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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Unreasonable People

A version of this essay first appeared on Stonekettle Station several years ago.  In response to recent events, a number of readers asked for it to be reposted.  Here you go, I’ve made some edits and updates. //Jim


 

A while back, I made a smart Alec comment on Facebook.

This is not unusual, I make a lot of smart Alec comments on Facebook.

But in this case I was commenting about the Texas School Board’s decision to remove discussion of any religion other than Christianity from US history books and to actively foist their warped, verifiably wrong, and willfully incomplete view of history on America’s school children.  Specifically, I said, “I’d like to personally thank Texas for rolling the US educational system back to the 14th Century.” Way to go, douchebags and so on. With a link to Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy Blog at the Discover Magazine and a discussion of the same topic from the view of an actual no-foolin scientist who spends an admirable amount of time slapping around stupid people.

It didn’t take long for a creationist to show up, and not just a creationist but a global climate change denying, Big Bang denying anti-evolutionist who doesn’t understand the difference between the origin of life and the origin of a species. Here’s his comment:

Evolution has about the same evidence as global warming. No transitional forms and no missing link. Look it up. Even the Big Bang doesn't make sense without a creator or cause. Darwin’s book Origin of the species never addresses the Origin of the Species.

People seemed think I was going to debate this chucklehead.

Heh heh, no. 

See, while I found their comments amusing, there was no way I was going to do anything other than point and engage in ridicule.

It’s not that he wouldn’t have been easy to rip apart, and in fact I count over a dozen things in his ridiculous comment that are verifiably wrong, provably so, definitively so, obviously so, beginning with the fact that my post had nothing whatsoever to do with either global climate change or evolution. My original comment was about the Texas state school board’s decision to edit out an enormous historical contribution to human history, science, culture, and language because they don’t like Muslims and don’t want them portrayed in a favorable light in any way whatsoever. Period.

This pisses me off.  It pisses me off because when Texas does something dumb with their school books, it affects the rest of the country.

I don’t give a flying fig what kind of ignorance they wish to indulge in down there in the land of pointy-toed boots, giant hats, and horny toads, but when their nonsense impacts my child’s education and makes my country the laughing stock of the of civilized world, then they are making it my business.

I would feel the same way about it if they’d decided to edit Jesus out of the history books – if Jesus had actually invented optics, developed algebra, preserved large chunks of human knowledge throughout the Dark Ages when Europe had fallen into illiterate feudal savagery while the Christian church was busy spreading the Black Death and burning people at the stake for heresy instead of doing something useful, if he had carried science and civilization to a third of the known world in his caravans, or explored more of the planet than the fifty miles of desert surrounding the place where he was supposedly born.

It is true that I and most of you could have easily debunked that creationist nonsense – the difference being that I would probably have used more four-letter words than you.  Hell, I could have done it when I was ten.  Scientists like Plait and Michael Shermer of the Skeptical Inquirer make a career out of refuting this kind of bullshit, and I admire them for it.

But it doesn’t make any difference.

Not to the crazies anyway.

You cannot reason with unreasonable people.

And it is my policy not to engage in debate with willfully unreasonable people. 

There’s a difference between stupid and deliberately stupid.

In such cases, mostly I just point and laugh.

Now look, I’m not saying that debunking the cranks isn’t an honorable and worthwhile endeavor and a crappy job that has to be done. But people like the commenter mentioned above simply don’t operate within a fact based, reality oriented framework. Through design or defect, they are functionally incapable of processing input in a rational manner. Instead they see the world through some kind of warped goggles the way a mental patient views his world and no amount of debunking will ever change their delusional outlook. Period.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how debugged the program is if defective processor circuitry adds two and two and gets the square root of negative one, and in fact always returns (i) no matter what numbers you put in. You can keep plugging in the proper values, checking and refining your input, but the machine relentlessly spits out (i) and only (i). That’s exactly what it’s like to debate a creationist, or scientologist, or a moon landing denier, or an anti-vaxxer.

And it is neither my job nor my duty to debunk the idiots or pamper the mental patients.

In America, the Constitution may give these people the right to speak their bilge in public, but it doesn’t require that I have to respect it.

And I do not.

I cannot, and will not, suffer fools gladly. And I really can’t understand people who do.

Arguing with these people, attempting to reason with them, is a lost cause – because they are not reasonable people.

You cannot reason with unreasonable people. You can not.

 

The only proper response to this nonsense is this: Shut Up.

