25 Simple Things…..

10 Jan

25 Simple Things
You Can Do
To
Mind Your Own Goddamned Business

1) Keep in mind that, by historical standards, your strict vegetarian diet makes you a malnourished crank. Nobody wants to hear the details.
2) Your belief in the equivalence of Animal and Human life is a modern religious aberration. Your lectures on the immorality of beef and leather make other people as uncomfortable as you feel when cornered by a ranting Fundamentalist Baptist. Shut up.
3) That really great pop-psyche article you read in the Sunday supplement was written by someone with a degree in journalism, not psychology. They compressed the off-the-cuff remarks of the dozen or so experts they talked to, and got most of the details wrong. Do the world a favor; don’t spread it.
4) Similarly; no matter how long you have been in therapy, unless you have taken courses and gotten the appropriate certificates, you are not a therapist. This culture is as swamped with pop-psyche as parts of Holland used to be with seawater, and we all spout some of it just keeping our lungs clear, but to whatever degree possible stop practicing without a license.
5) The EPA report on “environmental tobacco smoke” – which was voided by a federal court for exaggerating the dangers in a gross and impolitic manner – says that the highest concentration of “secondhand smoke” expected in the real world is the rough equivalent of smoking two fifths of a cigarette per day. Thus; if you live and work in the smokiest of environments you have the equivalent of a two and four-fifths cigarette a week habit, when as a rule it takes about ten years of smoking a pack a day to get cancer. The man smoking at the table next to you is not giving you cancer, any more than your taste in loud disco music is causing his brain to hemorrhage. Get off your high horse.
6) If you have a burning desire to see the next generation taught the principals of Buddhism, Marxism, Paganism, Atheism, Nudism, Judaism, or some form of Christianity…..have some kids. Otherwise, flake off. Parenting is hard enough without know-it-all buttinskis putting their two cents in.
7) If you don’t like what is printed, filmed, and broadcast in this culture there are a lot of things you can do short of resorting to fascism. Organize boycotts. Start up your own publishing firm or movie studio. Support what you like and don’t buy what you don’t. America has a population of 275 million or so; there’s bound to be a niche market that suits your tastes. But stay away from censorship if at all possible. Censorship does not put the decision in your hands, it puts it in the hand of the government. And governments have notoriously bad taste.
8) If you feel moved to protest some action of the government or aspect of society; do so in an orderly manner. Don’t throw things, scream in peoples’ faces, or block traffic. You have a right to protest, and the rest of us have a right to ignore you.
9) Similarly; if your big mouth gets you fired, because you constitute an embarrassment to your employer, tough. You have an absolute right to speak your mind. You also have an absolute right to deal with the consequences. Freedom of speech means that the Government may not punish you for speaking out of turn. Your fellow citizens are under no such constraints.
10) By the same token, a private institution has a right to impose a speech code on its members. That specifically includes colleges, unless they are state operated. If a college speech code offends you, don’t go there….and feel free to ridicule the college. Colleges shouldn’t have speech codes designed to stifle debate, but they have a legal right to them. The way to kill such codes it to patronize colleges that don’t have them, and to withhold alumni donations if your old Alma Mater has succumbed to the rot. Trying to club them with the First Amendment is a misuse of the Bill of Rights, and probably won’t work.
11) Your sexuality is your business. I don’t want it to be mine. Please don’t rub my nose in it. I don’t mean you shouldn’t hold hands with, or kiss, your lover on the street. That’s affection, and if your choice of lover bothers me, I’ll keep it to myself. That is called getting along with the neighbors. That said, I don’t want to see your pierced nipples. I don’t want to see your bondage costume. I don’t want to find myself wondering what personal kink leads you to dress up in a chartreuse Nun’s habit. And I especially don’t want to find you playing “hide the salami” in a public place. I will extend you the same courtesies. I’m 50 and overweight. You don’t want to imagine me nude, and I feel the same way about you. Monkeys display and rut in the open. Doing so may be perfectly “natural”, but so is joining the monkey band in tearing monkeys who are different into strips. We are supposed to be more evolved than that. Mind your own business in this case by not making it mine.
