“Politics causes me nothing but anger and frustration,” a friend of mine said. “I try to follow it, because I think it is my duty as a citizen to know what these people are up to, but I’m done. I get so angry when people don’t think the way I think they should that I can’t take it any more. I’m not going to watch it on TV, listen to it on the radio, or read your blogs about it. Sorry, it’s nothing personal. I’m just done. I’ve decided to live a politics-free life and see how happy that makes me.”
What my friend was talking about was immersing himself into politics so much that he cares, and he decided long ago that the only sane route was to stop caring. How does one care without going insane?
One answer I’ve found, to maintain sanity, is to try to avoid caring about what cannot be controlled.
I care about every article and story I’ve ever written. I wrote over one hundred political articles one year, when I was being paid to do so, and I cared deeply about every single word, paragraph, quote and citation. I focused on word usage so carefully that my eyes may go later in life, after spending so many hours staring at a computer without a break. Right before I pushed send on the article, I would Google out the info to find as many perspectives on the story as possible, and I would then edit the story again. I cared so much that I began caring too much about matters I could not control.
A question I could’ve asked my friend is why do you care so much about sports? Why does one invest so much emotion into the plot line of serial dramas? These are matters we cannot control, and when we couple them with the real pain from real life experiences, why would we choose to double down on that with matters we cannot control? My approach is to avoid being too happy when things go my way and too sad, upset, angry, or emotional when they don’t.
An observer of politics often falls prey to the conceit that they are smarter, more informed, and/or more socially conscious than their neighbor. My observations have led me to believe that people know enough to know what they want to know. As someone once said, “All politics is local.” If we run into someone that knows a little bit more than we do about an issue, not only do we refuse to care, we grow resentful.
I don’t know how political commentators wake up every day thinking that today they are going to make a difference. I’ve tried, from my own little neck of the woods, to lead people into viewing politics from a different angle, but I’ve found (all too often) that people only care about politics from a selfish perspective that confirms their point of view. Most people do not care to read an attempt at objectivity. The writer is either a good guy with a reasonable point of view, or a enemy with an unreasonable point of view.
Like-minded friends of mine have confessed to me that when an individual with an opposing viewpoint appears on their television set, they turn the channel, shut the TV off, or click the mute button. I’m not going to place myself above politics and say that these people don’t get under my skin. I think I’m right, and I think everyone should agree with me, but if they don’t, I make a concerted effort to avoid becoming so frustrated that I consider them hateful. I attempt to defeat their rationale with my own, and if I am able to do so, in my head, it not only affirms my worldview, it deepens my understanding of an issue.
The frustration some have with politics, led a caller to a radio show to ask, “Why don’t we do away with labels? This whole idea that I’m one particular party, and you’re another, and I will not talk to you because of that, is tearing this country apart.” He said that he believed that the political parties were destroying America, and the harmony between friends and family. The answer, the often unintelligent host, offered was what do we do about the different visions and philosophies the members of these parties have for the future of America? He went onto say that the pursuits of the politicians, and the people that vote for those politicians, are different from the other guys’ beliefs.
“So while I believe your heart is in the right place,” the host continued. “We would have to have arrive at some sort of designation, say the orange people versus the purple people. I’m sure there is some method through which we could change the labels, as they have in the State Legislature in Nebraska. We could list every candidate as unaffiliated, but as most concerned voters in Nebraska will tell you, they know where their candidates stand on the issues, even if they are listed as unaffiliated. We can change the labels, but we cannot change the differences.”
Those of us that have a love/hate relationship with politics have learned that even we have thresholds. The ability to persuade someone with attempts at thoughtful, objective commentary is beginning to wane. People want color by numbers. They want good guys and bad guys, and they want to read a writer that agrees with them. They know what they know, and they will not be persuaded otherwise.
Having said that, I now paraphrase Charles Krauthammer for those that believe that they would prefer to avoid politics:
“Politics is everything, and everything is political.”