 

Let me give you an example.

Remember Marshall Applewhite?

Marshall was a fun guy. He got fired from his job for “emotional issues” (HR speak for “basket case”).

In fact, Marty had a whole host of mental issues, which included hearing voices in his head and the belief that he was storing the preserved mind of Christ in his noggin. I don’t suppose it will come as a surprise to you that he was a big believer in UFOs and alien visitors. 

Marshall, who preferred to be addressed by his secret space alien name “Do,” also went to Mexico and had himself surgically castrated, because, and dig this, the Jesus voice told him to cut his testicles off.

Applewhite founded an outfit named Heaven’s Gate.  Maybe you’ve heard of it – the whole bunch of them committed mass suicide back in 1997 so they could go meet an alien spacecraft hiding in the glowing tail of comet Hale-Bopp.

Marshall was obviously nuts, right? (or rather no-nuts, if you want to get technical about it).

Here’s the thing, he didn’t get that way overnight. He didn’t just wake up one day and decide to cut his balls off. He got there a piece at a time, little by little, over years and years, because people indulged his crazy religious bullshit rather than telling him point blank that he was an idiot. People kept talking to him like his gibberish was reasonable. It’s not, it wasn’t.  He was a loon who spoke loony crap and should have been told to shut the fuck up as often as it took.

I know, I know, I see you over there waving your arms. You going all 1st Amendment in the face and shit. Hang on.

Hear me out.

You’re sitting on a bench, reading a book, enjoying the sun, whatever it is that you do in the half hour when you’re not pestering me here.

This creepy old dude with a funny walk and bleached hair comes mooching up. He asks if he can sit down. He seems harmless enough, so you nod to the empty half of the bench, and raise your eyebrow so he knows not to start anything.  He sits down in sort of a weird space alien sort of way, and after a minute he says: “Say listen, after work a bunch of us are going down to Mexico for margaritas and to have our funberries hacked off by a drug lord’s plastic surgeon, then we’re going to dress up in purple capes and white sneakers and drink the strychnine Kool-Aid and put plastic bags over our faces. We’re doing this because Zombie-Jesus-who-lives-in-my-head says the Earth is about to be destroyed by aliens but we’re going to abandon our bodies and go live on the comet with the comet people.”

You nod as if this is a reasonable statement. Oh, yes, how fascinating.

Then Marty asks, “We’ve got an extra seat, you interested?”

To which you reply, (a) “Whoa Doggies, count me in!” or (b) “Piss off you creepy little eunuch or I will snatch you up by the top of your pointy bald grape and jam my Thick Tip Sharpie into your eye so deep that I’ll be able to write Fuck You on the inside of your skull in four inch high indelible ink.”

The correct answer seems obvious doesn’t it? (it also explains why I always carry a Sharpie, just in case you were wondering. You might want to give that some thought before you sit down next to me. Just saying)

But, see, here’s the thing: thirty nine people chose option (a).

It wasn’t a secret. They told people. They put out movies. They had a website – they still have a website. And nobody said to them, listen here, you stupid silly bastards…

Everybody just sort of said, well, you know, they’re a little odd.

They weren’t odd, well, OK, they were – but it’s not that they were odd, Marshal Applewhite and Heaven's Gate were bugshit crazy, and everything they said was crazy, and everything they believed was crazy. They were crazy. Nuts. Stark staring bonkers. The whole lot of them.  And it was obvious that they were crazy.

And it happens all of the time. Jonestown. The Branch Davidians. That bunch in France what burned themselves up along with their kids. Those obnoxious goofs who like to wave their bibles in your face while you’re waiting for the light to change. Creationists. Tom Cruise. The subject of yesterday’s essay, William J. Murray. These people are nuts.

And people shake their heads and say, how could this happen?

How could it happen?

It happens because nobody told these deluded idiots to shut up and stop acting like idiots.

It happens because in America, it’s okay to be crazy – so long as you invoke Jesus.

If you tell people you hear voices in your head commanding you to kill the President because Jodie Foster will dig it and want to have your babies, we lock your silly ass up and make fun of you on TV. 

But if you tell people you hear a voice in your head and he’s telling you the President of the United States is Muslim Kenyan Socialist Hitler-clone bent to the destruction of America because he’s really a space alien reptile in a rubber human suit, you can get yourself elected to Congress  – as long as you say the voice in your head sounds like Jesus.

