Thursday, September 23, 2010


Stephen Colbert’s October 30th “Keep Fear Alive” Rally (along with Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” on the same day) got me thinking about us human beings. No one can deny that some of us are smart. We use our intelligence for many things good (landing on the moon, the iPhone) and many things bad (atom bomb, toilet car). Unfortunately, the people who exhibit the genius it requires to become an inventor, a doctor, a scientist, etc., are the exceptions when it comes to our species, not the rule. Most of us are idiots.  

Sometimes we use our intelligence to make crap.
Not surprisingly, these idiots are easily controlled by those with power. And the best way to control them is through fear. Too many times people read an article or watch a television program and simply accept the “facts” that are being told to them. They’re taught to question nothing from those who are preaching to them and whenever they are questioned themselves about their beliefs, they adopt an “Us vs. Them” mentality that makes them even more sedentary in their views.

My explanation for this is 1) bad parenting-- too many parents raise their children wanting them to be just like them and not allowing them to make any decisions on their own. This often creates a carbon copy child that has the same narrow minded point of view as the people who raised them-- and 2) Organized Religion-- religion is the ultimate cult when it comes this “follow everything, question nothing” mentality. Try having a conversation with someone where you question their religious beliefs. Within minutes, if not seconds, they will be upset and defensive. Whether you throw science or just common sense at them, by the end of the conversation they will believe in their faith even more than when they started and nothing you said will resonate with them. It's not a coincidence that most Republicans are uber-religious (or at least claim to be). They've been training to be a sheep all of their lives. 

His vote counts just as much as yours. 
This stubbornness is due to fear. Fear that what a person has believed for so long, whether it came from a parent or a pastor, isn’t true. And most people would rather be wrong and proud than right and humiliated. Usually people don’t even realize they are acting out of fear because they’ve been doing it for so long they believe it’s actually part of their personality rather than a simple knee jerk reaction that has been instilled in them since they were first told not to masturbate. 
 I dealt with a bout of fear myself earlier today, but luckily I was able to overcome it...

What the fuck? I thought to myself. My work has blocked Facebook!

Short of being fired, a worse thing couldn’t have happened regarding my job. Had they been monitoring me? Looking at all the sites I visit? Reading my Gchat conversations? No, I thought, if they were reading those I would have been fired days ago.

It wasn’t until I took my lunch break and heard on the radio that Facebook was down for not only me, but millions of people all over the country (and the world) who were undoubtedly forced to WORK instead of just being able to “work.” It seems the site is up and running again so surely productivity will soon drop off the map and people will spend the rest of their day complaining ABOUT Facebook ON Facebook. Can't wait...

Anyways, the scare did get me thinking about Big Brother and whether or not my work was spying on me. I only started last week but I am already engaging in a web surfing expedition or two whenever I need a break. We all do it to an extent, depending on how busy our days are. I think the creators of Ritalin are putting ADD in the water. Maybe that’s why Arrowhead tastes so bad. 

After working at about 7 or 8 different companies in the past 6 years (no, I don’t keep getting fired, I work freelance), I have come to the conclusion that the existence of any type of monitoring system at companies is just a myth, an old wives’ tale told to scare would-be-slackers away from the temptations of Facebook, fantasy football, online shopping, and TMZ. If these spying systems were in place, I would be standing in the unemployment line right now (unless the computer geek they put in charge simply got a kick out of my inappropriate e-mails and didn’t put a stop to them).

The Boogeyman.
Believing Big Brother a myth doesn’t mean that every time I start a new job that somewhere in the back of my mind there isn’t a small amount of fear that I’m being monitored. But rather than play it safe and stay off the Internet, I go straight for it and test it out. If they’re watching, I want to find out right away rather than suffer three months without updating my Facebook status out of fear. And here I am, still collecting a check.

It’s similar to how I behave at pool parties. Just like I put the myth of Big Brother watching my websites to the test, I also like to test the myth of that chemical people put in their pools to know if someone has peed in it. I can’t remember the last time I was in a pool and didn’t pee in it. Even if I’m not swimming, I usually find a way to pee in the pool. Some people find this gross and disturbing, but from what I’ve read pee isn’t toxic and the chlorine kills off whatever might be in it anyways. Oh, you have a salt-water pool, you say? Well, you’re welcome for the free refill. I won't let your scare tactics keep me from urinating wherever I feel like it.

In all my time testing out the pool chemical theory, I have never had the water around me turn any color other than a hardly noticeable diluted yellow. And in all my time procrastinating on the Internet at work, I’ve never had a suit from HR tell me to knock it off. So the moral of the story is, don’t believe everything you hear and don't give in to fear-- whether it’s from you parents, your boss, your "god" or Fox News. People like to spread fear to get you to do what they want. Don’t take what they say for granted. Sometimes you just have to test the waters yourself.

And yes, I wrote this blog at work. 


  1. Two thoughts:
    1) I can pretty much promise that with the number of pools I have pissed in throughout my life that the pool coloring myth is in fact a myth.
    2) Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I can assure you that the internet monitoring is definitely true. A group of people at my work were busted for surfing the internet all day; my client slammed down a stack of papers on the desk showing all the internet usage of my team from the past year as a negotiating tactic for fees.