Thursday, October 06, 2005

2 + 2 = Thursday

“2 + 2 = Thursday.”

“Excuse me? 2 + 2 = 4.”

“How can you believe that?

“Ok. I have 2 pennies. Here they are. I have 2 other pennies. Here they are.
I put them together. (counting) 1 – 2 – 3 – 4.”

“Well, last night on The O’Liar Factor, they said ‘2 +2 = THURSDAY!’
“You are just a LIBERAL!”

I received an e-mail the other day. I get a lot of emails from my right-winged friends. I guess they think there is still hope for me. This one was yet another that was attributed to George Carlin. Another one that George Carlin clearly didn’t write.


Here is a part of it:

A mandatory evacuation means just that...Get the hell out.
Don't blame the Government after they tell you to go. If they hadn't said anything, I can see the argument. They said get out... if you didn't, it's your fault, not theirs. (We don't want to hear it, even if you don't have a car, you
can get out.)

The government isn't responsible for giving you anything. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave, but you gotta work for what you want. McDonalds and Wal-Mart are always hiring, get a job and stop spooning off the people who are actually working for a living. President Kennedy said it best..."Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.


I did a quick search, but didn’t turn anything. It was still too new. Then I just did a search on “George Carlin Katrina” and it turned a transcript from Carlin’s recent appearance on Bill Maher’s show.

Here are some of the things Carlin really said in the aftermath of Katrina:

“It shouldn't be a surprise that rich, white men don't care about poor, black people, period. So they're not high on their list.”

“…who are in charge of things in this country: the owners. Forget these foolish elections. The owners of this country don't care about the poor, in general.”

“Listen, politics – these elections are a charade; they're a charade.”

“The real looting in this country takes place in the transfer of the wealth from the poor to the rich. I'm sorry that you don't like class and the truth, my friend, but you're stuck with it. Class is class - and the poor have been systematically looted in this country. The rich have been made richer under this criminal, fascist president and his government. “


“Yeah, I have something I want to mention. First, I would just preface it by saying “Governor Bush” – and I call him that because that's really the last thing he was elected to - “Governor Bush,” he – when he reaches – when he reaches his Christian heaven, he's going to have a lot to answer for. Second, what I want to say is this: I think [guest James K. Glassman] Jim is a good – is doing a good job of demonstrating – and this show is – the difference between left and right of center. It originated in the French parliament. The people left of center were liberals; the people right of center were conservatives. Broadly speaking. And generally speaking, people on the left of center – on the right of center, I'm sorry – the conservatives, the right of center – are interested in property values, property, property rights. The rights and the rights of property. “

“And generally speaking again – it's all generalized – the left-of-center people are more concerned with humans and human beings and human concerns; to the care of humans, not the care and worry about property rights. That's generally been true. And Bush is pushing this country farther down the hill, faster than anyone has before.”

Ironic, isn’t it?

Anyway, I sent him the link, and his response was:

“Bill Maher is a socialist.”

That’s it. That one sentence. He completely ignored what Carlin said.

I used to argue with this person, but I have since given up. All it ever did was get both of us upset.

The history of the last 5 years can be summed up by that exchange. What to do when confronted with evidence that contradicts your beliefs?

Ignore the facts.
Change the subject.
Label the subject.

“Socialist.”
“Communist.”
“Bleeding Heart.”
“Liberal.”

In their minds, once a label is applied, then the content of the person’s words doesn't have to be addressed. It is automatically refuted and dismissed.

“Of course he would say that! He’s a socialist!”

They act as if there is no space between blind allegiance to the Oil Mafia and Socialism. Everything is “either or” with them.

“You’re against making the tax-cuts permanent? You’re a socialist.”
“You were against the Iraq War? You loved Saddam.”
“You hate Bush. You loved Clinton.”

I am tired.

Tired of fallacious arguments.
Tired of the propaganda and rhetoric.
Tired of feigning respect for blatant idiocy.
Tired of arguing the obvious against the nonsense with no hope of gaining an inch.
Tired of logic, reason and facts being ignored.

And I am sick and tired of all the stupid e-mails…

***

I actually got another one from the same person as I was writing this post.

I deleted it.

13 Comments:

Anonymous blue girl said...

Try not to let it bug you -- just the fact that he would even think George Carlin would say those things to begin with proves that he doesn't really know what he's talking about.

Just develop your own "smirk" while you keep hittin' that delete button.

Remember my friend and his "liberals love abortion" statement? I was talking to him yesterday about Bill Bennett -- and he said to me: "Attacking Bill Bennett that way was intellectually dishonest!"