Look, I’m not talking about restricting the freedom of speech or freedom to worship – what I’m talking about is intervention.

I’m saying it’s about time we cranked the public bullshit filter up to 11.

If somebody tells you that that the magical power of Jesus gives them the ability to fly, are you denying them their 1st Amendment rights when you prevent them from stepping off the roof?

Is it our duty to keep these people from killing themselves?

Perhaps not – but what about the people on the sidewalk below? Don’t we have a moral obligation to keep those poor bastards from getting crushed by falling idiots?

Yes. Damn it.

We do.

But you can’t do that by debate.

Debating the loons only rewards their bad behavior and reinforces their delusion.

You cannot reason with unreasonable people.

Debating them only encourages them more. Having a real scientist engage them in live debate automatically elevates their nonsense to legitimacy. Again, don’t get me wrong here, those scientists are professionals and I have nothing but respect for people like Michael Shermer and Phil Plait – but they should come with the same warning as those Mythbuster Guys, i.e. don’t try this at home. Ever.

And it wouldn’t be necessary if more people would tell these idiots to fuck off.

The proper response to crazy is: Shut. Up. Just shut the fuck up. I’m not going to debate you, because I simply don’t respect your stupid bullshit enough to bother. Nobody does. Fuck off or I’m getting out my Magic Marker.

You cannot reason with unreasonable people.

So don’t try.

 

Oh, and pick yourselves up a couple of Sharpies.

74 comments:

  1. I always almost carry a Sharpie... thank you for pointing out another excellent use for them!

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  2. I kid you not, I know someone who was arrested for resisting arrest and aggravated assault on a PO, yes his weapon a "Sharpie" I was there he never too off the cap. hehe

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  3. "Hearsay" is one of those funny ones. I can't quite decide whether it's a simple typo for "heresy," or if you did that on purpose.

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    1. Let's assume it's the later, I make enough typos as it is.

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    2. OK, I'll put you down for one "Pee Wee Herman".

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  4. I hang out with musicians. I always have a couple of spare Sharpies on me.

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    1. spare Sharpies ... and the number of the local detox center. Yeah, I know a few musicians too.

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  5. What you suggest is likely the best answer, but it is also for most the hardest - avoid, don't look, be polite is what we are conditioned to do, especially for a Canuck. However, in the end, allowing the madness to spread is a worst choice. Thanks for the blog.

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  6. Jim

    Texas sure isn’t the place for “sharpies”

    A half century ago I was in grad school working for a prof who had created the definitive biology textbook for the era that was almost stalled into oblivion because the textbook company didn’t want to offend the Texas market. In fact, all textbooks, no matter the subject, that didn’t meet the warped needs of the Texas Board of Education got the same treatment. The price that they pay for this ignorance is apparent and is noted as a concern in 2011 by the Legislative Study Group of the Texas House of Representatives.

    In Texas today, the American dream is distant. Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured children in the nation. Texas is dead last in the percentage of residents with their high school diploma and near last in SAT scores. Texas has America’s dirtiest air. If we do not change course, for the first time in our history, the Texas generation of tomorrow will be less prosperous than the generation of today.

    But we can’t hang the blame entirely on Texas when we have plenty of other dodos out there like Kansas, Tennessee and Missouri. The only hope is that these dodos become extinct as fast as the original dodos.

    John from Rhody

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    1. John from Rhody: I vouch for what you're saying. I am an Engineer, but I had studied a lot of biology as I was growing up, and later, when I was designing pharmaceutical plants. So I know what you refer to. My wife retired from teaching at HS level in Texas.
      Texas is the perfect example of what Jim's talking about. We shouldn't argue with them, we should throw them in the Gulf and be done. Let the red tide finish them off.
      Texas already is less prosperous than past generations. Perry succeeded in remaking it into the China in the USA. Only good for assembly line low wages jobs, flipping burgers or call centers. If it wasn't for the military, our State would look a lot like Honduras, making the underwear for America.

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    2. @John from Rhody. I live in Texas - pulled my daughter out of school a couple of years ago to home school her because of - well, the reasons are too many to enumerate.

      The really scary thing about what Texas is doing with textbooks HERE, is that it impacts many others states. Not current, but still relevant, discussion on the topic: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124737756

      The scariest part, to me, is that the stats the legislature alludes to in your quote, ONLY include the LEGAL population of the state. So the problems here are way, way worse.

