Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me!

Don’t get your panties in a twist over the title.  I’m not saying “fuck you” personally.  I’m talkin’ ’bout the gubment. And it’s a catchy song lyric.



I don’t like to admit this, but pack mentality goes both ways. My problem with conservative political thought is that it often tries to police how I behave and even think, like that persistent and archaic family values shit. Don’t tell me what constitutes a family.  

It's not just conservatives, though. Libs do it too. I just happen to agree with them more often than not, but that doesn’t make it any more okay.

I'm sure most of you saw Cool Hand Luke years ago. If you didn’t, rent it. I saw it a couple weeks ago for like the 20th time, but for the 1st in a theater. It was like stepping back in time - not the movie; the presentation. The movie’s anti-establishment themes, in fact, are still quite relevant today.

Luke wasn't a sheep in anyone's herd. He refused to be bound by both mainstream society's and the prison hierarchy’s rules. He was uncompromisingly his own man, even to his demise. The second you thought you had figured out whose side he was on, he made it clear he wasn’t on anyone’s side who wanted to impose a bunch of rules aimed at thought control and nonviolent behavior.

If I'm trying to aspire to some way of thinking, I suppose it's along those lines, minus the total self destruction. Always think for myself and ask questions. But it's easy to question stuff with which you already disagree. 

Take that Stanford rape sentence. I know, it’s dead now and we’ve moved on to gun control and immigration and British exit. Sue me; I can’t keep up. Oh, and I’m not writing “Brexit,” except to write that I’m not writing it. I only like made up words that I made up. If someone else made it up, it’s stupid. Ayababa!

Anyway, I hate rapists and I want their dicks cut off. I vehemently disagree with a six-month sentence for a rapist. Of course I question that. It already goes against what I believe. 

What about stuff with which you agree? I'm trying to also ask questions of these assumptions and innate preferences. That’s infinitely harder to do. 

Much of the news and social media dialogue surrounding that case had little to do with the facts. According to the liberal media, with whom I side more often than not, if you don't follow in lockstep with the prevailing outrage, you're "defending a rapist." No, I'm not.  I’m outraged too, but I'm defending the facts.  

Here’s a fact. Whatever was going on that night, two men stopped it from going further. Maybe not all men are bad apples.  

What if much of the discourse wasn’t even really to do with rape anyway? While I’m on this theme of sheep and herds, what if the dialogue represented a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Too many damned animal references, and now we’re all confused!  

Here’s what I mean. When I really look at it, it seems like the rape discussion was just more thought control - thought control I want to agree with - but thought control nonetheless. No, no one was shoving that stupid family values crap down my throat or any other conservative platform, but they were pushing an agenda. Make no mistake about that. In the end, it wasn’t so much about the facts as it was about twisting them and telling me how to think and behave, right down to the now famous but deceptive headline.

A steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action: Dad defends Stanford sex offender

When I read "20 minutes of action" in the headline, I'm thinking, for a second anyway, of "action" as the common euphemism for sex it is sometimes used as. “Action” as used in the letter isn’t much better, but it also clearly does not carry the horrific meaning insinuated by the headline. In the letter, the father didn’t mean “action” as another word for sex. He was referring to behavior or decision-making. 

Maybe I even knew this on some level all along and wasn’t quite as sucked in by that headline as I’m insinuating, but you can bet plenty of people took exactly the wrong meaning the headline implied. The author wouldn’t have written it that way if he didn’t think there’d be gullible people who would fall for it. 

Smarmy little bastard. Aren’t you so fucking clever? Ah, I can write a little too, and you’re not such a dazzling wordsmith with your pen jammed through your windpipe. Actually, words seem to be failing you right now, but I do hear the air hissing out of your lungs. 

Meh. You deserve it. Shouldn’t have tried to fool everyone in the midst of such a heated debate, especially when you had plenty of good material right at your fingertips to hang both father and son without resorting to tricks. Save that cutesy shit for a humor piece.

For a guy who supports gun control, I sure am violent. Oh well. I just get fired up when I hear bullshit like that.

Here’s the full quote from the letter.

That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.

If you don’t see the difference there, then we just don’t see eye to eye. Ah hell, let’s be honest. It’s not just that we don’t see eye to eye like, you know, some gentlemanly disagreement. You’re really just stupid if you don’t see how that headline was manipulative.

I’m not surprised. Oh, I’m surprised at extreme stupidity, but I’m not surprised at blatant attempts to manipulate. Obviously, liberals aren’t immune from taking things too far, either. Just like conservatives, they’re prone to hyperbole to subtly coerce agreement.  

You never know when some son of a bitch is going to try to tell you how to think, even if they disguise it as simply agreeing with you.

The current gun mess is another good example. I fucking hate most guns apart from a hunting rifle or shotgun. I just felt the earth shake as all my fat lifter friends collectively passed out and hit the floor in unision. Y’all aren’t really fat; I was probably projecting. But it’s true about the guns, and I can’t help it. I y’am what I y’am.