Ha-ha-ha. Ha-ha into infinity!

Must get off the floor after I fell down laughing my you-know-what off!

6:40 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Sorry to say, Viscount, but I've got family members - love 'em anyway - and they believe all the right wing bullshit. To the extent that one said, "George Bush is getting a bum rap" on Katrina.

I try to avoid politics with these folks but if such an event happens, I do as the old songs says - take the whole mess (mentally) and "put it in a box, tie it with a ribbon, and throw it in the deep blue sea."

If they still believe such things even at this point, I'm sure I don't know what will change their minds.

BTW: Thank God for George Carlin - the other George.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

That's the reason I never go out. Well, except to Mars. Those people are all over the place. After one of those confrontations it takes me two days to clean my brain.

Thanks for the S Dan, Viscount. Pretty cool. That's them alright. No mistaking 'em.

9:12 PM  
Blogger cali said...

Toxic email...a curse to be sure. Seems like BG has good advice on this: smirk as you delete.

As for Carlin, I was actually a little bummed to see his image on your blog. Remember you hooked me with Johnny Depp. Carlin's just a cranky old guy to me.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous blue girl said...

Cali -- how funny! The "cranky" old guy thing again -- I love George Carlin -- you've got to try to find your inner crank.

:)

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Hamish said...

“And generally speaking again – it's all generalized – the left-of-center people are more concerned with humans and human beings and human concerns; to the care of humans, not the care and worry about property rights."

Funny, it seems to me that that was what Jesus was concerned with as well. Humans and human concerns. Now, I'm no biblical scholar, but don't recall Him talking a lot about war, or about defending the rights of the rich. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think He even mentioned homosexuals.

There sure is a lot of talk from the right about "moral issues." I'm not sure where their getting their morality from, but it sure as Hell doesn't seem to be Jesus.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Nobody said...

This is one thing I've never understood about America. You have debate clubs in school don’t you? Aren't you taught 'Critical Thinking' and 'Creating Logical and Valid Arguements in school'?

They start teaching us that here in about year 7, (12-13 years old or so) and it's basically a large component of what you learn during English each year until Year 12 to prepare you for University. 6 Years of it. This is *basic, basic* stuff. If you don't learn these simple lessons you can't write any kind of English Essay. You probably won't pass High School English.

You learn to only make arguments supported by evidence. In criticising another's view you need to be able to point out where the flaws and fallacies in their line of thinking by arguing with evidence that weakens their point of view and supports your own. Evidence. Facts. Not hearsay, or 'All Intelligent People Know' type of statements.

So someone please explain to me why whenever I get into a political argument with a Right-Wing American they either: jump on a minor point they think they can win, that has little to do with the main arguement in question; speak in vague generalisations that aren't tangible facts; show a lack of any kind of critical thinking; use flawed trains of logic that simple don't make any sense; turn the argument around to make them into the victim, or resort to personal attacks.

I see a white dog.
Therefore dogs are white.
Therefore all dogs are white.

is *NOT* a logical train of thought.

Statement A: Every citizen should be guaranteed health care.
Reply: So? You're fat.

is also *NOT* an arguement.

Children argue this way, because their minds have not developed enough to operate with higher mental concepts yet. But you grow out of it. At least, you should.

So is it taught in the curriculum over there, or is it not taught until College / University? I'm just curious.

And this is from someone who never finished High School...

12:50 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

>As for Carlin, I was actually a little bummed to see his image on your blog. Remember you hooked me with Johnny Depp. Carlin's just a cranky old guy to me.<

He is very cranky. Whenever I watch one of his performances, I think at least 50% of it is just him ranting but not being funny. Still, I like him and I'm glad he said what he said on Maher's program.

>There sure is a lot of talk from the right about "moral issues." I'm not sure where their getting their morality from, but it sure as Hell doesn't seem to be Jesus. <

It drives me crazy, being here in "The Bible Belt." It reminds me of a couple lines from a Talking Head song, "Crosseyed and Painless."

Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don't do what I want them to
Facts just twist the truth around
Facts are living turned inside out
Facts are getting the best of them
Facts are nothing on the face of things


>Aren't you taught 'Critical Thinking' and 'Creating Logical and Valid Arguements in school'?<

Apparently not. They once said something about "The Scientific Method," but I think that has been deemed "liberal" buy the Republicans.

