Another one down

By which I mean another evening mostly vanished in unwinding after work with nothing productive done. I’ve been on a kind of informal social media vacation for a while now, and don’t see that changing for a while yet. It’s… nice.

See, I’m realizing more and more that my tolerance for stupid is fast approaching negative levels. I really do not suffer fools gladly, but being about as conflict-averse as you can get and still be breathing, my usual method of dealing with them is to get the heck out. The absence of migraine-inducing levels of idiocy draping across my feeds is good for me.

Unfortunately, my definition of idiocy doesn’t match with the rest of the world, so if I was allowed to be the arbiter of too stupid to live, global population would be reduced by something like 90%. I’m aware this is not a good thing, so I avoid those impulses.

This does give me something of a handicap when it comes to writing. I can’t write dumb. I just can’t. Ignorant, yes, even willfully ignorant. Plain stupid, not so much. It’s something I’ve tried, but it just doesn’t work for me. Sadly, this also means that when someone else writes stupid characters – whether they meant it that way or not – I get irritated with the characters and the books.

Seriously, being a bear of excess brain is as much if not more of a handicap sometimes than being a bear of very little brain. The bear of very little brain is at least cute and friendly where I’m rather more prickly with a tendency to weird people out.

Anyway. It’s a lot like being almost good enough a musician to play in professional ensembles. What you learn to get there means that you have a much harder time enjoying amateur performances because you can hear all the things that aren’t right. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that artists have similar issues because they can see where less skilled artists didn’t quite get what they were trying for where someone like me who just likes the pretty things wouldn’t notice or care.

And of course when you know enough about writing crappy storytelling starts to bother you (we won’t go into the movies where I’ve sat there going “please don’t have this thing happen: it’s far too cliché. Please don’t do it.” Of course they do the thing every time). And when you have a brain and you’re willing to use it (the latter isn’t a given – in fact in my experience it’s a whole lot more rare than having the ability to use one’s brain in an intelligent fashion) it gets really, painfully obvious when you read the results of an author who isn’t using whatever reasoning abilities he or she was given and has inflicted a stupid plot on readers (most of the authors I’ve encountered do have the ability to avoid gross stupidity. They choose not to for whatever the reason). Actual stupid people are… well… not at all like the kind of stupid that usually shows up in characters.

With of course some brilliant exceptions, many of whom came from the pen, typewriter, and computer of Sir Pterry – who, frankly, was one of the greatest observers of character in centuries.

For those who are wondering, this is what happens when I start stream of consciousness-ish writing. Things meander. What started with “oh, yeah it’s nice I’m not subjecting myself to oodles of social media dumb” turns into discussing the portrayal of stupid people ahem characters in fiction.

Those who’ve met me face to face will know my actual conversations do this too. I have a conversational topic deficit disorder. Enjoy the ride with its crazy detours, and I shall return after what’s likely to be another week without migraine-inducing idiots on social media.

31 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

31 responses to “Another one down

  1. paladin3001

    I hear you on the social media vacation. Started doing that back in mid August. I too got disgusted with the amount of stupid from some people. I also realized that I was spending far too much time on certain sites. The hiatus has been freeing needless to say.

    • Dorothy Grant

      Congratulations! Social media is supposed to facilitate sociability, not to run your life with constant interruptions and drama. (When you look at the number of characters “above the fold” on facebook, and on twitter, they’re optimized for bumper-sticker level philosophy, not nuance. Which means they optimize for drama, not conversations.)

      Enjoy a low-drama life!

      • paladin3001

        Thanks. The first two weeks were rough. Only reason that I still have an account is because it’s the only connection I have to extended family. The only reason that I need that connection is that I can keep them updated. Picture dumps and such is the order of the day when I need to or want to….
        Other then that, I DON’T need to hear how some of my friends hate [current conservative politician] or other social cause.

        • Dorothy Grant

          I generally get on facebook about once every two weeks. Sometimes once a month. I note that it is extremely well-designed to keep you in the site. The random order of posts, and inability to effectively search, the “most popular” by unknown algorithm, all feed the random reward addiction in our monkey brains.

          But then there’s the realization that it feeds so much data so fast, that it’s like drinking from a fire hose… and therefore people don’t miss what’s not there. Which means most people don’t notice when you’re gone, they only notice when you post.

  2. Doesn’t everyone talk that way? 😉

    • My family certainly does, although Mom, Sib, and I tend to make more apparently-random jumps than Dad. He trained as a chemist and engineer, so she always shows his mental work. The rest of us tend to associate, then leap with the assumption that everyone else can follow where we are going and how we got there.

