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I read somewhere that people who sprinkle their prose with profanity generally possess higher intellects. "Well, isn't that the fucking truth," I think to myself. One can't help assuming that like sex, pastries, happiness and knowledge, if a spritz is good...well, a deluge must clearly be much, much better. What wonders might have been missed by eschewing communication with those whose words and actions have higher quantities of the profane? In possession of this pseudo knowledge I think about the number of times I have quickened my pace in an effort to escape what might have been world altering conversations.
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More from Tara Duncan

I have an idiot savant talent for frequently finding an opportunity to say exactly the wrong thing in casual conversation. I usually have an awareness it's coming - sort of like a spidey sense - but oddly, I don't stop. Sometimes I pay attention to this looming annoyance, but despite any preparatory investigation it always goes the same way. It's like this particular piece of future is pre-ordained. I probably have dozens of examples, the results of some would make a seasoned sailor blush. I was reminded of this when a relatively benign example presented itself today. Some random woman asked if I cook, and then wanted to talk about a new French cook book. Sure, ok. The conversation turned to food in general, and various restaurants which are closed or only providing take-out. At some point I ran some preparatory interference before I mentioned one of my favorite restaurants. Just in case the content was objectionable, we confirmed she is an omnivore. So far so good, but there were still some red flags. As a preface to why this particular restaurant is awesome, I launched into a detailed explanation of how annoying I find vegetarians and vegans. Among other things, they have a "holier than thou" attitude, and tend to be extremely demanding. They want the pedigree of the vegetables, and the ingredients if meals are prepared ahead of time. They frequently request ingredient lists and then demand some of them be substituted or changed. I went on to mention that in the case of the vegetarian restaurant I like, this is a huge benefit. They make a couple of things I really like, with certain modifications. Normally it would be awkward to ask people to change their menu for you; but the staff is delightfully beaten down, and will happily modify your order in any way you like. The result is really nutritious and tasty. ...and there it is. I then listen to the story of her daughter, the lifelong vegetarian - including but not limited to: cows/methane, youthful appearance, ridiculously healthy, and an all-around great person. Solid life advice incoming: A lesser person would succumb to embarrassment and contrite back-peddling. Pfft! That's so 1990's. If you find yourself in this sort of situation, smile your biggest smile, and double down if you feel you're right. Hell, do it if you're wrong! Embarrassment is for pussies!
256 views · May 27th
I don't have a dictionary, thesaurus or set of encyclopedia at my disposal locally, but I usually spend at least an hour of every day on the internet - researching things that come up in conversation, or that simply occur to me. This is in addition to anything I'm already reading or trying to learn. I mention this not so you should think I'm really clever, but because there seems to be a universe of things I want to know. Today the topic of squirrel lifespan came up - as it does. Not being a squirrel aficionado I pulled up the nearest browser and found an article entitled, "Average Lifespan of a Squirrel". It was nicely formatted, fairly comprehensive, and catalogued the various stages of squirrel existence. While they can live for five to ten years, in the wild (this includes urban environments) they have a relative life expectancy of about eighteen months. In mid-article, I clued in that the page I was reading was produced by a pest control company. I was so focused on the content, I initially missed the corporate logo on the title bar with the "Call us today" link with the phone icon. I had also not previously noticed the black box under the main topic entitled, "Pests". If you click on this (don't), there are pages and pages of insect and animal vermin descriptions with helpful hints on how they can be eradicated. This would be the moment in any horror movie where the ominous music begins. Just as I'm realizing I'm on a giant "bait and exterminate" site, a helpful female avatar pops up with a box that invites me to ask any questions I may have. Do people enjoy learning about the life and times of animals and insects they intend to eliminate? Do these rats with fluffy tails really represent a clear and present danger to humanity? If I click the "Call us now" button, am I contributing to their massively shortened life span? I have a mental image of the exterminator guy (don't mean to be sexist) with his leather aviator cap, long scarf, cruising the streets in a cube van with a dozen iconic squirrel victory markers. I close the browser. I do have questions...so many questions. I'll look elsewhere.
