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By technician (Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 10:50:26 AM EST) (all tags)
as in "marked by ardent or zealous enthusiasm for a cause" or "annoyingly close-minded about a given subject or set of subjects."

(Another incomplete thing.  I find that if I try to take the time to properly complete a thought, I never finish, and no words get posted.  Maybe that isn't a bad thing for you, but it is proving bad for me.)

I work with people (like ya do) who work in an industry that kills people more than some other industries; it's a function of what we do.  Keep that in mind.

We have a spectrum of political / social / religious beliefs here, probably a broader spectrum than you'd imagine.  If you did imagine our people.  You'd imagine them, I suppose, based on their ex-military backgrounds, their khaki and polos and subscriptions to C4ISR Journal and liberal use of acronyms that the civilian world rarely uses or knows about.  If you look in our parking lot, though, you don't find Hummers.  For every monster truck there are four Prius, two Insights, and two import sports cars.

But all of us have one thing in common: we're fanatics about some aspect of our existence.  For me it is my solutions.  I am a HUGE fan of my own solutions.  It is an annoying trait, and I stay quiet about it (like most ego-driven things in my life) but if someone removes a sweet hack of mine and replaces it with a (proper) off the shelf solution, it annoys me. For no reason, mind you.  I mean, no logical reason.  I'm just a jerk that way.

Ask one of our less liberal gun owners (I myself am a gun toting liberal, and here are many of us here, proving something...not sure what) about their defense plans.  Some of these guys (they are not universally guys) have, say, fifteen weapons.  At any given moment, four of them are loaded and available for "home defense."  These folks speak of defending their home as though home invasions were as common as a common thing. They fret and worry and embody a fear that I can imagine, sure, but I can't imagine it defining my life. They have routes planned.  The layout of the house is planned around defending it.  One guy, he has the defensive weapons laid out like this: nearest the edge of the perimeter are small calibers, with increasing calibers the closer to the center of the home.  By the time you get to his bedroom, he has an automatic shotgun stagger loaded: one round of 00, one round of deer slugs, one round of sabot, for six rounds. Finally, his last-ditch weapon is a .45 1911-style pistol.  "If I haven't killed them by then, I use it on myself."

No shit.  There is always a reference to "them," with hints of "them" being criminal elements or government forces or both. Now with Obama in power, these guys...these types?  Try to buy ammunition.  In states like Tennessee (the patron state of shooting stuff), Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, it is difficult to buy ammunition.  There just isn't a lot of it available, and what is available is expensive. Five years ago the ammo shortage was due to war.  Now it is due to fanatics.

We have car guys here (again, not exclusively guys) and, well, we all know about car guys. Not as bad as religions (since cars actually exist as a tangible thing, you can prove without a doubt who is faster / better / etc) but close.  Especially the guys with the monster trucks.  Stay away from those guys.  They're often the defensive perimeter sort.  They hate a Prius because a Prius is small, efficient, and comfy.  I'm pretty sure we all know that they hate a Prius because it makes them look like idiots.

These ego driven things are least to me....when they involve things or ways of life.  We have a cult of things here that L'il Kim Jung has nothing on.  We live in a young country formed on a bill of goods that includes a way of life, a set of ideals that hasn't had a thousand years of repression yet so some people still believe deeply in them.  Fanatics of all sorts in the patriot business.  That's fine, actually; without true believers we'd be fucked.

Other than politics, which is a bag of idiots too dense to brush up against without having all the sense sucked out of you (a black hole of idiot), I don't get the being fanatic about, say, songs or song writers.  Or actors. Or authors.  Or people who are famous for being famous. The celebrity worship.  The $your_favorite_band_sucks troll is still an instant hit at parties.  The ways we attach to ephemeral religion maybe?  Maybe it's the same mechanism.  A starter version of God.  We love you, Michael, you nearly-convicted pedo you. We would die for you, if you were God. 

Religion, sure, I get it.  I mean, I can understand why people get it. I don't agree with any of it any more; it seems that it is used as a convenient way to write off bad behavior. Blow yourself up, kill a doctor, that sort of thing. Always has been, I guess my tolerance for it is getting thinner with age.  But I still understand the mechanisms and the need.  I just can't see applying that same method to, say, music.

Tom Waits and Beck were talking, an interview of sorts on Beck's web site.  Tom Waits has this line, they're talking about how temporary art is, how the music they make is recorded on medium that will be dust in X years.  If you read between the lines, this definitely annoys Beck. He says something about how Happy Birthday will probably survive, but more complex pieces will be gone forever.  Waits says " I'm sure it will be. It's terrible, but I guess songs are just interesting things to do with the air."  This from a man with a cult-like following. A man whose fans are true fans, deeply enamored.