When I watch a monster movie, and a character in said movie espouses politics that disagree with Hollywood’s typical line of thought, I know that that character will be the first character that the monster eats. Why is it monsters in movies only eat Republicans? I’ve never run into a monster, but I would have to guess that it would not discriminate based on political persuasion. I’m sure that they eat in a more indiscriminate manner, or if they have preferences, it is not based on a person’s political philosophy.
When I see that the only thing that can defeat these monsters is the attempt at peaceful negotiations put forth by scientists and reporters, I know that I’m watching a political movie disguised as a monster movie. When I see that all of the attempts to defeat that monster, by a blood thirsty military general that decides that the only way to defeat this monster is with a nuclear bomb that will destroy half of the city, I know that I’m being spoon fed the director’s worldview. Politics is everything, and everything is political.
There are movies that aren’t political. I’ve seen them. They are stories that are so good that a director doesn’t dare touch them. In my experience, however, these stories are rare.
“Why do you have to be so political, even when you watch movies?” is a question I have been asked.
“Why do they have to be so political?” I answer. “I am just an observer. Why do I have to see political messaging when I’m watching cartoons? Why does my kid have to be indoctrinated? I know it’s not politics to you,” I say. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not political. Am I supposed to ignore those attempts lest someone consider me a crotchety old man?”
“Why do you think they did what they did in that particular fashion,” I ask.
“They just did,” they say. “It’s a cartoon.”
“They put it in there,” I say. “I didn’t.”
“I watched the same cartoon, and I didn’t see it the way you did.”
“That’s because you weren’t paying attention,” I say. The thing with being an avowed apolitical person is that the apolitical fail to grasp the totality of manipulation. They fail to see the subtext in the constant messaging.
I might have arrived at the manipulation position as a result of being a writer. A writer, be they a person that writes a novel, a screenplay, or a poem, is on the hunt for the best way to manipulate the thoughts and emotions of the audience. The audience member who cries over the fate of a person they have never met, has been manipulated to believe they have a level of familiarity with the character that causes them to care about that character’s fate. A person that laughs, gets angry, or in any way emotional has been manipulated to that level of involvement. The same holds true for politics.
“How do words on a page scare someone,” an unemotional person that does not believe in anything asked me.
“It’s called manipulation,” I said.
“Well, I guess I’ve never been manipulated in that way,” my friend concluded.
“That’s what everyone says.”
The goal of providing opinions
We here at Rilaly.com do have an opinion on just about every political issue. Whether or not these opinions, or conclusions, are correct, are for the reader to judge.
We have been informed, however, that some of these opinions are not altogether clear in some of the articles we write. We find this disturbing on one level and pleasing on another. On one level, we’ve tried to persuade by moving our opinion to the back of the discussion. Report the facts, and the empirical evidence, to form a conclusion. If we came right out and offered an opinion on something, how persuasive would that be? “Who are you?” would be the question on the lips of all readers. “I think you’re wrong,” would be on the others. The modus operandi (M.O.) of this site is that the reader can go ahead and think we’re wrong, but they will have to discount all of these facts, and all of this empirical evidence, while doing so.
We here at Rilaly.com believe that it’s important to let the reader know our side of the issue. We do believe that it is more important that our readers know, and completely understand, the other side. We do not pursue the tenets of other side to gain favor with the other side, to be considered open-minded, or wonderful. We pursue the opinions of the other side for the purpose of defeating them.
Some arguments involve a rush to be more understanding. This is not our goal. We seek to dissect the current issues along partisan lines, provide the other side’s point of view, and their probable Modus Operandi (M.O.), and dissect it in a psychological manner, to provide the factual and empirical evidence for why it is wrong.
We simply find this ‘path to a truth’ more intellectually pleasing. If you’re one that prefers more blunt writing (and I hate to write this for fear of condescending to those that state they don’t understand), the reader may want to go to another site.
It’s not about you, and it’s not about me
We try very hard, in other words, not to make it about our opinions. We will give the reader opinions in every single piece, but if that was all we did, how interesting would that be?
95% of the opinions given in this blog are informed opinions. This is not to say that our opinions are more intellectual than yours, but to say that the opinions given here are not just something we thought up. They came from other, more learned minds that we’ve shaped in such a way as to form a collage of thought.