I ran across a comment I took to be humorous, suggesting an opinion piece on the challenges of parenting could be viewed as "virtue signalling". In case you are gasping in horror, the comment was from the author. So far, I'm the only one who found humour in this, as others who had read the article were solemnly assuring him he was "blameless". I hearken back to a spring day in 2018, where a friend and I were out for a quick lunch. In keeping with the season it was slightly cold, a little blustery and bitingly moist from a recent rain. We chose this place because the weather wasn't particularly pleasant, it was open, and the food was already prepared in a buffet. I remember the tiny venue vividly, and can recall at will the high glass counter displaying a dozen hot meals, the spartan walls and utilitarian vinyl flooring. We were seated at a tiny laminate table overlooking the empty street, on slightly uncomfortable orange molded chairs. My companion was desperately trying to help me encompass the importance of the woke vernacular. When asked why I needed to embrace what I countered were recently constructed concepts and terminology tailor made to be societally deleterious, he kept insisting it would be vital to converse intelligently with people in the coming months and years. Here I note our dynamic has always involved us debating anything and everything, in part because I usually think he's dead wrong, but also because we both have a near pathological predisposition to argue. Fast forward a few years, and we could surmise his toxic white maleness was probably responsible for his privileged attitude and inability to understand the tragic inherent disadvantages of being virtually everyone else. He sat there, oblivious to his cultural appropriation of a Styrofoam container of saffron rice, adorned with authentic, Indian cafeteria-style butter chicken. The irony! There is a school of thought which espouses we cannot conceptualize that which we cannot articulate. If you think about it, there is virtually nothing in the lexicon of "wokeness" which communicates anything that is even vaguely positive. I view it as the language of real or presumed victimization. Examined critically, unless you're a heterosexual white male, the culture of "wokeness" provides you with the language to express to what degree you are oppressed or disadvantaged. Throughout history discrimination and (and I can't believe I'm using this term) marginalization have existed, but in Western civilization at least, this is not that time. Through the boon of postmodernism, if you're lucky enough to fall into one or more recognized victimization categories, your livelihood and emotional well being must be prioritized to the exclusion of that of others less "fortunate" on the bell curve. More fortuitous still, you now have a "get out of productivity" card based on your number of disadvantage points. You can approximate your level of relative disadvantage by consulting the handy intersectionality venn diagram. As these words, and by association concepts, are inserted into the general population, we stop being productive and optimistic; preferring instead to "identify" as being in some way victimized by those, who in turn, are convinced they too are victimized by some other segment of society. That strikes me as emotional busy work, which serves no useful purpose. If I had placed my fingers firmly into my ears that afternoon in 2018, I could have forestalled this eventuality. Now if pressed I could insert the terms of the day into regular conversation, but I still staunchly resist this practice, unless for the purposes of parody.

More from Tara Duncan

I have an idiot savant talent for frequently finding an opportunity to say exactly the wrong thing in casual conversation. I usually have an awareness it's coming - sort of like a spidey sense - but oddly, I don't stop. Sometimes I pay attention to this looming annoyance, but despite any preparatory investigation it always goes the same way. It's like this particular piece of future is pre-ordained. I probably have dozens of examples, the results of some would make a seasoned sailor blush. I was reminded of this when a relatively benign example presented itself today. Some random woman asked if I cook, and then wanted to talk about a new French cook book. Sure, ok. The conversation turned to food in general, and various restaurants which are closed or only providing take-out. At some point I ran some preparatory interference before I mentioned one of my favorite restaurants. Just in case the content was objectionable, we confirmed she is an omnivore. So far so good, but there were still some red flags. As a preface to why this particular restaurant is awesome, I launched into a detailed explanation of how annoying I find vegetarians and vegans. Among other things, they have a "holier than thou" attitude, and tend to be extremely demanding. They want the pedigree of the vegetables, and the ingredients if meals are prepared ahead of time. They frequently request ingredient lists and then demand some of them be substituted or changed. I went on to mention that in the case of the vegetarian restaurant I like, this is a huge benefit. They make a couple of things I really like, with certain modifications. Normally it would be awkward to ask people to change their menu for you; but the staff is delightfully beaten down, and will happily modify your order in any way you like. The result is really nutritious and tasty. ...and there it is. I then listen to the story of her daughter, the lifelong vegetarian - including but not limited to: cows/methane, youthful appearance, ridiculously healthy, and an all-around great person. Solid life advice incoming: A lesser person would succumb to embarrassment and contrite back-peddling. Pfft! That's so 1990's. If you find yourself in this sort of situation, smile your biggest smile, and double down if you feel you're right. Hell, do it if you're wrong! Embarrassment is for pussies!
