I used to think any form of growth was unsustainable. Just like a perpetual motion machine it’s one of those things that’s impossible. (One of my favorite words.) Then, just now, sitting here, one of my brain cells did something. (It can happen.) For lack of any originality on my part let’s call it my latest theory, k?
Tom’s Theory #42 – Societal Asshole Leech Theory (SALT)
The percentage of leech-based humans is growing over time. Or, the more advanced a civilization the higher the amount of leechage.
As far as we know, there is no causal relationship with the number of pirates known to exist, but admittedly further testing is required. This is a work in progress. (I was on a break.)
98% of all email is spam. Of those messages, 98% attempt to deceive or infect. (The rest merely sell growth products like Viagra, the greatest achievement of our civilization and, dare I say, the entire universe and space-time continuum.) My web server is probed and attacked by cyber-terrorists (mostly from China and Russia) 36 hours a day. There’s an entire subset of humanity that does not have jobs and produces nothing of value yet still has food, shelter, cigarettes, pets, cars, smartphones and internet access.
Is this amount of leechage really on the rise or is it merely my touchy empirical perceptions?
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I am The Niggle
And I’m here to say
I bore in your skull
Every hour of the day
You wanna live your life?
You wanna get away?
I’m gonna stalk you down
I’m gonna make you pay
I’m a patient guy
I got plenty o’ time
No matter how long it takes
I’m gonna own your mind
Introducing my good buddy The Niggle. He’s an ornery rambunctious sort. Invisible and sneaky, at any given moment in time there are literally thousands of him latched on tight, gnawing at our skulls, always desperately trying to get in. Fun stuff, huh?
The Niggle is the price we pay for this modern life. He hangs on dearly when we look around and ask, “What gives? Is this all there is?”
He’s the background highway noise that permeates our fancy homes. A little drill bit of omnipresent pressure that pushes us one step closer to the edge. Our brains may have long since given up and deemed those road sounds as mere “white noise,” but even if we’re no longer conscious of it, it’s always there, chipping away. Chip, chip, chip.
The dictionary describes a niggle as something that causes “slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort, or anxiety.” But, to me, he’s a modern day superhero of goodness and fun.
What other forms does this little devil take? Read on. He might even be working through this very blog post.
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“Pleased to meet you. I’m Tom.”
“Hi ho, Tommy Boy.”
“Actually, if you don’t mind, I prefer Tom.”
“Whatever you say, Tommy Boy.”
Need we hear much more to identify the asshole here? Fuck political correctness, what the hell do you call a person who won’t bend in the slightest to respect the feelings of another person?
“It’s a free country, pal! This political correctness is killing us. I can call you whatever I want. Ever hear of a little thing called Freedom of Speech? What are you going to do about it?”
“Sure. Ever hear of a little thing called You’re Puss-Filled Leaking Douchebag?”
So yeah. If I can, and it’s no skin off my nose, I’ll make a little extra effort to respect the wishes and feelings of others. That, in and of itself, makes me an utter alien on this planet. By now we all know how much I like to be different.
Thus begins a new meme here in the Abyss. I hope you will like it. I’m calling it: “What if an indigenous peoples’ tribe was like our modern world?”
I know. That’s a l-o-n-g name. And also, why the over-the-top political correctness here?
We all know it’s rude to refer to Native Americans as “Indians.” Hell, thanks to Freshly Pressed, I recently learned that someone from the actual country of India didn’t like the term, either.
I’m just trying to be respectful and word the question in the right way.
So let’s now try to answer that question: What if an indigenous peoples’ tribe was like our modern world?
We came across the tribe and saw something extraordinary. It was rather ordinary except for one man. This man was singled out for opulent riches. He was surrounded by women who fawned over him, fanning him as he relaxed, and occasionally feeding him pieces of fruit. He was adorned with more gold than anyone else in the village. But he wasn’t the Chief. He wasn’t an Elder. As far as we could tell, he wasn’t a leader or special in any obvious way.
We asked one of the people, “What is special about that rich man, there?”
“That’s our forecaster. He is, by far, the best guesser of the future prices of pork bellies. He’s amazingly accurate.”
We happened to overhear a conversation between a sick man and the village healer. The healer spoke.
“I see you have no health insurance. However, I will save your life. In return, you must promise to to bring to me everything you kill, gather or make for the next year.”
And yet this man was highly respected by the men. And women wanted to have sex with him.
He did not work and people brought him all the food he could eat. They made clothes and things for him. They maintained his home. Everyone sacrificed so the man could prosper.
Then a day came where all the people of the village assembled. Some of the men went to the field while others watched. The popular young man was among them.
They began to play a game while the reminder of the tribe watched.
It turns out that the young man was the very best at hitting a little ball with a stick.
Can you think of any others?
SHOWING HERE! Lot 666, then: a manifesto in pieces. Some of you may recall the strange affair of the Unabomber: a mystery never fully explained. We are told ladies and gentlemen, that this is the very manifesto which figures in the famous disaster. Our workshops have restored it and fitted up parts of it with a series of tubes for the new electric internet, so that we may get a hint of what it may look like when re-assembled. Perhaps we may frighten away the ghost of so many years ago with a little illumination.