Anytime a more learned person’s mind cannot be shaped into a collage of thought, and their quote so brilliantly captures what we’re trying to say, we will provide attribution. If it happens that we have incidentally failed to attribute a quote, we would appreciate any feedback on this issue, for it is our great fear that we have not done so properly.
Readers, hungry for knowledge, will often throw a book across a room after reading a self-indulgent author starts down the self-indulgent road with an explanation of his process. We will only speak about ourselves when it is believed that that which has happened can provide can provide some clarification for a piece. Those that have read this blog know that we will sacrifice ourselves for greater points and greater humor. As Putty from Seinfeld once said: “It’s for the team!”
We will also do everything we can to avoid looking down on the subject of a blog. Where a subject is wrong, we will tell you that he/she/it is wrong. We will also attempt to answer the five ‘W’s regarding why we think they’re wrong. We will judge, in other words, in the pursuit of the why ‘W’
We will not look down from on high on any of the subjects of my blogs, in a Superman pose, to laugh at your confusion, or your meager existence. I will consider you meager, but I will not laugh at you for being so. This brings us to the point of this blog: “Who are you? Who Who?? Who Who???” –The Who
Who are you?
The you that you know so well that you smile with familiarity at him in the mirror, was actually created in a series of images on interior and exterior screens. You were created by a series of decisions you’ve made to believe in all of the delusions and illusions you have of you. You are a dot matrix of carefully constructed tiny mental adjustments made over time to complete the finely sculpted specimen that is reading this right now.
Not true, you say, you are one of the most real people you have ever met, and you say it like it is, even though others may be uncomfortable with your controversial positions and philosophies. You say what’s on your mind. You have brain vomit. You are an open book, and all of the memories you have about you are all real and true, and you would not permit you to lie, or exaggerate, to yourself, but you may not be exaggerating, and most of us don’t intentionally lie to ourselves in such situations. We just don’t know. We don’t know the whole truth of how we became what we are today, and that may actually be the healthiest mindsets to have.
I am constantly astounded by the lies, exaggerations, and half truths people engage in everyday, and if you think I’m not including myself in this equation, then you’ve never heard the adage that states: “All theory is autobiographical”.
I’m astounded by the delusional view that most people have of themselves. No normal person would admit that they’re flawless, but most people deny every seemingly inconsequential flaw you point out. Their pyramid of self is devoid of the flaws you see.
Have you ever been called out on a memory? Have you ever had a group of people corroborate to correct your memory of an incident? Have you ever done something bad that you incidentally whitewashed with qualifiers regarding your role in that formative incident? Have you ever whitewashed it so thoroughly that you actually believed your interpretation of the event? Chances are the memory that you’ve constructed of these incidents has involved some incidental creative writing. Chances are that the finished product that you believe you are today is built on a foundation of these illusions and delusions regarding your memory of who you are today. Chances are you have no idea how you got to the point you so confidently believe you achieved with your individualistic approach to life. Chances are you are now a confluence of select memories, influences, and interactions of your life. Chances are that the person you are today is also inordinately influenced by the shows you’ve watched and the commercials you’ve seen that project this ideal image you have of yourself. Chances are that you became a certain individual based on peer pressure, be that pressure from family, friends, or the society as a whole. Chances are that when you tried your hand at rebellion, your parents told you to act right, and you did … eventually and accidentally, until the person you are today is a product has some degree of acclimation to their wishes. Chances are at one point, you became an adult, and every action you engaged in was in direct opposition to everything your parents stood for. Chances are, as you worked your way through life, and encountered the failure that every adult experiences in life, you realized that your parents weren’t so idiotic.
Young people, in their teens and twenties know that their parents are idiots. When they reach their thirties, they begin to believe that their parents were not only more right than they ever believed, but somewhat prophetic. When they reach their forties, they begin to believe their parents were idiots again.” –unknown source.
