a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Perception Is Reality

A friend of mine posted an intriguing question on  her Facebook page:

“What if everything you had ever believed turned out to be a lie?”

That made me stop and think for a moment and it also made me wonder, what if everything you had every thought turned out t be true? To be honest, I’m not sure which would be the more alarming to discover.

It won’t happen, of course, because for virtually all of us, the truth about life is somewhere in the middle.

Before I retired to become a mediocre landscape painter and a blogger, I was in strategic marketing. I was a branding and brand management specialist and was often invited to speak at conferences and to business about branding.

I particularly liked that part of my career because, quite frankly, nobody ever enjoyed hearing me talk more that I did. I know this is true because after speaking at a three-day, international conference in San Francisco, I was presented with an evaluation of how I ranked with my particular audience.

Attendees to the conference were given little white cards and invited to rank speakers on content and presentation skills using a scale from 1 to 10. They were also invited to write comments. I was gratified to discover that I had ranked 9/10 on average and that almost all of the comments were effusive in their evaluation.

But there is always one you remember beyond the others and I never forgot this particular comment.

“Excellent material, thorough, interesting and detailed from someone who obviously knows his stuff. It’s also obvious that nobody enjoys hearing him talk more than he does.”

The Lord giveth. . .and the Lord taketh away.

I see a lot of talk online about branding and the world has suddenly become full of ‘experts’ who know as much about branding as my dog and he doesn’t know all that much about it despite my best efforts to teach him. It’s not that they’re stupid or even that the things they talk about are wrong – it’s that they’re ideas are rooted in practical reality and that misses the entire point of branding.

Branding isn’t about reality – it’s all about perception. Because I’m somewhat visual, this is how I used to demonstrate what I meant when I would make a presentation. Continue reading

Stupidity On A Road To Nowhere

“To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

“Stupidity, outrage, vanity, cruelty, iniquity, bad faith, falsehood – we fail to see the whole array when it is facing in the same direction as we.
Jean Rostand

 

I was asked a great question the other day by one of my Twitter followers.

“Am I noticing stupidity more as I get older or is [it] becoming more common?”

I thought about that for moment because I don’t think I’m all that more aware these days than I was twenty years ago. I may be a little more experienced but I’m also a little more absent-minded. Consequently, it seems to me that it isn’t that I’ve become more astute at spotting stupidity as I grow older; it’s just so prevalent these days that you’d have to be – well – stupid, not to notice it.

There is so much of stupidity around that it is literally breath taking.

facebook-likeSomeone posted a comment on Facebook criticizing the mainstream media for showing sympathy for the two high school football players in the Steubenville rape but none for the victim. I tend to agree with him. I find it disgraceful that the victim, in cases like this, is too often victimized a second time by the courts, the media and the public.

The following day, however, he posted a second comment about a British tourist who was raped in India. He criticized her for being so stupid as to think she could cycle across India without getting hurt and blamed her for putting herself in a position where she could be attacked.

He failed to see that there is no difference between blaming a rape victim for dressing provocatively with blaming her for going on a cycling tour. The irony of his contradictory opinions was completely lost on him.

How does someone reconcile the contradiction in their own mind? Or perhaps they don’t. Perhaps they live in that mindless state that has become the biggest part of social media these days.

“I tweet, therefore I am.” Continue reading

The Confession

Product warning: This is a confession. If you’re strictly into politics, this post will bore you to tears so you may want to skip along to the next post at Blogging Tories or The Huffington Post.

I committed a cardinal sin yesterday. I forgot our wedding anniversary.

I don’t know how or why I could have forgotten it because I think about Maggie pretty much with every breath I take but somehow, the date escaped me.

In my own defense, I’ve been caught up in planning for our trip to Ireland and The Netherlands next week, become a bit obsessive about articles that needed writing for this blog and, of course, taxes. It’s income tax time and I not only had to take care of last year’s taxes but had the pleasure of being reassessed for three other years for which I had to refile as well.

Nothing gets in the way of romance like a tax auditor.

I didn’t offer those as excuses to Maggie; considering the importance of acknowledging our anniversary, they’re pretty lame so I did what only the truly guilty can do – I admitted my guilt and threw myself on the mercy of the court.

I got lucky. The court was merciful.

When I apologized, Maggie smiled, gave me a hug and said that it made up for her forgetting Valentine’s Day for pretty much the same reasons. She had simply become overloaded and the date slipped by unnoticed.

It got me thinking that we very often in our lives get so caught up in the day-to-day trivia that we think is important that we sometimes forget what is truly significant. It also reminded me that nothing is more important to me then Maggie and the life I share with her.

It was a wake-up call that my priorities were slipping out of whack and I needed to reclaim a balanced perspective.

