Saturday, February 14, 2015

THINGS I DON’T UNDERSTAND

On occasion I will post about some of the things that happen in this world that I just don’t understand.  Here are some of my latest, or continuing, sources of confusion.

1.  Why is it that when someone is brutally murdered these days, the first concern expressed by many people seems to be whether the murderer was: Christian, Muslim, Atheist, black, white, Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, pro-gun or anti-gun? Their point, of course, is that the murderer is something different from what they are. Isn’t itactually more important that someone was brutally murdered?

Corollary to #1. How exactly does the fact that a brutal murderer is not a member of your particular religion or political affiliation serve as a justification for your beliefs and a condemnation of someone else’s beliefs? As should be absolutely clear by now to everyone, murderers come from every kind of walk of life imaginable.

2.  Why do people care what a celebrity thinks about some political issue, or about any issue that the celebrity wouldn’t be considered an expert in?  For example, I like Clint Eastwood westerns. He’s starred in many, directed quite a few, and I would consider him well versed in the genre of western film. Therefore, if he made a comment about modern western film I would be interested, although I might not necessarily agree. However, I couldn’t give a crap about what he thinks about any American president.

3.  Why is it that when someone proves him or herself to be an idiot, so many folks feel the need to point out that the person is an idiot to other people who already know the person is an idiot? For example: Kanye West. I was blissfully ignorant of this guy until a few years back when he did an idiotic thing at the Grammys. Now he has apparently done another idiotic thing at another Grammy award show, and even though I have never watched the Grammys and have no intention of ever doing so, I now know far more about the event and about Mr. West than I ever wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, the jokes can be funny. It’s more the serious stuff I’m talking about.

4.  Why do some people believe that what is happening in their neighborhood is indicative of what is happening world-wide? The best example I’ve seen of this is people who believe that the weather in their little neck of the woods either supports or negates the concept of “global” climate change. When I first heard that people did this sort of thing I thought they must be joking. But having been on Facebook for a few years I have actually found folks who believe this. I used this in class the other day as an example of “Concrete Operational Thinking.”

5.  Why is it that, for so many people, the perceived intelligence of other people goes up or down exactly in proportion to which those other people agree or disagree with the first person on a complex issue, such as politics, gun control, or climate change? (Oh, wait, I do this too! Nevermind.) J

6. Why is that many people still believe that calls to boycott a movie or book, or making public claims about how awful it is for humanity, will then make that movie or book less popular? Of course, some will accept the call and boycott the book or movie, but the outcry will inevitably produce greater interest and curiosity about the piece, especially in people who had absolutely no interest in it before. Case in point: Fifty Shades of Grey. I never gave a thought to seeing the movie until I started hearing the attacks on it. Now I have to admit to some level of curiosity. Can it really be as awful as it is proclaimed? I still probably won’t see it but now it is at least on my radar. A similar event happened for me a number of years ago when people were attacking The Passion of the Christ for being anti-Semitic. I grew up Catholic so I knew the story, and had no interest seeing a film about it. It was the criticisms that drove me to see it. People kept telling me what I should think and I ended up pushed far enough that I had to see the movie so I could figure out for myself what to think.

7.  Why isn’t at least one literary award show televised like the Grammys and the Oscars? I’ve never watched either of those but I’d watch the Hugos or Nebulas.

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24 comments:

Cloudia said...

And did you ever notice. . . .


You TELL em, Charles!


ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
<3

Brian Miller said...

ha. we perpetuate a system...our beliefs are better than yours, i am better than you...the boxes and labels make it simple for us...to separate ourselves...its sad really...Kanye, oy, go figure...with great power comes great responsibility, spiderman said it...ha...but then again, with life comes a great responsibility...but who would know that...

ivan said...

All points well taken!

...And here in Staid Canada, even the news stations are worried about the Kardashians.

pattinase (abbott) said...

These are questions I think about too. A lot of it seems to emanate from too much media. I think going back to getting our news from newspapers would be a very good thing.

Oscar said...

Sheesh, all those things are on my mind, too,for about ten seconds before I return to drinking my coffee.

Ty said...

Most of these questions come down to the human animal being wrapped up in its own subjectivity while never admitting to such self interest, even to the point of believing that anyone who doesn't think the way they do is evil.

A simplistic example ...

I live in tobacco and corn country. I once heard a farmer griping about "city people" because apparently all city people hate it when it rains. He said something to me like, "Don't they realize rain is good for the crops?" My answer: "I'm sure if they stopped and thought about it, yeah, they would realize that, but do you ever stop and think about how much rain is a pain in the ass for someone rushing to catch a bus or cab?" Neither side is necessarily right or wrong, just opinionated concerning their particular circumstances.

It's all about context. Personally, I don't think it's something the human species will ever grow out of.

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, definitely some questions I have.

Brian, it all comes down to simplistic thinking, I believe.

Ivan, yes, she's mixed in with Kanye. It's all of a piece.

Patti, agreed.

Oscar, I do let them ramble on in my head too long.

Ty, oh I agree it is the human animal in action. It's just rather weird to observe sometimes. But perhaps most weird to me is how emotional people get over some of these things.

Angie said...

The Hugo awards from... either the Reno or Chicago WorldCon, I forget which, were simulcast. Or rather, they tried. But apparently someone forgot to check a (well hidden) box on YouTube or something, and YouTube's auto-censor-bots detected the OMGCopyrightedFootage!!! used before the presentation of the Long Dramatic and Short Dramatic awards, and shut down the cast.