These days with information decay set to the tempo of memes and fads that cross our conscious about every ten days, maybe fanatics are required.  Acolytes set to tell a history of their cause, carry it forward to the next 10 day horizon, and the next. I swear that the black Pink Floyd T shirt with the prism, some guy will be wearing that in three hundred years, standing on a stage, telling the huddled mass that he knows The Truth and it was on wax, and it is now just vibrations in the air.

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Evangelical | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Gun nuts by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 11:00:07 AM EST
most of kin folk own lots of guns, but that's because they like shooting them, and killing (and eating) critters. The one uncle loves guns, and keeps them stashed around his cabin. But, he was willing to go legit and get his Class III license so he can own the big iron, I suspect he's not in the black helicopter class.

While I'd like a handgun to practice putting holes in paper, I have other hobbies and interests I'd rather spend my rare free hours on.

sell your tuner yet ? by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 11:02:53 AM EST
and hard core men hand load their ammo. Lead, FFF powder are cheap.. Primers are harder to come by..

Not yet. by technician (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 11:52:36 AM EST
I may have talked the wife into getting a third car, one that is a hybrid, and isn't specialized (her truck and my car are both too niche to be useful).  A Ford Fusion 2010 Hybrid or the like.

I'm working up to reloading.  The cost and real estate are factors....being married to a woman who'd rather I didn't spend cash or take up space on my various hobbies makes things like this slow, methodical, and eventually well planned and executed.

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so few things i actually get worked up over by clock (4.00 / 1) #4 Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 12:29:42 PM EST
i wish i had the energy to get that excited about things that other people "get."  i have opinions and some of them are quite strong, but none are strong enough that i feel the urge to get involved in a debate or any situation where i want to convince anyone of anything.  is that sad?  i doubt it.

that said, the things that i'm nutty about i am truly nutty about.  my list of projects is long and doesn't bear repeating or sharing, but the discussions i have in my head with myself?  heated, bro.  really heated.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

I think it takes people a while to realize by garlic (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 09:29:52 AM EST
that you can't really change someone else's mind, and it's not much worth fighting over.

[ Parent ]
i just don't care anymore by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 3) #5 Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 04:23:45 PM EST
i'm not sure if it's sad.  i'm more concerned with "wash that funk off the cutting board so it doesn't rot and funk up the kitchen" than with Stuff To Believe In.

the badness of no words by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 09:02:13 PM EST
I know what you mean. Or at least, I experience something that has a parallel meaning. Something weird happens to my brain, something chemical I guess, when I don't produce any words for a while. It's like lack of sleep, except that my body doesn't have as strong a drive to correct the problem by forcing the issue, or perhaps some meddling part of my higher consciousness blocks it. (Stupid, stupid higher consciousness. Who asked you anyway?)

I have probably talked about this before: When I did the battery of aptitude tests a while ago, one of the things they tested was how well you can visualize things in three dimensions. That's me, and I imagine that it's also you. Because people with this aptitude are not only able to think in multiple dimensions (three is just the beginning; the universe is much more than that) but also derive satisfaction from effecting some tangible change in the world in their day to day lives. You want your environment to look different at the end of the day, because of your efforts. And if that isn't the case, if the world is just the same damn world every day, or if the differences are nothing to do with you, well, there begins the descent into badness. You have to build. Construct or deconstruct. Sometimes flipping the right bits is enough. That's why I understand your obsession with your solutions.

And that's why I'm glad you're writing again. Both for you and for me.

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM

That sounds familiar by theboz (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 10:44:28 PM EST
Either it's a spot on description of what could also apply to me, or it's some generic psycho-babble bullshit that applies to everyone like fortune cookies do.  Either way, thanks for an interesting post.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
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doesn't apply to everyone by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 03:45:43 PM EST
At least, not according to the foundation that administered the aptitude tests and supposedly studies these things.

There are jobs and people that aren't all that spatial -- for instance, the people who run the tests. What their job is, is to give people tasks like things to rearrange or a series of pictures to look at, and record how fast they do something, or what their solution/response to the "thing" is. They take out the props from some drawer where they're stored, spread them out, and when the person being tested is done with them, they gather the pieces up and put them away in the drawer again. It's the same thing over and over. Nothing changes (except the person sitting in the chair across from them), nothing evolves (or if it does, it's just a small refinement to a test that someone studying the data comes up with). Some people are OK with that.

If you think, "God, that sounds so boring" I'm not surprised. Good programmers (and complex problem solvers more generally) need to hold multiple dimensions/variables in their head. I bet most of the people on this site are that way, actually.

Part of the foundation's mission is to help people figure out what is the right kind of job for them, one that maximizes things that make their brain happy while minimizing things that don't. Or, if their job can't fulfill that need, to at least make them aware of it so that they can find hobbies or some other outlet to help compensate.

So yeah, it's a little pop-psych-ish, but I've still found it a useful way of looking at things.

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM

[ Parent ]
Evangelical | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback