Pick a Side

Pick a side. Doesn’t matter which; it is about as relevant as the name on a concert t-shirt. The important thing is that you have a brand to engage your tribalism with.

Now that you know what side you’re on, it’s time to go hunting! Get out there and scour the web for the stupidest, most ignorant, ill-adjusted, mentally unstable people you can find from the opposing side. Expose these troglodytes to the cleansing light of public condemnation and mass cyber bullying. If you’re not lucky enough to find one of these people yourself, then just pile on with the rest of your tribe.

This is fun, isn’t it? Oh, they make you so angry, don’t they? Such a delicious mix of moral outrage and strident self-expression. It’s important work you’re doing: digging the rot out of society, one shitty person at a time.

The goodness doesn’t end here, though. See, what you can do now is take these shitty people and use them and their words to condemn the thinking and philosophy of the other side. Make that person your opposing faction’s mascot. They can be your brush to paint your enemy entire with.

Do not allow the enemy a chance to confuse your conviction with thoughts and arguments; nuance and context. The underpinnings of their philosophies are meaningless. The deep thinkers who spent decades crafting their notions are dust in the wind of your righteous fury.

No, finding the most debased, slack-jawed cretin that claims adherence to their philosophy is all that you need to extinguish its credibility forever. For you have destroyed them! You have exposed and crushed them!

Isn’t victory sweet?

Now, you may occasionally feel a pinch. Sometimes you may look about at your words and those who fight on your side, and realize that you share more in common with those enemies you fixate on and attack than with the philosophers who formed the arguments you regurgitate.

You may come to suspect that those who spend all their time fixating upon, baiting, and fighting with the lowest cretins from the other side are in fact the cretins of their own. That in playing a game, we share more in common with our opponent than the philosopher that crafted the pieces we play with.

This is nothing, though. A passing spasm. Don’t reflect too deeply on it, lest you realize you have been playing checkers on a chess set with the village idiot as opponent.

Push these thoughts aside and carry on, brothers and sisters. Carry on.

The important thing is that you’ve won so many games!

In Other News, Water Remains Wet

Oh, what’s this? There’s been another mass shooting in the United States?

Well, of course there has.

Winnipeg is cold. Okinawa gets typhoons. America has mass shootings.

Anyone who knows Japan at all knows that Okinawa gets typhoons. It’s a given. On a long enough time scale there will certainly be another one along. The only unknowns are the frequency of events and their intensity.

And when they come around, we send our thoughts and prayers out to those affected folks in Okinawa. Those victims of this predictable, natural, unstoppable phenomenon.

Thoughts and prayers. Because after things are cleaned up, that’s all there is to do about it. We can’t stop the weather.

Winnipeg is the shits. Okinawa gets typhoons.

The United States has shootings.

Blurred Lines

In social media the user is simultaneously the consumer and the product; just as we are both the audience and performer. It does not end there, though.

In this modern economy of commodified outrage, the offended are so often offensive in turn. It’s a cycle that self-perpetuates and enriches the host of the arena.

Free content.

Further, those who seek to cause and take offense are often best described by the insults they throw at others. The conservative tough guys who deride “snowflakes” and yet are triggered into quivering puddles by the simple existence of gay or transgendered people. The liberal activists who are just as intolerant of differences of thinking than those they label bigots.

Each two sides of the same coin, arguing in turn until they’re just a blur of unpleasantness.

Fun at the Gas Station

In the full-service gas station and automotive shop where I worked for ten years, we had the “Go Fuck Yourself” game.

How you played was: you waited until a coworker was completely engrossed in a difficult task that was obviously pissing them off. Then, from a nice safe distance, you call out their name, like you need them for something:

“Hey, Jim!”

(Jim ignores you.)

“Jim!”

(Ignores.)

“Jim!”

(Still yet ignores you, but every nuance to his posture speaks to his profound rage towards you, his job, his dead wife, minorities he can’t even keep track of coherently, and whatever else is going on in that rat’s nest he calls a psyche.)

“Jim!”

“What!?” Jim yells, as he finally pulls his focus away from his task.

“Go fuck yourself!”

Pro tip: When doing this game with the real Jim, make fucking well sure you’re ready to duck whatever hand tool he’s using, because that shit is more than likely bound for your head.

It was not a healthy work place, but we sure did like to laugh. Because fuck Jim.

Settled

Sometimes I sit transfixed, consumed by conflicting feelings.

A great doom approaches.

Everything is as it should be.

These notions fight; seeking an equilibrium with each other, and I am disturbed by their struggle.

Yet I have come to realize, to sense, that these are not conflicting notions.

A great doom approaches, and this is as it should be.

Do we really deserve anything but?

Have we not earned it?