They're trying. And yeah, I'd love to be able to watch them too, when Jim and I aren't at WorldCon that year, as we weren't last year. (Especially whenever the Silverberg-and-Willis show is playing, 'cause they're awesome individually and quintuple-awesome together. :D ) Hopefully one of these years the Hugo Awards staff will get a complete handle on this simulcast stuff and we'll all be able to watch from home. [crossed fingers]

Angie

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I would pay to see a televised Hugo Awards show. We are a strange species as Kayne West shows! We live in a broken world, and we cut ourselves on the jagged edges. Thanks for visiting Vesper's blog and commenting on my books. I have sent you one. :-) Imagine a cursed Paladin with Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla, Oscar Wilde, and Churchill all ending up in 1895 Egypt!

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, I've heard some of the literary wards are podcast but I still haven't gotten around to really using that technology. when I'm on the computer I'm writing or playing. I prefer to watch things from the comfort of my couch.

Roland, thanks for visiting as well.And I appreciate the book. I've downloaded it to my Kindle. Hope to read it soon. Best.

laughingwolf said...

...agree, almost wholly

seems folk have too much free time, so talk about shit like it was, somehow, so important they just HAD to make a comment on it :(

jodi said...

Charles-All good questions! Love the last one-it would be so nice to see an award given for writing!

G. B. Miller said...

All good questions which really deserve an answer. However, I will give you one about the Mommy Porn movie.

The movie is nothing like the book, and the book is nothing like the actual lifestyle that a small percentage of people partake in (please don't ask me how I know this). However, there are a lot of misguided critics (Fox News for example), who think that the movie simply degrades women and portrays violence on women in a positive(?) light.

Father Nature's Corner

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, I think you're right on about some folks having too much time.

Jodi, that's what I'm interested in.

G. B., I'm pretty much a proponent of letting people do what they want as long as it is consensual.

the walking man said...

I am pretty sure you know my answers to all of these points so I will just quote Jimi Hendrix. "When the power of love conquers the love of power the world will know peace"

And thus the battle still rages.

sage said...

I pretty much agree with you on all of these, Charles... Especially the later, but then literary types don't buy into patting themselves on the back...

R.T. said...

Charles, I think the answer to #7 somehow would serve to answer #1 through #6. People who would be interested in producing, sponsoring, and watching televised book awards ceremonies (#7) are not people cut from the same cloth as those who contribute to the other problems/issues(#1-#6). On the surface that may sound far to0 simple-minded and even snobbish as a theory. But, if you give it some thought, well . . .

Riot Kitty said...

Amen!

(You crack me up though - Wait, I do this too!)

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, it will be a very long fight.

Sage, so it seems.

R.T. I imagine it does come down to the people involved indeed.

Riot Kitty, yeah, I'm close to perfect, but not...quite! :)

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, like everyone else here, I often think on these lines and get nowhere. People say and do a lot of crazy things in my country for which I have no reasonable explanation.

Lana Gramlich said...

In regards to #1, I'm reading about that in "You Are Now Less Dumb" right now. It's the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, and it's how we separate ourselves from those in our group that commit heinous acts. Check out more here;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

Better yet, read the book.

Snowbrush said...

“As should be absolutely clear by now to everyone, murderers come from every kind of walk of life imaginable.”

True, but religious violence does seem to be the modern cause célèbre due to the quantity killed and the methods of killing.

“I now know far more about the event and about Mr. West than I ever wanted to.”

Me too. I am even proud how little I know about the antics of celebrities—or even who they are in many cases—but none of us can avoid it altogether. What strikes me as how lacking in shame many of them are in their quest for publicity.

“The best example I’ve seen of this is people who believe that the weather in their little neck of the woods either supports or negates the concept of “global” climate change.”

I NEVER listen to conservative talk radio anymore, but I used to listen daily, and I know that this winter’s record lows will be used to prove that climate change is a lie.

“Why is it that, for so many people, the perceived intelligence of other people goes up or down exactly in proportion to which those other people agree or disagree with the first person on a complex issue”

People wouldn’t believe as they do if they didn’t think they were in the right, so they are naturally inclined to respect those who agree and think there is something amiss with those who don’t. As with evolution, gun control, climate change, universal healthcare, and so forth, don’t YOU wonder how anyone can be such an idiot as to disagree with your stance?

“I grew up Catholic so I knew the story, and had no interest seeing a film about it. It was the criticisms that drove me to see it.”

I can’t imagine seeing a movie or reading a book because someone called for a boycott, but I know you’re right that boycotts run up sales, and I’m glad they do. The nearest I came to what you’re talking about was in regard to the movie that aroused so much anger in the Moslem world. To be threatened with violence for seeing it made me determined to see it.

“Why isn’t at least one literary award show televised like the Grammys and the Oscars?”

Because commercial TV is crap that is based entirely upon the fact that most people are shallow and stupid?

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, I guess it's a good thing it's the same everywhere.

Lana, I'll read that book after you're done.

Snowbrush, Good responses. Thanks for taking the time to read and react.

Erik Donald France said...

With you, dude, i.e. your reasoning. And Amen to #7 ~!

Closest thing I came across to #7 was on C-Span, years ago.