Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Memes that need to be killed with fire (first of a possible ongoing series):


Today, (probably not saying this for the first time or the last here), as per thejadedhippy's example (Rainn Wilson in this case, I guess):

"O hai! I seem to have offended some people! Oh, look, lots and lots of people, now! All kinds of people! Many of them in groups considered marginalized! Some so marginalized I heretofore barely even tweaked their existence, except as a punchline! People are talking loudly and waving their hands in my general direction with angry faces! I am OFFENSIVE. Offensive means SPECIAL. I must be doing something right.

(Please note that the hoary phrase "politically correct" does not even need to be introduced at this juncture).

Basically, besides acting as a convenient cover for good ol' fashioned bigotry much of the time, this attitude is the American (among others, but especially) ideal of Bold Individualism** reduced and distilled until its most striking resemblance is to a puddle of dog piss on the carpet.

"Look! I marked my territory! Woof woof woof! Oh--people waving and making shouty noises. I think I might have done something Bad. Unfortunately I can't remember -why- it was bad, and they're still shouting. Meanwhile: hey, attention! Maybe bad is -good-! I don't like people being mad at me, but gosh, I -like- attention! Woof! Hey, they're shouting some more! This is kind of fun! BARK! BARK BARK BARK WOOF WOOF..."

Meanwhile, of course, the increasingly exasperated Wavy Shouty People alternate between ignoring, indulging, trying reward-discipline behavior and simply striking out with a rolled up newspaper when sufficiently aggravated.

No, I don't have any better ideas at this juncture either, I'm afraid. It'd be nice if non-canine people whose brains in reality probably -aren't- really the size of a walnut would stop acting that way, is all I know. Eh.

I mean, it's not that I don't even get the temptation to just, well, be an asshole. It's fun! It's easy! And it's the Amurrican Way!

What it -isn't- is particularly difficult or even entertaining most of the time. Most people aren't Lenny Bruce or even Dennis Leary. They're just, well? Assholes. We've all got 'em. Not uncommon, the asshole.

**I probably use this quote way too much, but:

But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

--Carl Sagan


Substitute "iconoclast" for "genius" and you pretty much have the mentality.


20 comments:

GallingGalla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GallingGalla said...

[vid linked is rather violent]

this vid well expresses how i feel about fucking assholes like this.

Jenny said...

Well damn, and I thought his numbers for men bit on Tim and Eric was awesome. That's a damn poor choice of words.

Jenny said...

And it just gets more headache inducing, Letterman makes a crude remark about Sarah Palin: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/09/sarah-palin-letterman-pre_n_213456.html

whatsername said...

I have a hard time with this in theory because sometimes, oh sometimes, it's really fun to offend someone.

Like especially racist, sexist, homophobic, prudish bigots and such like, you know?

The kind of people us just having a normal conversation about the state of the world today would make just flip the fuck out.

So sometimes I wonder how much better I really am? But I guess the difference is in who we are offending, is it not? I pick on those in power, he's not doing that so much right here.

But sometimes I dunno...

SnowdropExplodes said...

I think it's always a good rule of thumb to consider the statement "comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable". If you're doing that with your mockery and "offensiveness" then I think you're alright.

If you're afflicting the already-afflicted, and they say so, then maybe it's time to stop.

belledame222 said...

SDE: well put.

whatsername: yeah, on which note, certainly not advocating being nicey-nice all the time. Just, nine times out of ten, ime, people who go out of their way to be offensive solely or primarily to be offensive for its own sake, and/or only cop to the "yeah, I knew it was going to be offensive, go me yeah" after people squawk at 'em...are either a) afflicting the afflicted & comforting the comfotable b) just basically getting off on nonconsensual exhibitionism/sadism c) both.

Like I think Lenny Bruce wasn't actually just being offensive for the sake of it, I think he was actually trying to get at something that wasn't being gotten at, much, at the time.

I think Sascha Baron Cohen makes both the comfortable and the afflicted uncomfortable; mostly I just think he's kind of a misanthropic jerk. but at least he's a -creative- and talented misanthropic jerk, which is more than you can say for most of the shock jocks and garden-variety assholes out there.

belledame222 said...

and, sure, it's a matter of taste. I think Jon Stewart and Colbert are hilarious. I imagine the people who are the subjects of their mockery often -think- they're put upon. People like O'Rly make a cottage industry out of whininess; they're "looking out for the little guy," right? Very few people cop to pure unalloyed sadistic joy, outside of "Heathers." shrug.

belledame222 said...

GG: um...yeah, that's...violent all right.

interestingly enough it seems to be viewed by both the vid poster and some of the commenters as fetish porn. ("Hot Asian Girls Beat Down White Guy")

belledame222 said...

btw, welcome, Jenny.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

You have no idea how apropos this post is to something that is going on right the fuck now in one of Comrade PhysioProf's Internet milieus. A bunch of totally privileged comfortable whiny-ass titty-baby motherfuckers pissing and moaning and stamping their feet because it is so "incivil" to have called them out for waving their dicks around and smacking some less privileged people right in the fucking face.

GallingGalla said...

belle, if you want me to delete the comment, i will.

i was in a *mood* last night. sorry.

Nick said...

This post reminded me of a George Bernard Shaw quote...

"The key to success, is to offend the greater number of people"

http://www.whatwouldsatando.com/Newpages/quotes.html

Um you can ignore the association of Shaw with Satan part. I don't endorse the quote's content anyhow.

I take issue with the association of "bold individualism" with being unnecessarily offensive. If your self-esteem is dependent on others paying so much attention to you, then it's doubtful whether or not you possess a good sense of self-worth. The blowhard Christian conservative punditry stomping on the out groups of American society aren't really individualists. They bow before the altar of their angry sadistic God.

I find you very individualistic, Belle. As in independent minded ( :

Nick said...

Individualism is an ideology more descriptive of a girl coming out in a bigoted cultural environment or some other kind of counter-cultural action. It doesn't take much independent mind to bash the "blacks" or the "gays".

CrackerLilo said...

I'm disappointed, 'cause I like Rainn Wilson on the Office. I had to run see what happened at thejadedhippy's blog. But yeah, I see what you're talking about.

SnowdropExplodes provides a very useful measuring stick, so thank you for that. Sometimes I find that I'll intentionally try to be offensive to people who bother me. (Lately I've done this a lot at racing and hockey forums--I find the casual homophobia bandied around in some of those places to be a real fun-killer, and my favorite NHL player and race car driver both attract a huge share of it. I mostly get thanked in private e-mails when I confront it, actually.) I *think* I mostly afflict the comfortable and stand up for the afflicted. I hope.

The Carl Sagan quote really applies here!

And I hope this does become a series.

Nick said...

Like your list of interests! Cracker Lilo ( :

Afflicting the oppressors is a more apt conceptual framework. I am the potentially trans son of a labor lawyer. I've got a college fund that earns interest. There are people who are comfortable in a certain context who aren't evil per se.

Talkin about the culturally comfortable who spit on the downtrodden as an "inferior" social class. That's another story altogether...

Alon Levy said...

Just remember that political correctness began as a joke among left-wing activists about pseudo-liberals who pull punches with their descriptions of social problems. The conservative takeover of that term to mean "Not being racist or sexist" is more recent.

Nick said...

Some people say political correctness originated in the Soviet Union...

Weird times!

Anonymous said...

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