So, what's been bugging you?

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Chuck Messer
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So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Chuck Messer » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:43 am

Per the latest comments on the Depression thread, here's a tailor-made thread.

So, what's been buggin' you?
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:30 am

This could get ugly, you realize.

Pretty much the same things have been bugging me for 40 years, namely Other People who Do Not Appear to Think. That covers a wide range, of course, and the specifics change sometimes daily, but that general complaint pretty much sums it all up.

One thing in particular, for as much as some Americans praise to the rafters our so-called "individualism" it always astonishes me how quickly the loudest of them fall into ranks and parrot the same party drivel when confronted with things they were raised to believe are wrong. Being an individual does not mean buying a Ford after five decades of only buying GM or switching to Lee jeans after a lifetime of Levis.

It also bugs me how easily people surrender all their personal information when asked by a store clerk and then bitch about the erosion of privacy.

And I positively detest the culture of beer and sports that dominates this country.

But I'm not particularly depressed. Just so you know.

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Chuck Messer
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Chuck Messer » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:47 am

That's fine. Depression is what the depression thread is for. If there's an alternative title for this thread, it's "Annoyance". Or, maybe "Pissed Off".

As long as people don't get personal, things shouldn't get all that ugly here. If it does, the thread can be locked down or deleted.

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:04 am

This is bugging me today.

First a link to a Wash Post column essentially making the same point that Sam Harris did in the article at the link I posted over in the Science vs Religion thread.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ ... days-opeds

I've spent the last couple three days listening in astonishment at western pundits and commentators suggesting that,

the riots and mayhem perpetrated by a few fanatics in the Muslem world are in some way justified, and

that we in the "privileged" west should temper or even restrict our speech in recognition of Muslim sensitivities.

Well Sam Harris and Charles Lane respond more eloquently than I can so let me just say,

there used to be a word for people who put their physical safety above all other considerations -

COWARD

Aren't we fortunate our Founders didn't think like that!

Aren't we fortunate the folks we send to fight for us don't think like that!
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Lori Koonce
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:59 am

Well other than the crazy person who is attempting to talk to me, here's what's been nibbling at the back of my brain for a few weeks now.

Why is it that so many people are willing to vote against what is best for them? My father knows my situation, but he's most likely going to vote for a man who will willing make people like me need to move back home. He knows my sexual orientation but still voted against my rights to be happy.

What makes people want to do that to people they supposedly love and care about?

"...Are we living in a land where sex and horror are the new gods?..." That is from a song that I first heard over 30 years ago. I never thought that that would be a valid question once the Cold War was over. If you listen to the entire song, you'll understand why I'm such a rabid liberal. And if you wanna listen it's called Two Tribes and it's by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

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FrankChurch
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:03 pm

Mark, this is why they do not think;

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.
In almost every act of our lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons [...] who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world. "

Edward Bernays. Modern inventor of public relations.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:27 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Mark, this is why they do not think;

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.
In almost every act of our lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons [...] who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world. "

Edward Bernays. Modern inventor of public relations.



Yeah, I read Vance Packard, too, way back when. I think it's simpler than that, though, because everyone and anyone can get stubborn and independent and fail to follow the program when it either gets in their wallet or gets in their face.

People don't think because it's hard. The manipulators take advantage of this and for a time it works, until things break or they try to make people do too much that hurts them. People eschew thinking because being popular and well liked is more important than knowing things. And finally, people aren't taught to think and subsequently don't do it very well, and no one likes to look like an idiot by attempting something they're not good at. But at the end of the day, it's just too much trouble and whaddaya know, The Simpsons is on.

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Ben W.
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Ben W. » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:23 pm

Money. One way or another, it always boils down to money, or the need for money. Doesn't matter if it's little green pieces of paper, or numbers in a computer. Shelter is reliant upon money. Food is reliant upon money. Happiness and/or basic contentment is reliant on money. Even love is reliant on money; you'd be surprised at how easily love can be filed away when a family believe they have a loser in their midst. I can't deny the urge to pick up a semi-automatic in my darkest, ugliest moments and mow them all down...these worshippers of the gold-wrought pig-god.