Chances are when you gained full control of your life, free from most or all parental influence, you began to consider yourself an independent mind, and a free-thinking individual. Chances are you have never been as ‘in control’ of your line of thought as you believed. Chances are you went from the parental, professorial influences to your culture’s influences, and your favorite politician’s influence, and your favorite star’s influence, and your boss, your landlord, your neighbors, and your desk mate’s influence. Chances are you have never been as in control as you thought.
Why do people seek counseling? There are probably a multitude of answers for this, but I think one of the most prominent is that at some point those that seek counseling realize that they no longer know enough about themselves to know who they are, or how they got into the situation that they currently find so troubling.
Whether or not you’re one that has actually sought out professional advice, you have surely reached some point of chaos that you know you need some sort of outside advice. Why? You are a seemingly normal forty-something male that has lived a relatively normal American life, why do you need someone to tell you where you may have gone awry? Why can’t you just fix it? Is it possible that, at some point in your life, you lost track of something vital? Is it possible that you have created a version of yourself that is so clouded with these positive illusions and delusions that you created to keep you happy that you lost sight of who you are to a point where you need an outsider to comment on your character in a way that helps you through this dilemma?
It’s a biological function indigenous to the brain to distills our horrific memories and bad choices out for better mental health. This function matches, in some ways, the biological function of the liver distilling impurities to protect the body. Those of us that need counseling, need to get to a truth that we’ve lost sight of in the midst of the cloud of positive beliefs, and happy thoughts, until we reach a point where we’ve become so convinced of these beliefs we have of ourselves that we need a professional to take our hands and walk us through the dark forests we’ve hidden so far back in our minds that we can no longer find them ourselves.
Slaughtering the sacred cows that slaughter sacred cows
In my blogs, I attack the sacred cows that have been slaughtering sacred cows for so long that they, themselves, have become sacred cows. Somewhere along the timeline, these sacred cows achieved sacred cow status by the glitterati, and they are no longer attacked. I consider it my mission to locate these people and filet them for your pleasure.
I Google therefore I am
It is the goal of the writer at Rilaly.com to always write in crisp, clear Hemingway sentences. I would love for people to compare me to Hemingway in this manner, but unfortunately I am not him.
If brevity is the soul of wit, in other words, then I am probably not very funny. I try to avoid big words and complicated paragraphs, but there are times when I cannot convey a thought properly without their use. That may speak of my writing skills, or it may say that I try to remain so attuned to the reader that I spell things out more than is required.
There is a character in one of my novels that is nicknamed Google. He is called Google, as opposed to Cliff Clavin, because he gives short answers to the debates going on around him. Google’s goal is to entertain with information, as opposed to the Cliff Clavin approach of proving to others that he is more intelligent than them…in a humorously tedious manner. Google winces when he sees others grow fatigued with his wisdom, and he shuts up when he sees others grow angry with the idea that he’s showing them up with his knowledge. Google is not intelligent in the manner Abraham Lincoln was. Google cannot quote Shakespeare or the Bible. Google has never read Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, or Chekhov, and he does not know what William Henry Harrison said from behind the podium on the fateful day of his inauguration. He only knows that WHH died one month after becoming president. Google is intelligent in the new definition of intelligence. He knows the Bruce Willis videography backward and forward, he knows everything there is to know about the romantic life of Paris Hilton. He is a football who knows who type of guy, and he knows just enough history to participate (as opposed to dominate) in those discussions, but he doesn’t consider any of these displays arrogant, because he’s never made a dime off his intelligence. It’s harmless, non-threatening supercilious intelligence that everybody kind of likes. He learned that people don’t like a mister smarty pants, know it all type, so he toned it down and learned to conceal his intelligence so that others would think him cool
You Gotta Keep ‘em Separated
I am a fiction writer, but I also write about things that go thump in the day. In other words, my fiction is completely free of politics, but I can also write about politics. Early on in my writing career, I conflated the two. I was a new student to the world of politics, and I was anxious to convey to the world that I knew something about politics. After reading other idiotic, HIGH profile authors write political passages into their fiction, with the idea that they knew what they were talking about, I realized how idiotic they looked. They knew what they knew, but they knew how to frame what they wrote better than most, so they framed their lack of intelligence in a manner that made them appear intelligent. To one that knows about framing, however, these HIGH profile authors appeared tedious and self-indulgent when all the framing was stripped away. These sophmoric, self-indulgent soliloquies taught me that story is sacred. I realized that I would have to divide the Rilaly enterprise into two separate and distinct worlds. And never the two shall meet, I decided from that point forward.