      @Jim - just found your site today, via a friend. I agree - the BS meter needs an 11 on it, AND people need to start using it. A lot.

      PS - I carry a mini-Sharpie in my purse, but am upgrading to a full-size one, today.

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  7. Above par Mr Wright! Keep it coming!

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  8. A good scientist carries a Sharpie at all times. I have one in my purse RIGHT NOW. If I'm feeling particularly frisky, I use purple.

    Karla

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  9. Thanks for the great post Jim :-D Cheers!

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  10. You, sir... YOU HAVE MADE ME A HAPPY GIRL. It is SO pleasant to have found a no-bullshit, straightforward and AMUSING blog. I got this feeling that i'd like you from the moment i clicked the facebook link from my cousin over here, and the first thing i saw was the commenting rules bit....I read them. then i read the long version...BEFORE I EVEN READ THE BLOG. because i KNEW i was going to HAVE to follow you from here on out, simply because of your blogging rules. You write purely satisfying, beautiful material. keep it comin'... you're getting a permanent spot on my favorites bar! THANK YOU.

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  11. I look for a new post from you every day. Your writing gets to the core of the subject every single time. It is tough, raw and so bright that it often hurts the mind's eye. We need that brightness; keep it coming.

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  12. Love the idea of using a sharpie to combat the dullards!

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  13. Jim, this is your first writing I've read. Just "met" you last week, I think, on FB. This was hysterical and awesome. I have been married a few times and one of the problems is I can't find anybody that thinks like you. Smart as you. Smart as ME. Says it out loud like you. But then I live in Oklahoma, and don't mean to bash my own home state, I didn't get to pick where I was born, so I mean, that probably answers that question. I mean there was more than one town here didn't even put IN their paper when Obama won the presidency the last time. I still haven't gotten over that.

    My only teeny issue with this one is I would respectfully ask if you would be careful with the who you describe as "crazy". Clearly everybody you described was/is. But, for me, who I promise will become a faithful reader (LOL), MI is not that funny. It's also not something you get up one morning and go "hey I think I'll be as depressed as humanly possible today and see how that works out". We don't choose this. I am a political activist, I do what I can. I am really looking forward to reading more of your thoughts. It made me laugh, and, as you know, it's fucking true besides. Kudos.

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    1. There's a difference between actual mental illness and crazy.

      Mental illness is something that most folks can't help for whatever reason and not always physical - for example PTSD is something I have a bit of experience with.

      Crazy, as used in the context above, is a voluntary condition.

      Which is also why I made a distinction between stupid and willfully stupid. Some folks have some structural malfunction, damage, or impairment that prevents full realization of intelligence (to the arbitrary "average" level of function as we accept it, a qualitative value, not a quantitative one). These people aren't "stupid" in the manner that I used the word in the context of the above essay. For example, I've met plenty of Down Syndrome people who are plenty smart, their brains just don't work like a "normal" person's. When I use the term "idiot" or "stupid" in the context of essays like the one above, what I'm talking about are those folks who have the physical equipment, but choose not to use it.

      Hope that clears things up. Again, I understand exactly what you're saying and believe me, I'm sensitive to it.

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  14. My only complaint about Stonekettle is that Jim doesn't write as fast as I read.

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  15. When someone tells me Obama is "really a space alien reptile in a rubber human suit", I wink at them and reply, "Yes, but I'm voting for him because if I don't the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?" And then I walk away laughing.

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    1. You, sir, are a hoopy frood

      Jenne from S.C.

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    2. (From FB)
      And the award for the best week-end quote goes to:
      'When someone tells me Obama is "really a space alien reptile in a rubber human suit", I wink at them and reply, "Yes, but I'm voting for him because if I don't the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?" And then I walk away laughing.'
      Thanks Steve Buchheit, your effort is recognized. (from stonekettle.com) Sep 30, 2012

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  16. It definitely works to call the stupid what it is, not give it a platform, and tell the person pushing it to pizzz off. These tactics tend to disappoint and somewhat discourage the purveyors of the insanity. I, too, Jim, refuse to discuss anything with unreasonable people because it's a waste of time.

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  17. Thanks Jim. You DO obviously get it.

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  18. "But if you tell people you hear a voice in your head and he’s telling you the President of the United States is Muslim Kenyan Socialist Hitler-clone bent to the destruction of America because he’s really a space alien reptile in a rubber human suit, you can get yourself elected to Congress – as long as you say the voice in your head sounds like Jesus."