Concealed carry really burns me up. Pull it motherfucker. You better know how to use it - and most won’t - because I’m not scared and the only thing I’m dying to do is turn it on you.

Anyway, let’s see if we can get back to the facts and get the ole blood pressure back down to normal levels. Since I feel this way about guns, my instinct is to jump up and down on my soapbox and cheer any gun control measure. So when I first heard the other day about some anti-gun legislation (it’s actually bipartisan, so take what you will from that) that would prevent people on certain federal government watch lists from buying guns, my knee jerk reaction was “Fuckin' A! Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em! I don’t really give a shit what you use. Just keep another asshole from getting a gun any way you can.”

Well now hold on a second there. I’m also the same anti-everything guy who certainly opposes having a mud hole stomped in his rights - any excuse to use “mud hole” in a sentence. When I read a little further - thanks, Beau, you big ole mean party pooper - I discovered the ACLU thinks those watch lists aren’t very reliable and “would open the door to arbitrary and discriminatory government action.”

Whoa, Nelly! The ACLU is my friend, dammit. A liberal beacon masquerading in a thin non-partisan veil. Hell, liberal… liberty… whatever… it’s even sort of in the name. 

We’re talking about the same uncompromising defenders of free speech who years ago, in one of my favorite and often referenced noble acts, actually defended a bunch of skinheads’ right to march in a parade. Why on earth was the ACLU defending the skinheads, you ask? They hate the skinheads just like me, silly. But they love free speech just like me. 

So when they were cornered and would have had to compromise their very ideals by refusing to act, they did the right thing and stepped up. Hate the message but defend the messenger’s right to deliver it anyway. Plus, when you think about it, it’s really the only plausible course of action. Your own right to speak freely depends on affording everyone that right.

Enough beating that dead racist. Where was I going with this?

Oh, so the ACLU said using the watch lists to keep people from buying guns wasn’t such a good idea, and they articulated a pretty compelling reason. I like the ACLU anyway, so it’s not hard for me to take notice of that. And it’s a good thing I did, because I was ripe for manipulation here. I want guns off the damned streets - it’s ingrained in my uppity liberal DNA - and I’ll do almost anything to achieve that.

Almost. 

I won’t give the government carte blanche to run rampant over people’s rights. It ain’t worth that. Remember the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program? I barely do. But what I do remember is that it was supposed to be used only to monitor conversations between parties believed to be linked to al-Qaeda. Turns out it was a vast effort to collect and analyze telephone and email communications that had nothing to do with terrorist activity.

The ACLU’s objection to using the watch lists to keep people from buying guns sounds about like the reasons the eavesdropping program was a bad idea. Apparently, those lists are kept secret and offer no process for people incorrectly identified to clear their names. 

Hell, maybe I’m on one of those goddamned lists! My skin is pretty dark. I don’t need big bro breathing down my crazy neck!

Did a liberal just save me from the liberals? I think that’s maybe what happened. Thank God the ACLU isn’t a conservative watchdog, or I probably wouldn’t have listened.  

And therein lies my takeaway from this mess. It has little to do with the actual issues.  Most of us are gonna stand where we stand on any big issue, and there’s rarely anything someone who sees it differently can say to change our minds. 

I didn't even really mean that statement above about how anyone who can't see that the headline in that rape case was manipulative is stupid. Blind maybe, and with no cure, but not stupid.

It's like this. You’re either pro-life or pro-choice. You either support big government programs or you yearn for small government. You’re socially conservative or you’re one of them there degenerate potheads. You’re a gun nut, or you’re a reasonable person (joking... joking... sort of... calm the hell down).

I’ve rarely seen someone change sides on one of these big issues because they had a conversation with some enlightened person and were persuaded to a more informed view. It just doesn’t happen that way. It’s like these big picture views are ingrained in our DNA.

So be it. I surrender. No mas. No more trying to persuade you to see things my way.

I’ll settle for convincing you to see them your way. But I mean really SEE them. 

Political strategists, so-called marketing experts, and media pundits know we run through our days tending to this obligation and that, scrolling our newsfeeds half distracted by the crisis of the moment.  Overworked, dog-tired, and with little patience for a detailed examination of any claim, we're ripe for the picking. They prey on this knowledge by feeding us clever little sound bytes that appeal to our emotions or just sound logical.

Wise up to these assholes. Be vigilant when someone, anyone, spouts an opinion like it’s a fact. Take nothing for granted. Assume nothing. 

Demand to see the statistics that bear out some reasonable-sounding claim that may actually be total nonsense when you delve deeper. Don't be too quick to dismiss a source just because you think you know its usual biases. Question everything, even that with which you seemingly agree; maybe especially that.  

And whatever the issue - guns, race, you name it - certainly don’t get on the wrong side of prevailing public opinion, where facts don’t seem to matter.  

Hmm, wonder what dad's hidden motive is? Surely he's not just reading me a story....

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