I also love music and other entertainment vehicles, and so did my characters. My character even liked the music I did. “Enough,” I said, after review number 1,144. Rilaly would be divided into three separate and distinct universes. If I liked a song, an album, a movie, or what have you, I would write reviews on Amazon.com. I would not put them in my fiction. I learned the principle the esteemed rock band Offspring was trying to teach the world when they sang: “You gotta keep ‘em separated.”
The Fiction My works of fiction can be found at:
The greatest fiction in the world is the fiction that makes you uncomfortable. It’s a bunch of words put together to make you question everything you hold dear. A really good writer will help you understand humanity better by taking you to places where you wouldn’t otherwise go. There are exceptions, of course. There are some that depict suffering gratuitously, because readers love to read about fellow humans suffering, but in the right hands we can understand the psychology of suffering, and pain, and evil by living in a little contrast.
I am not a violent person, but I explore the violent side of humanity. It’s the side of humanity that I don’t know. It’s the side of humanity that I hope I never experience. It’s the side of humanity that I continue to be naively squeamish about. I’ve never known a lunatic with a violent streak, and I hope I never do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t fascinate me. I write dark fiction that can be violent. My stories are usually infiltrated by obnoxious characters, but I usually have one central character that is above the fray. My writing follows the philosophical approach of the television show Taxi in that regard. It’s my belief that you have to have one normal person among the lunatics to comment on and define the lunatics better. If every character is obnoxious, it can be chaotic and less enjoyable. The writer needs persepctive as much as the reader does.
I also don’t think that everything should work out in the end. This has been seen as a detriment to my fiction, because people want to see people happy at the end of the day. They want everything to work out at the end. They don’t mind conflict, and violence, and mayhem, but they want eveyone to hug and kiss at the end of the day. Life doesn’t always work out that way. Some of the times, the bad guy gets his way, and sometimes he gets away with it all.
The Servants of Silence is a series of pieces I’ve put together to examine those that surround me. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Most complex psycholigical concepts are foreign to me when they are framed in the theoretical. When it turns out that my friend, Joe Sample suffers from theoretical concept number 143, I can understand it a little better when I examine it through him. Most people don’t fascinate me. They’ve spent their lives trying so hard to be normal that they’ve learned how to conceal their eccentricities. Some of the times, they wear short skirts, and we can see all the way to Louisiana, but most of the times they keep it all in check, so that we’ll move on with a yawn. There are others that either can’t or don’t conceal their fundamental flaw, because no one had judged them, and they’re the ones we’ve talk about here. They’re the ones that illustrate what is normal by comparative analysis, and they’re the ones that teach us what a boring place this world would be without comparative analysis.
There used to be a gameshow called the 10,000 (to 100,000) dollar Pyramid. When watching this show from the comfort of our home, we were afforded the luxury of knowing the answer the celebrity tried to clue the contestant to. (In the latter days of the show, it was important to all concerned that the celebrity be perceived as the intelligent one.) We enjoyed this show, because we were allowed to watch it from the perspective of the intelligent celebrity. It made us feel extremely intelligent to mentally scream the answer at our TV sets. “How could the moron not get that clue?” we said to our wives. “That clue was so obvious. What are they stupid?” We grew so frustrated with the anonymous contestant that we began enjoying the frustration, because it made us feel smarter.
Most authors write from that perspective. They fill in the blanks for you, and when the joke is pulled on the idiotic side character, we get to laugh at him from a compassionate, informed angle. We get to feel one with the intelligent, main character. We get to scoff with them, and this makes us feel better about ourselves.
Accidental humor is what happens when your main character doesn’t know everything. It confuses the reader, because they’re so used to being patronized and placated. We’re so used to this, that if a story, or joke, is not explicitly laid out for us, we have to reread all the passages that led to the punch line.