    Why does this remind me of Rick Perry?

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  19. Thank you. As always reading your blog makes me feel a little less like I was the only one who didn't drink the kool-aid at the party. Now where was that shopping list? Sharpies, gotta get a whole box of sharpies.

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  20. True Story...

    My daughter carries a pocketknife (not surprising given that I am a knifemaker). It is a tool, nothing more. One day at school, a fellow student asked for her pocketknife to sharpen his pencil. The teacher saw the pocketknife and confiscated it. My daughter's reply was that she could use her mechanical pencil to inflict far more damage than her tiny bladed pocket knife. The teacher confiscated her mechanical pencil and sent her to the principal.

    I have carried a mechanical pencil ever since for just the kind of idiots you describe....

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    1. Schools have been zero tolerance about pocketknives for as long as I can remember. Not so much as weapons as tools for vandalism. I remember not being able to carry my Official Cub Scout Knife in uniform at elementary school in nineteen-sixty-whatever.

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    2. Didn't Hannibal Lecter (I know he's a fictional character) use the ink cartridge from a ballpoint to inflict mayhem on one of his victims? Hope the schools don't discover that or the kids will be reduced to using crayons.

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    3. Heck, a rolled up newspaper is a lethal weapon if used properly.

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    4. Pissing on small minded authority - one mechanical pencil at a time. Too much confiscation in one's youth can twist a developing persona. Your daughter is at risk of becoming the next Grover Nordquist (minus the manly beard, of course). Tommy D

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  21. Love the way you wove imaginary numbers into their "way" of thinking!

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  22. Good stuff again, and since I am a relative newcomer here I am glad you posted it a 2nd time. I'm trying to find the balance between telling people they sound stupid when they talk about religion and being true to myself. I have a feeling it's an either/or situation and I'm gonna lose some friends.

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  23. The fact that the loons get airtime ALL OVER THE PLACE (not just on Faux News, but on my local NPR station. GAH!) does give them a false sense of legitimacy, and that's wrong. We DO have an obligation to the people on the sidewalk, and it starts by not indulging the delusional in their fantasies.

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  24. I remember reading this from one of my first visits to Stonekettle when I was trying to read through the entire archive . Good then and good now, more's the pity (that it is still a problem afflicting us, I mean). But I don''t think 11 is a high enough setting for the public bullshit filter, Jim. My suggestion, especially when considering our current election season, is that it be cranked up to at least 47.

    Thanks again for the renewed food for thought.

    Old Nvay Comm O

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  25. Mental image of not-quite-flying Jesus fools raining down from the sky. Gah!
    I propose we move the sidewalks to the middle of the street to protect the innocent; vehicular traffic near the buildings to protect society from having to pay long-term medical care in case the chosen roof is not quite high enough (convertibles use the left lane, please).
    I just couldn't get this mental image out of my mind. Maybe it's the voice of Vonnegut in my head.
    Bruce

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    1. Oh, thanks. Now I have an audio of a big voice from the sky saying..

      "As I am my witness, I thought they could fly..."

      ;)

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  26. You remind me very much of Jack Reacher, ex military police character in the Lee Child novels. If you haven't read one, you might like to give it a try....straightup, no bs, tough, fair, honest character.......

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    1. Reacher's had the longest run of unlikely bad luck of any fictional Army vet I could imagine. He always gets caught up in some nastiness by accident. Adapts and overcomes by guile, aggression and exceptional marksmanship. And he usually gets laid somewhere along the way.

      Yeah, sounds like Jim. Except for the Army vet bit.

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  27. I always carry a Sharpie (today I have an orange one) and now I have a new use for it.

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  28. “Piss off you creepy little eunuch or I will snatch you up by the top of your pointy bald grape and jam my Thick Tip Sharpie into your eye so deep that I’ll be able to write Fuck You on the inside of your skull in four inch high indelible ink.”

    takes notes

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    1. With a sharpie, right? You are taking notes with a sharpie, aren't you?

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  29. Hey there. I've been lurking for a few months now. Your blog is witty and insightful. The wilfully ignorant fools are deserving of Sharpie justice. May you write many more entertaining and incisive pieces. Thanks, in advance.

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  30. I have to admit that I don’t carry Sharpies with me, but while at work or at home I have a four pack within reach just in case. Made a mark on my monitor when reflex action took hold before I realized it was only a virtual idiot. I enjoy your writing Jim, it's a pool of sanity in this otherwise less than rational world.