I put my newspaper down and shook my head in amazement. “The Federal government is selling off shit from Ted Kaczynski?” I shouted incredulously.
Then, belatedly, I added, “I gots to get me some of that!”
Yes, the Unabomber is back in the news. Even though he’s locked away in the slammer (a federal maximum-security prison in Florence, Colorado) serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole, the Unabomber can still bring his 15 minutes of fame.
The Justice Department has announced that it will auction 51 lots of personal property that belonged to the Unabomber, including a sweatshirt with hoodie, sunglasses, and the original handwritten copy of his manifesto. The Justice Department apparently discarded the notion of selling the items together as part of a “Unabomber Starter Kit,” instead opting to sell them as separate lots.
The auctions will have no reserve bids and no price ceilings. One way or another, the items will be sold, at whatever price the “market” is willing to bear.
Being a curious sort, I once located Kaczynski’s “manifesto” online and tried to read it for myself. The actual title is “Industrial Society and its Future.” I’m not ashamed to admit it was a tough read. I found it very hard to follow and ended up reading very little of it. My sense is that if you’re going to go to all that effort to call attention to yourself, your manifesto better damn well be easy to read. Know your audience!
Here’s an excerpt from the manifesto:
The Psychology of Modern Leftism
Almost everyone will agree that we live in a deeply troubled society. One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism, so a discussion of the psychology of leftism can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems of modern society in general.
But what is leftism? During the first half of the twentieth century leftism could have been practically identified with socialism. Today the movement is fragmented and it is not clear who can properly be called a leftist. When we speak of leftists in this article we have in mind mainly socialists, collectivists, “politically correct” types, feminists, gay and disability activists, animal rights activists and the like. But not everyone who is associated with one of these movements is a leftist. What we are trying to get at in discussing leftism is not so much a movement or an ideology as a psychological type, or rather a collection of related types. Thus, what we mean by “leftism” will emerge more clearly in the course of our discussion of leftist psychology.
Even so, our conception of leftism will remain a good deal less clear than we would wish, but there doesn’t seem to be any remedy for this. All we are trying to do is indicate in a rough and approximate way the two psychological tendencies that we believe are the main driving force of modern leftism. We by no means claim to be telling the WHOLE truth about leftist psychology. Also, our discussion is meant to apply to modern leftism only. We leave open the question of the extent to which our discussion could be applied to the leftists of the 19th and early 20th century.
The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern leftism we call “feelings of inferiority” and “oversocialization.” Feelings of inferiority are characteristic of modern leftism as a whole, while oversocialization is characteristic only of a certain segment of modern leftism; but this segment is highly influential.
If that doesn’t warp your brain then nothing will.
My manifesto is still in progress. I hope to begin shopping it to publishing houses soon.
The modern era. As a people we know one thing for sure. We’re the best civilization this planet has ever seen. Hells ya.
And, by no small coincidence, we are the #1 “hey look at me” civilization of all time.
Seriously. Right now. Stop reading this and look at me. I mean it.
It used to be vanity books but that took way too much damn effort. These days it’s as easy as pie. Web sites, twitter, facebook, cell phones, and more, all give voice to a generation that screams, “Hey, look at me!” Hell, there are even some asshole pontificating bloggers who want you to read what they have to say as if they are interesting. (Hey! Don’t look at me that way!)
Naturally just putting out your wit and wisdom for the world to enjoy is usually not quite enough. Not by a long shot. After all, some folks might decide to not listen and/or not pay attention. What the devil should be done about that? Being ignored is unacceptable.
This is where our good, good friend “interrupting” rides in to save the day. Oh yeah.
The principle behind this is simple: Whatever I have to say is of Ultimate Importance and whatever you have to say is just a bunch of bullshit hot air.
You might even say this is the prime directive of our modern era. No doubt it is one of the most basic building blocks of a society that consists solely of assholes.
Let’s try a real life example. Pretend you are doing what you do best, talking about yourself and the painstakingly detailed minutia of your day, yet the other party tries to speak and interject a thought. What should you do?
Interrupt them, that’s what! Forcefully and with malice. Think of it as a conversation beheading.
Most of the time your audacious efforts at interrupting will win the day and the other party will submit. Sometimes, though, this won’t work. After all, they are most likely trying to simultaneously be as big of an asshole as you. They probably think they are important (like a special and unique snowflake) and expect your world to revolve around what they have to say.
Well, if interrupting is good, then even more interrupting is even better! Re-interrupt them. And, here’s the key strategy: Do it louder!
It’s amazing how effective a simple technique like raising your voice can be. This will shut down all but the most hardy of verbal opponents (aka your audience).
I’ve personally seen masters of this at work. Watching two black belt interrupters go at it can be fascinating. But don’t forget to bring your ear plugs! Sometimes the increase in volume can get intense enough to cause hearing loss.
The moment when one of the sparring beasts finally backs down can be one of the most spectacular as ever seen in nature. Even Mutual of Omaha hasn’t properly captured it on film yet. One party is victorious and the other submits and goes into a mode known as, “Whatever, fuckhead. You think I’m going to listen to you???”
I bet if you hone your powers of observation you just might be able to witness this phenomenon as you go throughout your day.
For those of you ready to take things to the next level, to be world-class interrupters, here is a special web site just for you. Now go out there and seize the say!