One of the reasons that the short-lived television series “Awake” didn’t make it, in my opinion, is that it employed this ethos in dramatic form. In this series, the main character wasn’t aware of all of the dualities that existed around him. He gave all the details of his investigation to his captain. His captain was the bad guy, and we knew she was. He didn’t. He didn’t even suspect her. He continued to think she was just his captain. Even though I crave this type of material, I was screaming at the TV too. Why is he telling her everything? She’s the suspect, and he doesn’t even suspect it. It was killing me. When is he going to figure it out? (I’m guessing that the treatment for this show was presented to a number of high profile stars, but that they all passed on it, because they didn’t want the viewing audience to perceive them as an idiot that couldn’t figure that the captain was the bad guy.) The main character doesn’t figure out what’s going on for an uncomfortable amount of time. The audience figures it out about halfway through the first season. He doesn’t find out until one of the final episode. He’s such a smart investigator that he can figure out all kinds of crimes, but he can’t see what’s right in front of him. We’re incredulous. Not only do I find this plausible, it’s entertaining as hell to those of us that were sick of being spoonfed all these years but didn’t recognize it for what it was until someone finally said something different.
I’ve tried very hard to hide my influences in my work, but some of the times that’s just plain impossible. John Irving, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Raymond Carver, Larry David, David Bowie, Mike Patton, and Ayn Rand influenced me. That is a few of them. If it was a comprehensive list, you would be scrolling down right now, and you would be gone…by…NOW!
I like to swear, and I like to get weird.
I like to see people get hurt on television…in fictional formats, and I like to swear.
I like to rebel, and if you’re going to rebel properly it doesn’t matter what you rebel against as long as you’re rebelling. Those that think that we have to learn the ways of the world, and succeed within it based on those rules, don’t know how to live.
A friend rebelled on me once, and she probably thought she got a lot of points doing it. It was mindless, juvenile rebellion. I knew what she was doing. I knew that I was the product of her rebellion. She probably conceals the fact that she loathes some of my traditional thoughts. She probably can’t wait to define herself on my back. It suprised me that I didn’t care. I used to be the rebel, now I’m the vanguard of traditional thought to, at least, one person. She’s rock and roll when compared to me. I’m probably polka to her.
There was a time when I thought Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garrett were the Zeus and Apollo of the entertainment world. I did not list them in a particular order. There was a time when Leif was on CHIPs. You would’ve thought I made a percentage of the appearance fee. I didn’t scream, but if my manly friends saw the way I acted, they would’ve forever questioned my sexual orientation. The fact that I was seven at the time wouldn’t have mattered.
Then there was Davey Jones on the Brady Bunch. I didn’t like the way Davey Jones smiled and shook his hair when he sang. I now demand that the singers I listen to maintain placid expressions or snarl and dress arty when they are photographed and filmed.
David Bowie’s real name is David Jones, but due to the fact that the Monkies singer beat him to the business, Bowie had to change his name. Great choice by the way. I didn’t care for the nickname Zowie you gave your son though David. That was a bit much. It was either that, or Frank Zappa naming his kids Moon and Dweezil, that started the trend of celebrities giving their kids stupid names. That trend provided a link (albeit circuitous) to Iran attempting to obtain enriched Uranium and yellow cake and the eventuality of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nearing nuclear capability. Not many people know that. Nostradamus predicted it in his fifty first quatrain. The quatrain is little difficult to read, seeing as how it is in Old French, but it roughly translates to…”And a singer of a group called Coldplay will reproduce with an actress of phenomenal range named Gwyneth Paltrow, and the result of that act will be a child, and that child will be named Apple henceforth.” The scarier parts, and the parts we may not know about for many a year, occur in quatrains fifty-seven through fifty-nine. “Apple Martin Paltrow will become the much talked about twelfth imam, and she will initiate, in all of her furious glory, the final move to destroy America, Israel and the influence of the Western powers in their epicenter.” David Bowie and Zappa are to blame for this, and no one will call them out because they are/were elitist celebrities with different colored eyes and weird teeth and poodle hair respectively.