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  31. Just a few observations -

    When you say what happens in Texas impacts folks outside of Texas, that's no small hyperbole. Texas is one of the largest buyers of textbooks and, as such, their "standards" become the standards of other textbook buyers, as well. So, they spread this baloney by virtue of their large buys of textbooks in the same way that Wal-Mart crowds out other small businesses with their behemoth operation.

    Another move Texas Republicans have made recently is to make it part of their platform to discourage the teaching of critical thinking in schools - hence, they can teach this bullshit and then prevent anyone from questioning it. Here's the actual text from that particular part of the document - Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority. What an indoctrination racket!!

    More crazy here - http://s3.amazonaws.com/texasgop_pre/assets/original/2012Platform_Final.pdf

    Lastly, you're right about not being able to reason with unreasonable people. You just can't fix this kind of stupid. I'm reminded of one of the "Pretty Good Rules" we used to use in some of our Navy Quality (TQL) training - Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

    Thanks, as always for all you do.

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  32. I usually answer bat-shit crazy with an "I'll pray for you..."

    I'm a Christian and I will pray for them, because I feel it's the right thing to do. But, WOW, it sure pisses them off!

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  33. I was reading Lyin' Ryan's comments on Sunday, and it fits totally in this description. No use to argue with him. My Wisconsin friends share the feeling, and hopefully there are enough of them to take the fool down.
    His opponent in the district is enjoying a bonanza. Paul himself is helping to get the Dem guy elected!
    Keep writing (I don't mind the misspellings, as I'm used to grading papers, and got good at picking up the meaning), I need a positive shot in the mornings, coffee is proving insufficient.

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    1. This I shared on my FB:
      https://www.facebook.com/rommey/posts/510144482347436

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  34. Willfully stupid - exactly! It seems to me that many of these types actually would experience deep physical pain if they had to do something like THINK. How they can balance their checkbooks is beyond me.

    I too will no longer waste my breathe and intelligence, or raise my blood pressure, to "argue" with these people. Instead, I have fine tuned the art of ridicule. It can be quite fun. I egg them on. Get them to elaborate further. It never fails to leave me in astonishment how far down the rabbit hole some of these otherwise regular people will willingly cast themselves.

    On a general note, you keep up this level of input to your blog by the time the election is over you are going to need a LOT of R-n-R time!

    Looking forward to Wednesday night's debate - hope I don't loose internet and satellite with the storms coming in. It would be too cruel to miss out on the first debate and our upcoming drinking game. (Good thing I'm self employed and can give myself Thursday a.m. off to recover).

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    1. How they can balance their checkbooks . . . Oh my - good thing I wasn't drinking anything at the time.

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    2. I fully expect Romney to position himself more to the middle of the road/moderate for all the independents watching the debates and Thursday morning his campaign people will quietly state that his moderate statements were mis-understood. This is what has happened following any of his more moderate views such as portions of Obamacare he would keep.

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  35. You are so right. No need to say more. Luv ya!

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  36. "As Texas Goes...." by Gail Collins. Great read, loads of info. Made me wish old Perry had seceded.
    But first get out all the good folks.
    Marianne

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    1. Can we just keep Austin, though? I've lived here for 6 years, (moved from MA after the kids finished college), and I quite like the weather and my fellow Austinites. Practically no one here is actually FROM Texas, anyway.

      Aside from that, my husband is a Producer/Recording Engineer and deals with other musicians on a daily basis. He's a musician as well, but of the rarely found sober variety. Generally, when he walks in the door, he looks as though he'd like to stick a pencil in his eye. Poor man.

      It seems to me, he's unaware of this new, improved use for the sharpie... I'm going to have to clue him in!

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    2. Actually, I do happen to love Austin too.. so.. yes, yes, we can keep Austin, and how's about San Antonio? they seem to be pretty cool.. so how will we go about this? ;)
      Marianne

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    3. There's a lot of us good folk in Texas. I, for one, am not going to leave it to Perry and the crazies. Dems actually can easily outpoll Reps in this state, but the lackadaisical attitude of so many Dems means they don't show up for mid-term elections, so the Reps rule and the Dem vote is gerrymandered out of power. The worm will turn eventually. This place is too good to leave to those bastards. I'm staying and I'm fighting, and I know I'm not alone. Just don't give up on us. -Martha

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  37. Good Post.
    I've stopped trying too.
    Obviously, you've had too many arguments with the cat.
    Of course, the cat is probably easier to reason with, eh ??

