January 11th, 2006


Gnat learns a lesson

Lileks is in high dudgeon today because the commies at her after-school program are teaching her environmentalism. Among his complaints:

- They let her pet a rat. Solution: tell her that rats are disease-ridden vermin.

- They told her that people cut down trees to build homes and stores. Solution: explain that they just plant more trees.

- They told her that when you cut down trees, the animals who live in the trees lose their homes. Solution: explain that the animals found new homes.

- They told her that oil spills drench birds with goo. Solution: explain that people clean up the birds.

- They told her that sometimes the oily birds die. Solution: explain that God wants us to have lots of oil, and he can make all the new birds he wants.

He goes on to note that if a nuclear plant blows up, the worst that could happen is a few casualties and some waste, while if the source of solar power blows up, everyone on earth dies. He might be trying for sarcasm here, but when you've got someone so flat-out reactionary against his daughter learning even the mildest lessons about how the ecology works, who can be sure?
why you little...!

The hammer...the horror

rum_holiday mentioned in my latest Lileks recap that I need a hobby that doesn't make me angry. At first I thought, shit, I have lots of those! But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, no, I really don't.

COMIC BOOKS: I really love comic books, a lot. But they make me ashamed, which is a negative emotion, and they make me angry plenty of times too: angry at people who don't take them seriously, angry at people who take them too seriously, angry at how crappy they often are, angry at how obsessed I am with them. On the whole, comics make me happy, but they don't not make me angry. They're only slightly more wholesome as a pasttime than reading the spew of right-wing cranks. (Reading, as a whole, makes me purely happy, as does writing, but often I read things, especially political and/or comic-book things, that make me angry.)

BASEBALL: This is a hobby that makes me angry when we're losing, so it's out.

POSTMODERNIST LITERARY THEORY: This doesn't really make me angry, as such, but it bores my girlfriend, and it's pretty fringey, so I don't get a lot of enjoyment out of talking about it with other people the way you might with other hobbies. Also, right-wing cranks hate it without actually understanding it, which makes me angry; Terry Eagleton's recent anti-theory campaign makes me angry; and I'm slightly angry with myself for not being smart enough to fully appreciate it.

MUSIC: Music makes me almost unreservedly happy. Since I never listen to music I don't like, I don't get angry that the music I do like doesn't get played on the radio, and since I don't care about what other people think of my music, I don't get angry when someone says I have bad taste. I get slightly angry when people call me a snob for liking what I like, and I get angrier at what a sewer the music industry is, but as a rule, music is an unleavened joy for me. Here's a verse from the current mash-up playing in my head (a back-and-forth between Dead Hot Workshop's "Jesus Revisited" and "Bali H'ai" from South Pacific; this is from the former):

If Jesus was alive today, He'd have to get Hisself a job
He'd have the history of the world tattooed across His ass in 47 languages
He'd have the names of all His relatives etched in His brain, and all the things they'd left behind
And He'd never get around to calling them to let them know He was all right, but He'd be all right.

COOKING: The only time I get angry when I'm cooking is if I spectacularly botch whatever I'm working on, which happens on occasion. Otherwise, cooking is all good.

So I'd say that of all my major hobbies, I'm running about a 70-30/75-25 enjoyment-to-anger ratio. That's not bad! Especially when you're filled with hate like me!

Maybe I should take up birdwatching.