From the very beginning, some six or seven years ago, I have made occasional reference to the “dispassionate but logical space alien living in our laundry room,” some kind of intelligent being capable of rational thought but entirely unacquainted with our culture, who is forced by circumstances to grapple with our customs by way of inductive and deductive reasoning instead of by gradually acclimating to them the way we do. I am not the first to ponder this by any means…well-known television shows have been doing it for years, for example, My Favorite Martian, I Dream of Jeannie, Mork & Mindy, Captain Caveman.
The idea is the same: We do not make enough sense to be explained. If someone stumbles across us and is forced to figure us out, as opposed to becoming gradually accustomed to us year by year, as we do when we interact from within — hilarity and hijinks ensue. This is worth commenting-upon, because the inexplicable goes well beyond the merely strange. Wearing wooden shoes is strange, but not inexplicable; I say “In Holland they used to carve shoes out of wood, because they have a lot of mud.” End of story. Makes sense. Strange but logical.
Not only are we beyond that, but some kind of acceleration seems to be taking place.
Posted by me on the Hello Kitty of Blogging (membership probably required for following the link):
Maybe, just to clear up my own thoughts about what’s going on in this culture & society we’ve got going, I should conduct a regular mental exercise just a few times per year, of: “If I were a caveman or ancient who was thawed out from a block of ice right now, or an alien who crashed on Earth right now, left to my own logical reasoning about what the rules must be, what would I conclude…”
On 6/20/12 it seems to be: First and foremost, we’ve got to make the women do things right. They can be pretty or they can have real power, but they can’t have both. Pretty women anchor the news on Fox, and that is all they can do. If they run for President or if they become Secretary of State, the rule is, no sane straight man should ever want to see them naked. If they have hair, they have to bowl-cut it or otherwise hide it.
Also, all women in movies with speaking lines, have to be played by Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Milla Jovovich, or someone else with a super-Americanized accent who weights a hundred pounds soaking wet.
Men, on the other hand, can be ugly trolls or cutie pies. They can have as much power as they want. Nobody cares.
Next: Money. Oh, where to begin with the money. Money is what people need in order to live…but not necessarily…nobody should have too much of it UNLESS — oh, this is tricky. Well, obviously if you’re George Soros or Warren Buffett you can have as much as you want and there’s no outrage. So it’s got something to do with being a proponent of higher tax rates, but you’re not required to actually *pay* the higher tax, you just have to vocally want to. Also, comedians and actors. If your name is well-known, it is just assumed that you should be worth a whole lot of money and this is somehow okay. Nobody else can have too much money, especially if they’re white, male, Republican, and running for President. But, while nobody else is allowed to have too much money, at the same time we’re all still required to give the money away, to help support those who never both to work for it.
If you graduate from college and find your skills aren’t worth a damn, it’s everybody else’s fault and you should “occupy” something. This has something to do with camping. And yelling. Camping and yelling, yelling and camping.
Businesses that need to advertise their products and services, to compel consumers to spend this money (they’re not allowed to have) on said products/services, should not talk about the decision to spend the money on the products/services…instead, they should talk about “going green,” supporting gay marriage, and “standing with the 99%” which has something to do with occupying. More than half the stuff advertised, I see, has something to do with green, gay, and occupying. So advertising, therefore, must have something to do with reciting a bunch of homilies about things, then people will buy your product with the money they’re not allowed to have — to find out what it does, or something.
Which brings me to the cars. Oh, Lordy, the cars, the cars. It is illegal and quite frowned-upon to use your phone while you’re driving…which is why everyone is doing it?? Everyone is complaining, with some justification, that there’s never enough room to park. It seems the cars are newer than the garages and parking spaces — people buying new cars with this money they’re not allowed to have too much of — and sometime in the last ten years, it has been popular to build, sell and buy really big cars. People are not in a hurry when they walk across the parking lot, but somehow once they climb the folding stepladder into these really huge cars and gun up the many, many horsepower in the engine of that lethal weapon, they act as if it’s their job to race across town and defuse a fucking nuclear bomb. While talking on the phone.
We have a separation-of-powers in our government and we hold our leaders to account. But you’re not allowed to ask them any questions.
We have separation of church and state. We’re pretty funny about this particular thing. We voted in our current President because He’s some kind of deity or something…whenever His face is on the cover of a magazine, there’s a digitally manufactured halo around His head so we can all remember He’s divine or some such thing, just like the dictator of any ol’ communist regime. The Supreme Court can rule that this school is, and that school is not, allowed to display the Ten Commandments. While displaying the Ten Commandments.
Radical Muslims can display whatever they want, whenever they want.
I am not to conclude this is because the radical Islamists are ready, willing and able to kill to advance their cause, and people are reacting out of fear…but…truth be told, I haven’t found any other explanation for the double standard.
Buying a gun is a surreal experience. I’m only allowed to buy certain brands and certain models. This is for safety reasons…I guess the kinds of guns I’m allowed to buy, won’t hurt anybody? Well, *that* certainly isn’t true. Nobody’s able to explain this. By which I mean, yes there are explanations, but the explanations all have to do with what someone else did, or thought, or said. Or signed. Nobody, anywhere, can produce the actual rationale.