We often do that to our lives. We allow ourselves to become wrapped up in things that we lose sight of other things that are more important. The days tick by, lived as if we had an unlimited supply and opportunities are lost that can never be reclaimed. Continue reading

The Politics of Dancing

“I know a lot of fancy dancers, people who can glide you ‘cross the floor.
They move so smooth but have no answers. . .”
Cat Stevens

It doesn’t seem to matter how often they get it wrong, nothing deters governments from forging ahead and making the same decisions and making the same mistakes over and over and over again. It’s unbelievable! It’s like you have to pass a stupidity test to run for office.

“Sorry. You have a brain. You’re over-qualified.  Candidacy for electoral office denied. Next!”

Most of these people, irrespective of party or even nation, can’t think beyond the end of the last idea they had let alone the end of their noses. Almost all of them haven’t the strategic vision to plan anything beyond next Tuesday.

They don’t, so much, trip over the law of unintended consequences as wallow in it and seem to spend more of their time and our money addressing the problems created by their previous decisions than they did on the original issue.

What’s happening in Cyprus is a perfect example.

The government of Cyprus didn’t ask for a bailout because it had over-spent and was in fear of default. Cyprus has been running surplus budgets for years. The problem was that their major banks were at high risk of default and the government was afraid that without support from the EU, those banks would fail and that would devastate the country. Guess why the banks are in trouble?

They hold a significant amount of toxic bonds and loans from Greece; bonds and loans they were encouraged, along with other lenders, to make by the EU when the EU decided to bail out Greece. In other words, the way the EU handled the Greek bailout has not only created an economic and social mess in that country, it has exacerbated another mess in Cyprus and it is the people of Cyprus who will pay for it.

We pay more now to government than to anyone else in our lives unless we have a drug or gambling problem. Even there, the government is horning in on the gambling action with dozens of lotteries and casinos and is moving in on the illegal drug action with proposals to legalize and control the sale of marijuana and opening and funding safe injection sites for heroin and crack users. Continue reading

It’s Time For Some Progressives To Get Over Themselves

“Virtue needs a director and guide. Vice can be learned even without a teacher.”
– Seneca 

I think that quote summarizes better than most, the attitude of many progressive politicians. They believe that virtue must be ‘managed’ while vice is the natural state of humanity. Along with that opinion, of course, comes the inevitable belief that only progressives can provide that guidance and social management the rest of us so desperately need.

I think there are far too many people in the world who are taking themselves just a touch too seriously these days and it’s time for them to get over themselves and move on.

quc3a9bec

It is ironic that the very people who worry the most about cultural genocide are the ones committing it on other languages and cultures within their own province.

In Quebec, the separatists have had a couple of kicks at the can and been told each time by the citizens of the province that they don’t wish to separate from Canada. You lost folks – get over it and move on. It’s like the battle of the Plains of Abraham – the English won, the French lost. It’s over. Get over it and move on.

They won’t, of course. Instead they’ll keep raising the bar of intolerance and discrimination out of some twisted idea that the best way to stop what they perceive is genocidal erosion of their language is commit political linguist genocide on fellow citizens whose mother tongue is other than French.

It’s a situation so absurdly stupid that it has gone far beyond hypocrisy and entered the realm of political insanity.

What makes the situation in Quebec even more absurd is that progressive government after progressive government has tripped all over itself to kowtow to a provincial leadership that is deliberately trampling the rights of fellow Canadian citizens.

Irony, or is it hypocrisy, is lost on progressives it seems.

In fact, it’s pretty much as absurd as progressives who have a pathological hatred of Steven Harper and who are constantly trying to figure out how to beat him in the next election. They’re so lost in their pathology they don’t even know anymore why they hate him.   Continue reading

The Spirit Of The Game

Fans in Greece rioting during a soccer game in 2012

Fans in Greece rioting during a soccer game in 2012

In January, 73 people were killed in Eygpt during a riot following a soccer game in which the home team lost. In 2012, in Greece, a soccer game had to be called because a riot erupted in the stands after some fans set fire to their seats and they started fighting among themselves.

And, of course, British soccer fans have a long and noble tradition of rioting before, during and after soccer games both at home and across Europe to the point where they are banned from attending games in some European cities.

Living in Canada, where such lack of restraint is foreign to us, it is difficult for many to understand how any group of people could become so carried away over something as innocuous as a game – unless, of course, it has something to do with hockey.

riot1

Only in Canada would a rioter be sensitive enough to block out an expletive on a sign before rioting

In 2000 and again in 2011, Vancouver Canucks fans rioted following NHL games. The riot in 2011 followed the loss by the home team to the Boston Bruins in the final game of the Stanley Cup. It resulted in dozens of arrests damages in the seven figure range.

It seems to me that it’s one thing to cheer on the team but quite another to be willing to loot, pillage and lay waste the land just because your team didn’t win a game. How bereft of meaning does someone’s life have to be in order to cause them to invest so much of themselves into professional sport that they turn into the barbarian horde when their team loses?

I know, I know, once these things start a kind of mob mentality takes over and one punch leads to another and one broken window and stealing stuff from the store seemed like a good idea at the time because everyone was doing it.

Balls! Continue reading