Thursday, January 17, 2008

Junk Culture
Opinion © 2008, by Guy L. Evans

January 17, 2008

When you think of junk, you think of inferior quality and diminished value. You also think of disposable. Junk music. Junk art. Junk television. Junk food. Junk cars. Junk language. Junk relationships.

Americans accept junk as normal. Everything they have is junk, of inferior quality and diminished value, and therefore disposable. They value nothing. They care for nothing (except, oddly, their pets). If you become even mildly displeased, get rid of it and get another one.

I was watching a show on PBS. They were reviewing the history of television shows from the late 1940’s to the 1980’s.

The show that stood out from all the other variety shows previous to it was Laugh In. For those of you old enough to remember it, Laugh In was very popular. It really started the trend in sound bite entertainment. But, Laugh In was, in a word, incoherent.

You can’t make a show out of stringing together twenty-four minutes of three- to ten-second sound bites. Yes, Laugh In was popular at the time. Can you find any re-runs of Laugh In on cable or satellite networks today? You can find the Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, and even the Twilight Zone. But, no Laugh In.

Junk is junk, and Laugh In was junk.

People still know how to sell junk, and other people still buy junk.

When it comes time to buy, though, ask yourself this: Does this help me, or does it just indulge me?

What do you think?

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Day
Opinion © 2007, by Guy L. Evans


I find the use of the term “Turkey Day” disconcerting. Maybe I need to adjust my expectations. So, here are my thoughts on the subject of Turkey Day.

The functionality of Turkey Day is in being proactive with regards to fun. Additionally, the cooking and serving of the Turkey Day meal can be accompanied with the watching and enjoyment of the Turkey Day television parades and football festivities on that day.

Indeed, the use of the term “Turkey Day” also has the proactive impact of making Americans more open-minded to diversity. I can envision a time when Independence Day will be “Hotdog Day”, Columbus Day will be “Pizza Day”, St. Patrick’s Day will be “Corned Beef and Cabbage Day”, and New Years Day will be “Face Down in a Pool of Your Own Vomit Day”. No more American jingoism and bigotry inherent in being proud of your country and your history.

Thus, the naming of important days after food items may be expanded so that every day can be named after some popular dish. I, myself, am looking forward to Raisin Bran Day, and I can hardly wait for Mac and Cheese Day. Oatmeal Breakfast Burrito Day is just around the corner.

Mmmm. Chocolate Cake Day. Yummy.

Of course, “Fruitcake Day” may occur more than once a year, depending on whether or not you’re happily excited.

It is clear to me, at this time, that saying “Turkey Day” instead of “Thanksgiving Day” is an impactful expression of how much Americans have grown.

The world has turned to crap. Think of all the greedy people who won’t share with those who are less fortunate. Doesn’t that piss you off?

But, tomorrow there’s turkey and taters! Let’s eat!!!!!

Seriously, folks. Turkey Day is for escaping reality, and for stuffing your face until you forget how mad you are things don’t go the way that you want them to.

Thanksgiving Day is for reminding us that for everything we have--our food, our homes, our freedom--someone worked hard to make it happen.

Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Thursday, January 18, 2007

How Controlling People Think
(or fail to think, as the case may be)
Opinion © 2007, by Guy L. Evans


Happy New Year to everyone. I hope your holidays were wonderful.

Controlling people are arbitrary. Control is arbitrary. They control because they believe that all consequences are arbitrary. They believe this because the consequences from their parents were always arbitrary. Arbitrary parents. Arbitrary children. Arbitrary decision-making.

The ideas that actions have consequences and that every person is responsible for his own actions do not occur to controlling people. In their minds, all consequences are arbitrary; therefore, no one is responsible for his own behavior. The “S**t Happens” bumper stickers illustrate this point.

They judge all people, things, and events based solely on whether they feel that they like or dislike the person, object, or event. Their determination of liking or disliking anyone or anything is strictly arbitrary. They often have no idea why they like or dislike anything. It’s just a feeling, and that feeling can change from moment to moment (e.g., “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”)

They never learn how to say, “I like this” or “I don’t like this”. Instead, they act out their feelings, often displaying irrational hostility.

Controlling people tend to be very self-controlling. They control themselves so that they don’t become the source of any problems. They control their moods, thoughts, and actions with the intent of convincing their inner critic that they are blameless for all things. Controlling people carry around an inner critic, usually an image of their critical, arbitrary parents. They substitute their parents’ reality for their own, and the inner critic stays with them for life.

To controlling people, blame is the ultimate truth. They believe that they have discovered the undeniable truth when they assign blame to someone, and that assigning blame is a matter of justice. To controlling people, justice demands that blame be justly assigned.

Controlling people don’t understand that blame is always arbitrary.

To controlling people, anything they don’t like is a problem. This gives them a very childlike quality. When something they don’t like happens, there is a problem.