As impersonal as possible
For years now, I have attempted to write blogs that are as impersonal as possible. Even those few blogs that were about me have been told in a third person, ‘I’ character. This allowed the creator a little distance from the ‘I’ character, so that the stories were more story-oriented than Oprah style testimonials. People don’t want distance though, say those that engage in sales. They want to see that you’re a humble and self-effacing character. You could have the best car on the lot, say some salesmen, and if the customer thinks you’re slimy, or an impersonal son of a buck, they’ll walk on you. They want to hear little anecdotes like: “My wife loves this car. I may not have done much right by her,” you say with a humble, self-effacing smile, “but getting this car for her was the one thing I did do right.” With that in mind, I decided to have a grand opening of Rilaly.com. It may be 540 posts late, but I’d like to welcome you to the showroom. We have some unbelievable models to show you. Some of them have just rolled right off the line. They’ve never been driven, except by a little old lady that kept impeccable records of everything she’s had done. Take a look around, and I’ll be glad to tell you a little about each model. We’ll see if we have something that might suit you.
The Weird and the Political
The political posts on this site are not weird, unless you consider someone being a conservative Republican, in today’s day and age, weird. Most people seeking the weird would have a difficult time believing that a fellow weird one would be a conservative Republican, but in my family it was considered weird to believe that Ronald Reagan was a better president than John F. Kennedy. I was born in the Midwest and into a Roman Catholic home of Democrats. Both sides of my family are littered with Kennedy and Roosevelt Democrats. I grew up in a home filled with pictures of two men: Jesus Christ and John F. Kennedy. My dad didn’t put the two men on the same level, but it was close.
I’m also a conservative, that happens to also be a Republican, because I am an individualist. If you’re looking for more details on the term individualism and the Republican Party all I’ll write here is read the blogs, it’s all in there. Suffice it to say that the brand of individualism the Republican party sells, appeals to my defintion.
I’ve seen movies where a family of hoity toity elitists sit around sipping tea all dressed in white. Someone has a monocle, the ladies always wear hats, and they speak and laugh the way Scooby Doo bad guys speak and laugh. A young person stands up amidst these awful, out of touch, rich A wholes, and says, “I’ve decided to be a Democrat.” At that point, one member of the hoity toity drops a saucer, and the rest of this family of Scooby Doo bad guys stares at this renegade with open-mouthed awe. In making such a proclamation, this young man has achieved renegade status in the movie, and we were all supposed to be in awe of him standing against the “rich” family tradition. This sort of happened in my family. There was no saucer dropped, and there were no silent stares from monocled bad guys dressed in white, but that renegade statement, that I was going to be a Republican, was made. I also said that I thought the Democrat party was wr-r-r-r-ong about some matters. This “moment” occurred over time and in numerous arguments.
In the general philosophy arena, my dad was big on appreciation. It wasn’t a ‘please and thank you’ form of appreciation, so much as it was an appreciation one showed for nouns (people, places, and things). If someone offered to help you, my Dad got on you to show them some form of appreciation for their efforts. You should offer them a beer, offer them payment for services rendered, and you should always ALWAYS do most of the work.
When you’re out camping, you should say something like “this is the life” to show your appreciation for nature. You can fish, cut down a forest, or hunt until the population of deer is cut in half, but if you say something symbolic about enjoying life, you’re appreciating nature.
When you’re done with whatever you’re doing, you should show care for those products that took you there. Clean the campgrounds, clean your tools and put them away, then store those products in an particular fashion, until they attract spider webs, rust, mouse turds, and any other forms of rot that clutter gathers. When my Dad passed away, he had a stack of funeral cards that would stack as high as my never-read copy of War and Peace. He had Christmas cards, and all of the other forms of special occasion cards Hallmark sells that people had sent him. This was Dad’s symbolic way of showing appreciation for the nouns that surrounded him.
If you’ve made it this far, you are looking for that connection, and I do want to take a moment and say thank you for being such a loyal reader. As my dad would say, this is largely unnecessary seeing as how you’ve done so much work to achieve some sort of appreciation, but a nice thank you here and there can provide one a general sense of appreciation.