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  38. Stupid, deliberately stupid. I usually say ignornant, arrogantly ignorant - and DAMNED proud of it!

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  39. George Bernard Shaw said: "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it."

    Of course, if you shouted at the pig "You're a FUCKING MORON!", it may be satisfying to you but the pig would not understand. And he would still just be a pig. Tommy D

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  40. One of my favorite quotes:

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity" - Martin Luther King, Jr.

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  41. They get called "true believers" for a reason: let no fact undermine my cherished belief, I always say!

    There is no discussion or debate possible with true believers, and having them work on hijacking our education and politics is terrible. I live in Arizona, another Land of the Crazy, where the Crazy is in charge! I always thought The Vote was our only weapon. Never thought about the Sharpie Defense, though. Thanks, Jim!

    Lorraine

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  42. Age can be reversed. Ugly can become beautiful. But stupid is forever.

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  43. The sad fact is that the kind of agenda you see in Texas succeeds, particularly in home-schooling. And what it succeeds in doing is churning out people like your exhibit A who really don't know any better. And it's damned hard to read their condescending pleas for others to think about it or read this or that crappy link. Dunning and Kruger could write whole books about what passes for education among conservative Christians.

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    Replies
    1. Talk with any military recruiter about the education and functional quality of recruits nowadays, and they will admit that even with the lowest acceptable ASVAB scores (near moran level)home schooled teens cannot come close to reaching minimum standards. They cannot understand the ASVAB questions let alone attempt to determine answer.

      If Ryan/Romney win in November, they may institute a new recruitment test for Christians, where A,B and C are all correct and they say "God says so" "Jesus says so" and "The Holy Spirit is OK with that".

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  44. Quote:

    "But, see, here’s the thing: thirty nine people chose option (a).

    It wasn’t a secret. They told people. They put out movies. They had a website – they still have a website. And nobody said to them, listen here, you stupid silly bastards…"


    Question:
    How does someone, who practises a religion which has as one of its major figures someone who was prepared to kill his son because his God told him to, turn to one of these "silly bastards" and say "Listen here…"?
    The Judaeo/Christian religions are not exactly in a position to tell others that the advice/instructions their God is giving them is dubious.

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  45. o how i love thee...you're lucky i'm not the stalker type! but i digress. my old favorite thing to say was "go fuck yourself". my new favorite thing to say is "get the fuck off my page". which i've said quite a bit lately. it's different for me though. i'm a woman.
    (i know my lower case bugs but i'm lazy. not stupid :)

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  46. Oh how I wish I'd realized this earlier! For too long I've been drawn into "conversations" or "debates" with people who ultimately are just not able to see reason (or even acknowledge facts!) and have wasted so much breath (or whatever we waste when we type furiously). Lately I've been coming around to accept this is the case. Recently I was having a back and forth on fb with some crazy christian dude who decided to comment after me on a mutual friends post. The post was a "question" to atheists wondering something like if we don't believe in god why do we care that they pray. As an atheist I felt that answering the (probably meant to be rhetorical) question was well within acceptable. So I did so without rudeness or ridicule, basically stating that we (or at least me personally) don't care unless it is a violation of our right to freedom FROM religion. I won't get into the specifics of the ensuing "conversation" but it finally came down to me needing to say to this guy "how old is the earth? Because if you say 6000 years old, I'm done". And sure enough, after eluding the question and being asked 2 more times he admitted to believing in a young earth. That was basically the end of that conversation. Anyone who believes that shit in my book is completely unreasonable and unable to live in reality and therefore cannot be argued with. Once again Jim, you said it better than I could ever hope to and I'm sure knew it and realized the futility in it way before I did.

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  47. "How could it happen?

    It happens because nobody told these deluded idiots to shut up and stop acting like idiots.

    It happens because in America, it’s okay to be crazy – so long as you invoke Jesus."


    How could/did/does it happen? A political party adopts the "Southern Strategy" and is willing to sacrifice everything, including the party's pre-1970 platform, in order to win elections, even if it requires spouting nonsense, half-truths, or outright lies. Then the party hires a media empire to spout the same, and voila! Political insanity.

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  48. That comment elicited enough hilarity to scare my dogs. And I always thought that Sharpie was to troll horrible bathroom commentary, now I have another reason.

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