      Teaching tends to dampen some of that. Sometime— Oh, there’s that book I’ve been looking for! That reminds me, I need to…

      • Dorothy Grant

        What I’ve found, by observing people, is that there’s almost always a contextual thread that can be followed to link the jumps. However, the smarter people are, the faster they can think and make the leaps… and so what comes trailing out of their mouth may be missing a leap or five. If you can’t follow the context or roll with the new train of thought, then it appears to be disjointed and incoherent… and on the other end of the bell curve, if someone is still working slowly through a train of thought, the conversation may have moved on so far from that context that the statement appears disjointed or incoherent.

        This is why, for people who are much smarter than me, my favorite phrase is “Unpack how you got from your last sentence to this one, please.” Because that’ll force them to say the train of thought that goes from needing new running shoes to the survival rate of fish-bombing. (It had to do with wind resistance.)

        And for an absolutely awesome gal with Down’s syndrome, the important this is to slow down, bite my tongue, and keep the speed to “international phone call with bad satellite lag” speed. Because she’s a wonderful person, and very thoughtful, caring, and knowledgeable about flowers – but you can’t expect the conversation to move quickly.

    • Mary

      American Non-Sequitur Society: We don’t make sense, but we do like pizza.

  3. Kate said: “I have a conversational topic deficit disorder.”

    You might be my evil twin, Kate. Or I’m yours…>:D

  4. Orvan Taurus

    Aha, the proper warning might be:
    BEWARE THE FLYING CONTEXT-SWITCH

  5. MattB

    Here in NZ we have a local (ie non-chain) donut store called Mama’s Donuts. My place of employment once supplied us with several dozen donuts to share out amongst us lackey’s, minions, plebs and serfs. They were…. delicious. Artery-claggingly delicious. Far better than the local Dunkin Donuts.

    • Dorothy Grant

      We have a little donut shop that half the time the owner forgets to put on the open sign. Awesome donuts, terrible coffee, and amazingly good breakfast burritos with hatch green chilis mixed in with the scrambled eggs, sausage, and potatoes.

      Okay, hungry now… and he doesn’t open until tomorrow morning!

  6. so if I was allowed to be the arbiter of too stupid to live, global population would be reduced by something like 90%. I’m aware this is not a good thing, so I avoid those impulses.

    You’ve spoken to my Housemate; I can tell you quite honestly it’s a sentiment I hear from him rather frequently.

    On a humorous note of context; my husband has learned how to understand the space-filling word ‘ano’ that, apparently, snuck over into my English and has on occasion, figured out what I mean when I say ‘that thing.’

    Back to bed. Stupid flu. But we’re not dead! So that is something!

  7. I’m really not too sure what’s going on, even in this conversation, but I have at least an inkling that part of my current mullygrubs are related to idiocy appearing on social media, then (in at least one case) my discovery that the idiocy first revealed there was going to put boots/flip-flops/Birkenstocks on the ground at my kids’ school.
    This is ONE of the TWO reasons I’m having difficulty in just saying no; since I am adamantly not going to watch the news or read the papers routinely, it takes a hint from FB for me to realize that there is something going on that requires my attention.
    The second reason is that I primarily publicize my blog through FB posts. I put it on my page, and I post it in the Diner, and often on my oldest friend’s page, since he and I share so much relevant history. If the blog post includes a book review, then I also post it on the author’s page. Therefore, if I completely shut off the pipe, my pageviews drop down to however many few have signed up to follow me, which is, I believe, between 11 & 16.

    Occasionally a thing of beauty will appear, but it’s mostly ugly and stupid. The no politics rule in the Diner is much appreciated.

    • Holly

      This is not necessarily true, Pat, that someone has to follow your blog to read it regularly. I don’t know how many folks have you in their must-read bookmarks, but whether or not I see a link on facebook, your blog is bookmarked. Quite simply, I don’t trust facebook. I rely on old-fashioned bookmarks to be sure I see the blogs I want to. You’re irregular but fairly frequent so you get a twice a week check. So does TXRed, while Sarah is daily, but Lawdog is weekly.

      Some of us are just old-fashioned curmudgeons.

  8. lfox328

    I do some social media (it’s one of the few ways I can keep up with far-flung relative/friends).

    In terms of getting caught up in comment-wars:
    – I set limits. I write one-three FACTUAL corrections.
    – If the response is emotional, I drop out – AFTER commenting that they are apparently NOT interested in arguing logically, and I am incapable of doing otherwise.
    – I do invite them to have any LOGICAL discussion on my blog – never had one continue it.

    This is a psuedo-win for the Leftists. They will find themselves in possession of yet another public arena that has been abandoned. It does help that they are penned up squawking in a place with their own kind – it leaves the Real World to us.