turn blinders to the complexity of life, and the effects any of these issues have on all corners of society.

I don’t think I’m terribly smart.  I think I’m kinda smart.  I don’t have answers to all these problems.  But I do know that no societal problem has a simple solution, and I also know that swinging the pendulum all the way to one side or the other is almost unilaterally a terrible idea.

I simply don’t understand why so, so many people have trouble grasping this, or don’t care enough to try.

It’s an anti-intellectualism that has long taken hold of American society, and I think that’s far more frightening than any of the other problems we face.  It might not directly kill or hurt anyone, but it prevents us from fixing anything effectively.

I weep for the future.