Teachers are not allowed to teach kids. Spanking the kids when they’re out of line, yelling at the kids when they’re out of line, making the kids feel bad in any way when they’re out of line, this is not allowed. So the kids are expected to *decide*, as if they’re little adults, to follow the rules and absorb the lessons. If they don’t, then that’s a “learning disability” and they’re removed from the class. The only kids who can be mainstreamed, therefore, are what were called “apple polishers” and “brown nosers” back when I was frozen in that block of ice.
Even among their number, some have to be medicated to pay attention. After thirty seconds of the teacher’s lecture, they find it a bit tough. Huh, so did I, but nobody medicated me. Meanwhile, the curtain-climbers can play an online video game for ten hours straight, no problem.
I don’t know what to make of the illegal immigration thing, and I’ve pretty much given up on trying to figure it out. Apparently, it’s against the law, but it’s also against the law to enforce the law against this. In any way whatsoever, I mean. You can’t deport, you can’t ask for papers, you can’t put a law on the books that would require deportation or asking for papers, or would merely allow it…
You need to present photo ID to attend the First Lady’s book signing. But if you’re required to present photo ID before you can vote, that would be racist.
Come to think of it, I’m still working on figuring out what “racist” means. I suspect I’ve been mistaken for a long time on the real meaning of this word…seems to be sort of a “wildcard” word people pull out when they think they’re losing an argument.
This strange society seems to be some kind of “protest-ocracy,” by which I mean, when people think they’re part of the majority and they’re laboring under the tyranny of the minority they start protesting…then they insist on a vote…but there was this guy named Scott Walker who was supposed to have been recalled from office in a vote, and it turned out the “majority” was just a loud obnoxious minority, they got trampled when the matter was put to a vote. THEN they started whining like they were victimized somehow…for what reason, I do not know…and crying. Literally, crying. Oh, that’s another thing. The thing we used to call “manhood,” it’s in deep, deep trouble right now.
That last is a reference to the infamous Minnesota Mike interview:
As a possible explanation for what is happening, I linked the excellent Scott Adams blog entry about Creativity. Summary: Our brains require a certain amount of boredom just as a plant requires water, and thanks to these mobile devices we’re just not getting it. Creativity is a casualty of that.
Well, another thing that is sustained by boredom is the natural ability that goes along with being bored: Focus and alertness. This is why I sometimes call my son’s generation the “Not a single lifeguard worth a damn” generation. The specific talent that is being lost to the ages, is watching something…waiting for an event…and responding to the event with a behavior that is well organized and speedy. Kids can’t do that. There isn’t a lifeguard worth a damn under forty, or if there is then he’s a dying breed.
Nobody’s waiting for anything to happen; nobody’s ready for something to happen. Text, text, text, text.
Well, that could be part of it.
But I think another part of it is — and this does have overlap, certainly it has something to do with lifeguarding — we have become estranged from the idea of having a meaningful effect upon the outcome by way of an autonomous, individual decision & action. People still register the thought that something is taking place they don’t like; disliking comes easy. But it seems organizing some kind of protest, has become the default answer, and this is not overruled in favor of a different answer even in situations in which it promises very little benefit, and isn’t the least bit appropriate. The above-mentioned graduating from college and finding out you don’t have any skills that are worth a damn, for example. The youngsters start “occupying.”
That’s an underpants-gnome plan like nothing else is, you know. Step 1: We occupy! Step 2: ??????? Step 3: Jobs! (Or money or something.)
And, as I also noted above, manhood is suffering. Perhaps there’s a direct cause-and-effect relationship going on. Or perhaps there is a spurious relationship.
Perhaps it’s all explained by what I jotted down four years ago.
Perhaps it is getting better, but it might be getting worse. I have hope that it’s getting better. I’m afraid that might not be the case…
However, I do think it’s a self-correcting problem, whichever side of the slope we happen to be, er, occupying at the present time. I think it’s got something to do with lack of life’s-exigencies; I think our problem-solving skills are deteriorating, because the occasions that genuinely demand our deployment of these skills, are becoming infrequent. My hope is, this becomes a self-correcting problem because of the Stein Rule: That which cannot continue forever, won’t.
If your problem-solving skills are in a state of continual deterioration, you are going to have more problems, and the problems will endure — to the point where you’re going to have to nut up, and start re-fortifying your problem-solving skills. Then there will be some kind of reversal. Starting with, it’s okay for people to be rich and hang on to their money even if they’re not spoiled brat Hollywood actors…maybe continuing right up until it’s alright for America to have a female Secretary of State who looks as good in hot pants as Sarah Palin. Or, maybe the ugly women have to continue their irrational and unexplainable generations-long monopoly on powerful positions, but at least, some of the other stuff gets fixed. Maybe, given that we’re supposed to have a secular government, or a denomination-neutral one, we stop voting in phony deities. And grown men stop crying on live television…or at least, don’t brag about it openly while the mic is still on. We get rid of this notion of “safe guns.” Those would be good ones to fix.
The gun thing worries me most of all. By the time you actually get to the range, it is very important that anyone who so much as touches a gun, have a good, realistic idea of what is actually likely to cause a mishap, so they can avoid it. That’s, like, Rule Number One. Well, we’ve got these people running around thinking it’s the device, not the human behind it, causing all the trouble…and they’re making the fucking rules. When common sense says, their misconception is so great, and fails such basic competency tests, that it should disqualify them from entering the front gate of said range. If we have to fix one before we fix any of the others, I’d vote for that one. I can wait awhile longer for the woman who has real power & fantastic looking legs. Let’s stop people from getting hurt & killed first.
Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.