Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
I have a rule against using George Carlin’s “seven words you can’t say” in my headlines (video behind link is not safe for work, in case you need such a warning). In the tiny text, I figure it’s okay to go ahead and say things like “Asshole Maker.” Anyway, I was thinking this morning around five o’clock, heading southbound on I-680…gee, I can’t imagine why…how assholes are made. Isn’t that what really bothers us about assholes? It isn’t that the assholes are there, or that we encounter them. We should expect this. We’re all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, who got kicked out of the Garden of Eden because they were a couple of assholes. And I think deep down everyone realizes that. So we’re bothered when we meet assholes, but the existence of the asshole is not what bothers us.
The three rules about this, of which I’ve gradually become more and more conscious over a great deal of time…like, the last twenty, thirty years…are these…
1. How to make an asshole. There are certain social-interaction rules that make assholes assholes. They may be poorly-thought-out social taboos, or poorly-thought-out traffic regulations, or poorly-thought-out tax polices. Or lack of such rules. There is some negative-incentive structure that rewards assholes, punishes non-assholes, or fails to punish assholes. This is what makes our teeth grind together; this is what causes us angst. We know, when we meet an asshole, we’re seeing just an echo of the real problem, which is the incentive problem. The asshole-making rules.
2. Who makes assholes. There are certain people walking around who lay these asshole-rules down. These are asshole-makers. They, themselves, might not be assholes at all. A lot of them are actually quite sweet. But they have this problem, you see: They’re not very nice to people who are nice to them. They’re much nicer to assholes. It’s like they have this weird polarity-reversal going on. So they go around making assholes out of non-assholes, because they’re pretty darn hard on non-assholes, and they save all their social-rewards and their adulation and their respect for assholes, so when they’re around, everyone else wants to turn into an asshole, even if they’re not naturally inclined to be assholes.
3. The hardcore addiction. I’ve been nurturing a slowly-settling-in understanding that the asshole-makers have a bigger and more deeply seated psychological problem than any of the assholes they make. I have yet to see one even start to change direction, toward the light. Not even close. I can’t say that about the actual assholes. Now and then, you see an asshole say to himself “Oh God, I’ve been such an asshole” and start to reform. You’ll notice asshole makers don’t do that. There’s no reason for them to. It’s probably like alcoholism: First step toward healing is to admit you have a problem. You lay down just one single incentive that goes in the right direction, makes life easier for non-assholes or provides a much-needed challenge or rebuke to the assholes — the assholes are fine with it, but the asshole-makers start squawking. They do more than that, they’ll gouge your eyes out if you’re not careful. Starving wild animals being kept away from the beef steak. Asshole-makers will not quit the asshole-making lifestyle. And the older I get, the more certain I am that they, more than the assholes, are the real problem. Think of Count Dracula going around biting people turning them into vampires. The “freshman vampires” are not the real problem, Dracula is the real problem. These are Asshole Dracula people.
And we see this in politics. There’s a certain political party that supports asshole-making-rules, across the board; it is the one thing that their domestic policies have in common with their foreign-relations policies. At home, and overseas, assholes are to be rewarded for being assholes, and non-assholes are to be punished for not being assholes. You’ll notice, as new issues arise, adherents to this certain political party continue to sustain the trend: The incentive systems are to be kept cockeyed and FUBAR’d. They’re absolutely consistent on this. They’ve made a way of life out of this. They won’t give it up. That’s the way asshole-makers are.
I don’t think any of these realizations are especially ground-breaking. I mean, it’s just common sense, right? If a toddler starts acting like an asshole, that may be regrettable, but it’s really part of the definition of “toddler,” isn’t it? Isn’t that why we call them “toddler rules”? It’s the getting-away-with-it, the growing into age five, ten, twenty and still behaving the same way, that’s a disgrace. And the disgrace is for the parents. Oh sure, by the time the asshole is thirty-five or so, or maybe fifty, possibly being elected President of the United States, you have to think — you know, poor upbringing excuses only so much. But be that as it may, when the two-year-old is acting like a complete creep, polite society still expects the parents to intervene. Prevention is cheaper than cure.
We can survive our assholes. They’re called “assholes,” in the first place, because everybody has one. Isn’t that it? I’ve always thought so. We’re all assholes at some time or another. It’s the people who reward the assholes for being assholes, that are the real problem. Their behavioral aberrations are more destructive, more definable, more dysfunctional; and, their addiction runs much deeper.
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