Unserious

Saturday, January 29, 2011
One of the things that make me stabby (or shovel-y, if you prefer) is when people attempt to push their completely unserious ideas into a serious situation or conversation. It's almost like a corollary to the Dunning-Kruger effect, whereby someone who is completely unqualified to comment or participate in a specific conversation insists on pushing their way in, spouting incredible nonsense and turning the entire thing into a huge joke.

This irks me because while dumbasses who are chewing the fat with their equally dumb friends have a limited impact on public discourse and the direction of our country, such incidences appear to be on the rise in public life. Leaving aside the Shes Who Will Not Be Named, it's frickin' everywhere, and it's making me wish I had the necessary survival skills to live in the Alaskan interior with no contact with the outside world.

But since I don't have those skills (and I consider it a hardship to even spend the night somewhere where I can't shave my legs and wash my hair - I've done my time in the field, thankyouverymuch), instead I will list the things that will automatically label people as "unserious" in my mind, and thus not worthy of my consideration:
  1. You think astrology has a scientific basis, and that the recent debate surrounding precession proves it. Whaa...?
  2. You think there's some efficacy associated with homeopathy. It's water, you dumbshit.
  3. Your political hero doesn't understand that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are not the same document, and that one is the law of the land, and one is not.
  4. Your political hero has no grasp of American history. At all.
  5. You're an Ayn Rand apologist. Seriously - she was a hypocritical harpy with megalomaniacal tendencies. Emotionally mature people outgrow this sort of nonsense in early adulthood. Please join us.
  6. You don't understand that "fascist" is a right wing position, not a liberal one. 
  7. You think that "Ghost Hunters" and other paranormal reality shows actually have some basis in reality. Really?
  8. You believe the entire American government is just one huge conspiracy whose only goal is to hide the imminent alien invasion/the cure for cancer/the REAL culprit behind the 9/11 attacks/fill in the blank. Seriously? The government's incompetencies are legion - and you think they can keep those kinds of secrets?
  9. You think mental illness or homosexuality is a failure of will rather than a result of biology. 
I think I need to give myself an attitude adjustment before I hurt someone.

12 comments:

Random Michelle K said...

I was majorly worried by the start of this post. Because I am the most unserious person I know (not personally knowing Robin Williams).

Which I suppose tells you something about me, that I immediately parsed "unserious" as levity.

Which leads to to perhaps recommend MY unserious solution. When at all possible, take NOTHING seriously.

Nathan said...

I'm glad Michelle wasn't the only one who thought you might be talking about them. Now that I'm over that, let me prove the point by letting you know I had to read that sentence about Ayn Rand 5 times before I realized you weren't accusing her of having megalomaniacal testicles.

Oh...that's different.

Anne C. said...

Heh. When I mentioned Rand to you in a comment to a previous post, I actually removed the word "immature" in reference to her beliefs because I didn't want you to think I was calling you immature. (I wanted to focus on the humor of a whole book devoted to that 'screw you' attitude.)
I find it delightful that we had the same thought. :)

Janiece said...

Michelle, there's a big difference between refusing to take yourself seriously, and refusing to give serious thought to weighty matters.

And "megalomaniacal testicles" is my new favorite phrase.

Phiala said...

I study astrology, have spent a lot of time on it, and would happily provide your horoscope.

There. I've injected astrology into an otherwise serious conversation. Heh.

I'm not kidding, but. I study surviving medieval and Renaissance texts on the subject (mostly in translation, as my Latin is abominable), as a means of understanding a major component of the medieval worldview, an enormous contribution to the development of science, and because I'm fascinated by the Ptolemaic system (earth in the center) as an example of a scientific theory that fits all the available facts and just ain't so.

But as an actual predictive tool? Bwa-ha-ha! It has as much or as little validity as any other system based on random number generation (cards, coin flips, etc), but the random numbers are provided by the planets instead. In all such cases the randomized predictions are vague enough that the prognosticator can slant them in whatever direction will make the client most willing to come back and pay more money.

But incidentally, medieval astrology is much more involved and more interesting than the modern sun signs approach,and was an academic discipline requiring years of training in mathematics and astronomy. My study of the subject has included learning how to do it, because that's the only way to understand something.

I hope that any induced stabbiness didn't last past the first paragraph. :)

Janiece said...

Phiala, studying a historical worldview for the purposes of broadening your education does not engender stabbiness.

Although I have to admit, your first paragraph did plunge me into bizzaro-world for a minute. A science Ph.D who actually believes in astrology. My head almost exploded.

Phiala said...

Hee. I did it right: trying to induce that moment of "Huh?" on an otherwise-dull Sunday morning. :)

And no, I didn't expect you or any of the regulars to have any problem with my actual aims and methods. It just sounds so strange...

John the Scientist said...

I agree with your entire list, but I have one more:

Anyone who belives that the entire medical establishment is ignoring data on vaccine safety in order to what? Get their $3 dispensing fee from the state? Make their friends in the pharma industry rich on a 2% margin product? What exactly would be the motivation that doesn't turn the entire medical profession into a bunch of Nazis? Anyone who talks about the vaccine conspiracy needs to put on clown make-up and deliver their speeches under the big top.

Janiece said...

John, I couldn't agree more.

Vagabond said...

So, if I wanted to take a homeopathic approach to conducting an astrological analysis of Ayn Rand's fascist tendencies masking a leftist metaphor for the pursuit of happiness by denizens of the spirit world engaged in a Bilderburg type conspiracy to retrain societal misfits you wouldn't want to talk about it? Why the hell not?

Tom said...

Janiece, your list plus JTS's addition is my list! And I love how you worked SWSNBN into it, too. Big SEG.

Janiece said...

John, you have a point I neglected to confirm. Everyone knows that Big Pharma is milking HIV and AIDS, not vaccines. Oh, and conspiring to keep the HIV vaccine out of the public, so they can continue to do so.

That, too.