12) Leave my vices alone. Maybe you don’t smoke, or don’t drink, or don’t shoot up. Fine. Unless my bad habits directly impact your health or property, leave them be. As damaging as tobacco, alcohol, or heroin may be to society, buttinskiism is worse. One would have hoped that the farce of Prohibition would have taught us this. Apparently not.
13) If the way people drive their SUVs annoys you, join the club. It bothers me too. Neither of us has the right to demand that SUVs be outlawed. We could insist that anyone who drives an SUV should have to take their drivers’ test in an SUV. That would take care of the fools who take up parts of two lanes because they don’t know where their wheels are.
14) If you don’t like the effect that large money contributions have on elections, don’t vote for people who accept them. Better still, organize with like minded people and make some donations of your own. Campaign Finance Reform is censorship of a particularly dangerous sort, and doesn’t work worth a curse besides.
15) If you don’t like the way your town or municipality chooses to celebrate some religious holiday, either organize a committee to erect decorations on whatever days are important to you, or move. Your right to disbelieve in the Easter bunny does not extend to insisting that others pretend in public to agree with you.
16) The relatively free market in a Capitalist society is the most inclusive decision making process imaginable. If there is a market for anything, it will exist and be for sale. If there isn’t a market for it, passing a law requiring that the State make sure it is available  is fascism, pure and simple. Well meaning fascism, perhaps, but Fascism none the less. Your desire for solar power does not give you the right to spend your neighbors’ money on same.
17) If you feel you must march, or gather, in protest, be careful of the message you are sending. For decades now every Gay Pride event I have ever seen or heard of has included persons whose costumes and behavior range from catastrophically bad taste to outright kink. Yet Gays are seemingly unaware that the message they are sending by this tiresome game of Shock the Squares is that their Gay Pride consists of being proud of adolescent excess and public perversion. They may say that they want public acceptance, but they don’t behave that way. The same is sadly true of too many other protest groups, with special emphasis on the current crop of anti-war protester. These seemingly cannot grasp that calling a fairly middle-of-the-road President a Nazi necessarily alienates anyone who ever had to deal with the real thing, as well as anyone with an imagination who has ready any moderately realistic accounts of the Final Solution.
18) When at the movies, don’t loudly opine about the special effects, or give your companions information about the ending. If that’s what you need to do to enjoy the film, wait for it to come out on DVD, and then have a party at home.
19) The world is not a phone booth. Walking around chattering non-stop into your cell phone in loud tones gives the people around you more information than they want or should have. And walking around with that Star Trek thingummy in your ear, chattering away, makes you look like you are off your meds.
20) I suppose that there are places (high school parking lots come to mind) where plying your car stereo so loudly that the bass notes jar everybody within a block radius is socially acceptable. Residential neighborhoods are not among them.
21) The chance that you have discovered a workable Philosophy for promoting World Peace and General Prosperity and Happiness concise enough to fit on a bumper-sticker is so small as to be effectively non-existent, and failed attempts are almost always smarmy, condescending, and trite. If you see a bumper sticker that makes you feel smug, do the world a favor. Don’t buy it..
22) No person without inhibitions is fit for polite society. Please develop some.
23) Leave fat people alone. How they choose to eat is none of your business. Claiming that it is because they cost the taxpayers money for health care is a weak argument at best, especially when you lobbied for broader health care in the first place (and many of you did). Nit picking other people’s diets is something for their mothers to do, not you.
24) Most especially, leave fat children alone. I suppose it is remotely possible to imagine a diet imposed on children by their parents that would be worse for them in the long run than being placed in Foster Care. I don’t think it’s all that likely, though. Either look to you own kids, or if you don’t have any, shut up.
25) If you really hate America, its history and traditions, please leave. The phenomenon of “the idiot who praises in enthusiastic tone, all centuries but this and every country but his own.” was a cultural annoyance of long standing when The Mikado was first performed in 1885. It has not become one iota more welcome in the one hundred twenty some-odd years since.
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