Perhaps living on the street is the best option available for me, besides self-annihilation. It seems to be the only realistic means of escaping an ages-old system that's permeated everything.

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Lori Koonce
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Lori Koonce » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:45 pm

Ben

As a former street person, I don't recommend it. You think you feel badly now, try getting people you don't even know calling you names you aren't sure of for reasons you really cannot help.

You are not the only person you know in your situation are you, get a group of you together. Housing is cheaper with a roommate or two. If you look around, there are stores that sell quality foods at prices you can afford (Google Gorcery Outlet). And if you keep your ears and eyes open there are free or low cost events almost everywhere.

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FrankChurch
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:16 pm

Lori is just not mean enough to Frank Church. She is way too easy on him. He is such a butthole, that one.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:25 pm

It's pointless to deride money. In one form or another, it is a constant. It's a stand-in for all that we need to live. It's just a more efficient method than barter, but underlying it is still the fact that we have to do work in order to make life livable. It's not money, it's people who misunderstand what it's for and use it to assign hierarchies. I doubt you resent money when you have it, only when its lack becomes an issue. Everybody needs food, we have to have it, but I don't hear people complaining about being a slave to it. Perspective. A little perspective.

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Lori Koonce
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Lori Koonce » Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:59 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Lori is just not mean enough to Frank Church. She is way too easy on him. He is such a butthole, that one.



Excuse me but WTF?

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Ben W.
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Ben W. » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:30 pm

Lori Koonce wrote:Ben

As a former street person, I don't recommend it. You think you feel badly now, try getting people you don't even know calling you names you aren't sure of for reasons you really cannot help.

You are not the only person you know in your situation are you, get a group of you together. Housing is cheaper with a roommate or two. If you look around, there are stores that sell quality foods at prices you can afford (Google Gorcery Outlet). And if you keep your ears and eyes open there are free or low cost events almost everywhere.


I appreciate the advice, Lori, I really really do. But while it would be applicable for most other human beings, it simply doesn't work for me. Some people are good at negotiating with the monster. I'm more content with killing it.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:32 pm

Haven't set Frank off in a while so now's the time.

I think if you look at history dispassionately you can't help but conclude that more people are generally better off under the capitalist system than any other previous socioeconomic system that's ever been, even with all its excesses. And It's useful to remember that it was the power base in Europe formed by the merchant classes that enabled the west to begin to pry the fingers of the priests off the reins of power. The first secularist was a rich merchant who didn't want to give his money to the Pope, gawd bless'em!

Nothing wrong with capitalism that heavy regulation wouldn't cure. And all these corporations that whine about government overreach here in this country seem to thrive in Europe with its strong political, economic and environmental laws. Several of those major corps even have their home offices in Europe.

And it's certainly better than fantasies about paradises where everybody sleeps to noon and spends the rest of their time smoking dope and watching Star Trek reruns.

Call 911! Frank's head just exploded!
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Chuck Messer
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Re: So, what's been bugging you?

Postby Chuck Messer » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:52 pm

That was my attitude when I was out of work: "So, I'm deemed Not Fit to Live because some bald monkeys invented something called Money and I'm out of work and don't have any. How very nice." I had some self-destructive thoughts and some destructive ones too.

In 2003, I had a heart attack. Five months later, I was out of a job, in the middle of the 2003 recession. That scared me a hell of a lot more than the heart attack. I even thought about buying ammo for my 20 guage. I thought of it as my "exit strategy".

My quarrell was not with any monetary system, but a system in which (in Colorado) employers have nearly absolute power over their employees, to the point where they can fire you for just about any reason, with no recourse. And, when I was let go by Dish Network in 2005, no unemployment benefits either, if it was deemed to be your fault that you were let go -- even though Dish Network had and still has a 200% rate of turnover for employees. Deliberately.

Money, power. It does corrupt, doesn't it? And when it's absolute, it corrupts absolutely. I'll never trust an employer again. Ever.

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.


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