To achieve the ends of justice, and to be blameless themselves, controlling people must blame all problems on someone other than themselves.

They associate the problem with some person. (This also applies to objects. In the minds of the controlling people, a person is no different from an inanimate object. Person and object are interchangeable ideas to them.)

They assign blame to the person. They think in terms of cause-and-effect. There was the effect (the problem), and there was a person associated with the problem; therefore, the person caused the problem. They think in terms of “you are causing a problem”.

Thinking that the person caused the problem, they try to control the person so that he can’t cause any more problems.

They believe that if you control the person, you control the problem and that if you eliminate the person, you eliminate the problem. In the minds of controlling people, the person is always the problem.

To controlling people, the idea that they may actually be part of the problem usually does not occur to them. They get target fixation--tunnel vision--and are incapable of coping with the problem by any means other than fight or flight (aggression, aversion, or distortion). They jump immediately into hostility mode, win-lose, run away, attack, dog eat dog, it’s either me or you, win at all costs, revenge, getting even, jealousy, etc.

In cases where controlling people blame themselves for their problems, the result may be drug abuse (drug abuse includes alcohol abuse), self-abuse, self-mutilation, or suicide. With the risks so high, it’s easy to understand why controlling people are intent of blaming others.

The greatest mistake that people make in problem solving is mistaking control for resolution. They believe that they have solved the problem when they have taken control of (what they believe to be) the source of the problem. They spend all their efforts trying to identify the source of the problem (by accusing, assigning blame, finding fault, discovering guilt, labeling, etc.), and then trying to control the source of the problem through aversion, aggression, or distortion.

Here are some ideas that may be helpful to controlling people:

  • Fire your inner critic. You need to be a helper to yourself, not a critic.

  • Eliminate blame. Stop blaming. Blame is the enemy of reason.

  • You have the right to feel your feelings. Feelings are involuntary. Feelings inform you of your condition; they don’t control you.

  • Positive self-talk. Stop blaming yourself. Learn to reward yourself for doing good. Be a friend to yourself, and you will learn to be a friend to others.

  • Learn to say, “I don’t like this” instead of “it’s all your fault”.

  • The person is never the problem; the problem is the problem. Focus on what you want to achieve instead of how you want other people to behave.

  • Your likes and dislikes are your responsibility.

  • Your behavior is your responsibility.

  • Other people’s behavior is not your responsibility.

  • Admit your losses and admit that you feel sorrow when you think about your losses. You aren’t weak or stupid or flawed for feeling sorrow.

  • Trying to control other people is much more stressful than simply identifying what you want to do.

  • Learn to listen to other people when they talk.

  • Learn to listen to yourself when you talk. Observe how you actually affect other people. Don’t be surprised when people don’t react the way you imagined they would.

  • Instead of imagining how you want other people to react to you, observe how they actually react to you.

  • Observe how the world really is, and then compare that to how you imagine you want the world to be.
I hope this helps.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Good Locks Make Good Neighbors
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

December 5, 2006

Do you lock your front door before you leave your house or apartment? Why? Don’t you know that you’re unfairly discriminating when you do that?

Just teasing. It’s silly to suggest that you’re unfairly discriminating against anyone when you lock your doors. You are fairly discriminating against everyone. And rightly so.

I would certainly object if someone entered my home and tried to confiscate my private property on the assertion that I am less needy than he is. I don’t care how needy anyone is, no person has the right to personally confiscate my property. That’s why I lock my house. It’s my stuff. I earned it. It’s mine. And you can’t have it.

Locking my door before I leave the house is an act of brute force. By locking the door, I bar entry to everyone, including myself if I forget to take my keys with me.

When I lock my doors, I want to make certain that I have the keys. I want to have control of when my doors are locked. I don’t want to hand over that control to government. It would be ludicrous to suggest that some government agency should be responsible for locking and unlocking my doors for me. Government can’t defend my safety every minute of every day. Nor can government defend my rights every minute of every day. I have to do that myself. I understand and accept my responsibility in this matter.

Security is the first concern of every household. Without security, neither life nor property has any value. Your stuff isn’t worth anything to you if you don’t have it, and you certainly don’t want to trust your security to strangers. Security is accomplished by force. Any person attempting to enter my house without my permission will have to use brute force to enter.

Every claim of every right must be backed with the credible threat of brute force. Like the mercenaries say, you can’t get paid if you’re dead. In the same manner, you can’t exercise your right to free speech if you’re pushing up daisies. Since all people are susceptible to death, it seems to me that the first rule of life is to survive. If any person uses deadly force against you, you risk being killed if you do not use sufficient force to defend yourself.

History demonstrates that those who have the power make the rules. Political power cannot be maintained without a credible threat of force. A credible threat includes having some force to use in the first place, and periodically demonstrating to friend and foe alike that you can and will use that force at your discretion.