256 views · May 27th
I don't have a dictionary, thesaurus or set of encyclopedia at my disposal locally, but I usually spend at least an hour of every day on the internet - researching things that come up in conversation, or that simply occur to me. This is in addition to anything I'm already reading or trying to learn. I mention this not so you should think I'm really clever, but because there seems to be a universe of things I want to know. Today the topic of squirrel lifespan came up - as it does. Not being a squirrel aficionado I pulled up the nearest browser and found an article entitled, "Average Lifespan of a Squirrel". It was nicely formatted, fairly comprehensive, and catalogued the various stages of squirrel existence. While they can live for five to ten years, in the wild (this includes urban environments) they have a relative life expectancy of about eighteen months. In mid-article, I clued in that the page I was reading was produced by a pest control company. I was so focused on the content, I initially missed the corporate logo on the title bar with the "Call us today" link with the phone icon. I had also not previously noticed the black box under the main topic entitled, "Pests". If you click on this (don't), there are pages and pages of insect and animal vermin descriptions with helpful hints on how they can be eradicated. This would be the moment in any horror movie where the ominous music begins. Just as I'm realizing I'm on a giant "bait and exterminate" site, a helpful female avatar pops up with a box that invites me to ask any questions I may have. Do people enjoy learning about the life and times of animals and insects they intend to eliminate? Do these rats with fluffy tails really represent a clear and present danger to humanity? If I click the "Call us now" button, am I contributing to their massively shortened life span? I have a mental image of the exterminator guy (don't mean to be sexist) with his leather aviator cap, long scarf, cruising the streets in a cube van with a dozen iconic squirrel victory markers. I close the browser. I do have questions...so many questions. I'll look elsewhere.
I ran across a comment I took to be humorous, suggesting an opinion piece on the challenges of parenting could be viewed as "virtue signalling". In case you are gasping in horror, the comment was from the author. So far, I'm the only one who found humour in this, as others who had read the article were solemnly assuring him he was "blameless". I hearken back to a spring day in 2018, where a friend and I were out for a quick lunch. In keeping with the season it was slightly cold, a little blustery and bitingly moist from a recent rain. We chose this place because the weather wasn't particularly pleasant, it was open, and the food was already prepared in a buffet. I remember the tiny venue vividly, and can recall at will the high glass counter displaying a dozen hot meals, the spartan walls and utilitarian vinyl flooring. We were seated at a tiny laminate table overlooking the empty street, on slightly uncomfortable orange molded chairs. My companion was desperately trying to help me encompass the importance of the woke vernacular. When asked why I needed to embrace what I countered were recently constructed concepts and terminology tailor made to be societally deleterious, he kept insisting it would be vital to converse intelligently with people in the coming months and years. Here I note our dynamic has always involved us debating anything and everything, in part because I usually think he's dead wrong, but also because we both have a near pathological predisposition to argue. Fast forward a few years, and we could surmise his toxic white maleness was probably responsible for his privileged attitude and inability to understand the tragic inherent disadvantages of being virtually everyone else. He sat there, oblivious to his cultural appropriation of a Styrofoam container of saffron rice, adorned with authentic, Indian cafeteria-style butter chicken. The irony! There is a school of thought which espouses we cannot conceptualize that which we cannot articulate. If you think about it, there is virtually nothing in the lexicon of "wokeness" which communicates anything that is even vaguely positive. I view it as the language of real or presumed victimization. Examined critically, unless you're a heterosexual white male, the culture of "wokeness" provides you with the language to express to what degree you are oppressed or disadvantaged. Throughout history discrimination and (and I can't believe I'm using this term) marginalization have existed, but in Western civilization at least, this is not that time. Through the boon of postmodernism, if you're lucky enough to fall into one or more recognized victimization categories, your livelihood and emotional well being must be prioritized to the exclusion of that of others less "fortunate" on the bell curve. More fortuitous still, you now have a "get out of productivity" card based on your number of disadvantage points. You can approximate your level of relative disadvantage by consulting the handy intersectionality venn diagram. As these words, and by association concepts, are inserted into the general population, we stop being productive and optimistic; preferring instead to "identify" as being in some way victimized by those, who in turn, are convinced they too are victimized by some other segment of society. That strikes me as emotional busy work, which serves no useful purpose. If I had placed my fingers firmly into my ears that afternoon in 2018, I could have forestalled this eventuality. Now if pressed I could insert the terms of the day into regular conversation, but I still staunchly resist this practice, unless for the purposes of parody.