>So is it taught in the curriculum over there, or is it not taught until College / University? I'm just curious.<

Interesting, because there is a Unkranian in my office. Very intersting guy. Grew up in Siberia. Extremely intelligent. He said to me one day, (with his incredulous Russian accent!)

Een Amerika, yoo don't doo titchink. Yoo doo doo trainink. I haff too titch my own kits kritikal theenkink!

How else can you get millions of people to buy what they are selling...?

6:56 AM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

Who Would Jesus Bomb? Hamish, the Viscount has posted this link before, but it wouldn't hurt to do it again: required reading.

Simon, your point is a good one, and seems intuitive, but this kind of critical thinking (as the Viscount points out) is not taught in school here. The only reason I ever learned to write was by reading voraciously -- it was my escape, my drug, when I was a kid -- and then by choosing to continue to write and edit for my living once I became an adult (I was going to write "once I grew up," but, well...).

Only two things in college helped me in the writing 'n wreasoning dept. -- taking a semester with John Powers studying non-fiction writing, and a semester with Leona Fisher, one of the most difficult and best teachers I ever had. She saw right through my shit and made me work hard. Her cardinal rule was that you could say anything about a piece of literature, but you had to back it up with evidence from the work. Believe it or not, this was the first time I'd really been forced to do this. As an English major at a well-regarded university in Washington, DC. Hard to believe, eh? As you say, you shouldn't even be able to pass high-school English without this skill.

America is a shallow land. We are so busy getting where we want to go as fast as we can, so that we can then move on to the next desire as fast as possible, that we're perfectly happy to accept "arguments" (i.e., sales pitches) that initially satisfy but don't stand up to critical examination. Look at our media. Look at our elections. Look at our legislative process, where we consistently go for the quick (usually expensive and ultimately ineffective) fix after the fact, rather than investing time and money in dealing with the source of our many problems.

As I watch my kids moving through the public-education system, I see the places where opportunities for teaching critical-thinking skills are lost (usually because the overworked, underpaid teachers have to focus on getting students ready to pass standardized tests, but that's another issue worthy of its own rant), and so I try to fill in the gaps myself. When I help with homework, I ask leading questions, so they can work out the answers themselves. I point out all the half-truths and outright lies in commercials. I try to pull away -- and teach them to pull away -- the glossy veneer and see the Ugly Underneath (as one Andrew John Partridge would say).

And then, looking at my own profound discontent with the system and with where this country is headed today, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. Ignorance is, after all, bliss.

Viscount, I suggest that you start posting some of the stupider conservative e-mails you get, so that we can have at 'em. That could be fun.

9:09 AM  
Blogger cali said...

The toxic right-wing e-mail messages have also become dumbed down. Sometimes it is nothing more than a simple joke or a listing of stupid jokes. Sometimes it's just a photo or slideshow of images with a "support the troops" theme.

Yep, I have a crazy sister in law. She sends a mix of dirty jokes and God Bless America crap.

About my reaction to Carlin, I think I've just had enough of ranting angry white guys. I'm going to balance your Carlin pic with a post about Johnny Depp or George Clooney's film.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous blue girl said...

xtcfan: "And then, looking at my own profound discontent with the system and with where this country is headed today, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. Ignorance is, after all, bliss."

Oh, I think about this so much -- I've always focused on getting my son to think deeply about everything that goes on and sometimes I wonder if it's the right thing to do. (I don't want to spoil all the magic -- figuring things out for yourself is pretty cool)

He's actually become quite the little *smart* ass, dissecting MY instructions to him immediately and with GREAT accuracy! He already knows BS when he sees it coming from a mile away...

Simon:

Statement A: Every citizen should be guaranteed health care.
Reply: So? You're fat.

Funny! And so true! My Republican friend that I'm always droning on and on about over here -- just gets frustrated and normally does one of two things:

HIM: "Well, whatever....we're just better."

Or, if I bring up the latest news like Tom Delay being indicted, he'll just act like he hasn't heard the news yet and wants to know where *I* heard it from because it had to be from a liberal source that's not to be trusted.

That's the major way they deflect the facts -- just *say* the source was a liberal -- and logic or facts be damned.
And a lot of people have bought into that.

8:52 AM  
Blogger fuckstick2020 said...

I know exactly how you feel. I come from a family of liberals but there are approximately two republicans in the family. Strangely both named Eddie. Anyway, they send me the most ignoramous shite. I just delete it. I tried arguing at first but I was wasting my breath and since there is little clean air left I don't want to do it anymore.

Sigh. My bleeding heart is broken.

12:28 AM  
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