In your daily life, you use the credible threat of force every day by locking your doors. In international relations, and in any other situation where there is no law enforcement, those who exercise force exercise the greatest influence.

The practical fact is that the relationship between nations is similar to the relationship between rival tribes or gangs. Force is the final tool by which gangs, tribes, and nations exercise influence. If you don’t have force, or if you don’t use the force you have, then you have less influence. You can’t hit a home run if you don’t swing the bat.

My experience is that it’s easier on everyone if you back your opponent down before a fight than it is to try to beat him once the fight starts. It’s also easier to keep your stuff locked up than it is to try to recover it after some creep has stolen it. A credible threat of force accomplishes this in both situations.

Being American, I prefer that America, for better or for worse, be the most influential nation on Earth. If we wait until America is perfect to exercise our influence in the world, then we will never exercise any influence.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What the Election Results Really Mean
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

November 9, 2006

Having birth-controlled themselves into the popular minority since 1973, Democrats now see their only chance of winning national elections by importing voters from Mexico.

The next six months will see a furious push by Democrats and their media mouthpieces to train the American people to accept Mexican nationals as voters. If this passes, get ready for President Clinton Part II.

There is a bright spot, however. I think that the Democrats and the media will pay a very severe price for this miscalculation. The American people sympathize with Mexican workers, but they don’t want to share power with them.

This puts Hillary in an un-winnable situation: If she supports voting rights for the very people she needs to win the 2008 election (Mexican nationals), then the other people she needs to win the election (Americans) will turn against her. For this reason, she will have to recruit other Democrats to do the dirty work for her so that she can remain unblemished.

This will be the big fight for the next six to twelve months. Watch for it.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Forgetting the Most Important Thing
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

November 3, 2006

The most important thing to remember in next Tuesday’s election is that no matter how bad the Republicans are, the Democrats are much worse.

“Different” doesn’t mean “better”.

Don’t be a dummy, America. Don’t trade bad for worse.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

P.S. Osama bin Laden was right about you, America. You don’t have the guts to fight a war. You would rather lose than fight.

Dear Critic
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

November 3, 2006

This is an open letter to all the critics out there (and in here).

Dear Critic,

When you criticize me...

What do you gain?
What do you lose?
What do you intend?
What do you expect?
What do you feel?
What do you think you sound like?
How do you think I should react to you?
How do you see that I react to you?
What do you think you are doing?
What are you doing?
Are you just amusing yourself?
Are you just indulging yourself?
Are you just emoting?
Do you just like to hear yourself talk?
Can you understand the harm you do to yourself, to others, to your reputation?
Can you understand that your criticism is actually an expression of FEAR?
What do you fear?
Do you fear criticism?
Is that why you criticize me?
Do you understand that when you criticize me you give me permission to criticize you, also?
Do you understand that you provoke the very criticism you fear?
Do you understand that you make your own misery?

Finally, dear critic, what good does your criticizing do me?

Why, no good at all.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Language Do You Speak?
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

October 25, 2006

Imagine a person who grew up in Japan. He has learned the language and the culture of Japan.

Now imagine that this same person moves to Brazil. He has not learned the language and the culture of Brazil.

What will happen to this person if he follows either of these two courses?

  1. He condemns the people of Brazil as stupid, malicious, and incompetent because they do not understand the language and culture of Japan. He thinks they are idiots because they do not understand him.

  2. He accepts that he is now among people who speak a different language and have a different culture. He also accepts that he can save himself a lot of trouble by learning their language and culture. And, he can save himself the greatest hardship by accepting that he has to learn to speak to them in a language that they understand.
Following the first course of action, the Brazilians may conclude that the person from Japan was insane. They wouldn’t be able to understand him. He would appear paranoid and hostile to them. If he attacked anyone, the Brazilians would probably try to put him in jail or deport him. If they felt he was a threat, they would try to contain him or get rid of him.

Following the second course of action, the Brazilians may conclude that the person from Japan is ignorant, but otherwise harmless. They might make fun of him at first, but as he demonstrated that he was not a threat to them and that he was making a good faith effort to understand their language and customs, they would probably come to accept him.

People who grow up learning the language and culture of blaming, criticizing, accusing, denigrating, and insulting find the culture of gratitude and appreciation as alien as the person from Japan finds Brazilian language and culture alien. The big problem for the blamers is that their first method of coping is to define other people as the source of the problem. They play an energetic game of “fault tag” (tag, it’s your fault that you don’t understand me), thereby avoiding any real chance of achieving mutual understanding.

If the person from Japan followed the first course of action, he would fail to understand his Brazilian neighbors and would blame the Brazilians for the problem. He would not admit that most of his failures could have been avoided by learning the language and the culture of the people around him. He would never learn that there is nothing wrong with him and there is nothing wrong with his new Brazilian neighbors. They just need to take some time learn each other’s language.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

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