Bad Parenting

That’s really what it comes down to. That’s the human difference, why we’re special, why it’s possible to convince a human being that it is heroic, god spawn, or a child of the sky people, some alien simian hybrid – one, the poor thing had the worst parents in the entire animal kingdom who told it anything they wanted so it will believe literally anything; and two – that is the magic.

Sure, some creatures kill and eat their children.

But what other creature tortures them? What other creature seeks out unrelated mature adults to torture their children, thus inventing a workaround to defeat normal animal mammalian parental love?

We know it, too. I mean, it’s a thing we do, a technology we leverage and then we call it a mystery, bury that in a riddle, and then wrap the whole thing in an enigma. When you go to all that trouble, you know it. I mean, compartmentalized and all that, of course. The trick bloody works. OMG, a digression –

Norm MacDonald died yesterday and Twitter was full of love and homages and videos. There’s this time Norm was on Larry King, and he sets up this bit, says to Larry, “I’m a deeply closeted man.”

Larry says, “So, you’re coming out, you’re gay?”

“Why would I say that?” Says Norm. “I’m deeply closeted.”

“But ‘closeted’ means you’re gay,” Objects Larry.

“Whoa, whoa! Easy there, Buddy!” Norm’s all twinkles, this was the line, Larry breaks down, we all do.

Spoiler alert, I’m gonna destroy this joke (and your life): of course it’s the setup. Of course, you can’t declare yourself an “involuntary celibate,” as that class of trolls does, if it’s you making the declaration, that’s voluntary. And you can’t really declare yourself closeted, as he starts the joke. Once he sneaks that impossibility past us, we are surprised and confused when it turns out impossible again at the end, right? Larry and we have all been had as soon as we make the first argument, LOL.

I’m at the bloody keyboard today because it just struck me that “humanity is moral,” or some analogue of that is the same impossible premise and we all live in the same surprised confusion of the punchline forever.

Ah, there, good. I got the concept down before it got away. Now it looks like work to do, laying that out.

Ah, here’s something – that took me some time, not a week, but more than a minute, working out where the wrinkle was to create Norm’s joke, that it was the illogic of the setup – and I’ve been telling the other one, the ‘incel’ example for a few years now. That should have been automatic if I were smarter – and during that time, I was amazed and confused, feeling and reacting as though the genius comic had uncovered some facet of the secret of life or something, I was that australopithecine doing the slow gaze up at the monolith for a while there, or that’s what I felt like, how can he turn something we all knew on its head like that?

There’s often the sense of innocence with Norm, and one can find it here, of course it all started with, “OK, here’s my premise,” whether explicitly or not, we know him and what his job is. The trolls don’t give you that sense, although it absolutely is a premise, because it is not a good or honest one, so there is no allusion to it. They are serious about their misdirection, unlike, hopefully, comics. All true of humanity’s smugness also, the latter bit. Of course.

Our premise is always coming from either some divinity or from some other authority and carries qualified immunity.

So, if I was to try to do this exercise, what is it – a syllogism, use Norm’s format?

Maybe, let’s try it with the incels, what would that look like?

“I’m involuntarily celibate.”

  . . . So you’re impotent?

 “How would I know that? I’m celibate.”

  But ‘involuntary’ means you can’t.

  “Whoa, whoa! Easy there, Buddy!”

 Ha.

I’m sure I’m cheating there, that’s not the same, is it? – but it’s close enough for rock’n’roll, so we’ll move on to the main event, have a go. For premise, though, well, that’s sort of the unknown in this equation, we’ll have to try a few, see what rolls out.

  I’ve been trying some, I worry that our actual premises are longer and don’t fit in this format.

  Still trying.

  Sometimes the premise is Original Sin, we’re born bad and trying to be good, or we need divine help – say, “I’m bad, but trying”? No, wait – this isn’t working.

I need to break it down, I got lucky with the incel one, that was easy and intuitive, and a huge part of the puzzle I have assigned myself in life is that we are tricky, it’s not intuitive, not for us, the objects of the game. What is intuitive to us is what I’m trying to cure, not what I’m following, like the EP boys, like the whole white world in such terrifying times.

We tend to intuit the need for a fight and naught else, and contrary to increasingly popular belief, that is the problem, not the adjectival solution.

So what is that format?

Starts with what – conflicted statement? Closeted is gay but can’t be? That seems to work for incel, incel is sexually active but can’t be, I suppose. So what is our opening line, our premise? – moral premise, I think that’s close – ah. “We are good but can’t be,” isn’t it. Perhaps in reverse, “we are bad but don’t want to be?”

It has the conflict, at least.

The second line, the first response, what is that, an objection? A clarification – conflicted statements mean something, closeted means gay, incel means, uh, blocked? So, “don’t want to be bad but are, try to be good but failing . . . I think the clarification/complaint is “So you’re bad,” isn’t it?

I feel like I’ve gone too far, like that was more than I was looking for! But I suppose this is only a thought experiment, I’ll be a good little scientist, hold my nose and run the experiment anyway. Ouch, though. So what do we call the third line, counter-argument, counter clarification? What could it be? Is it “Shut up, don’t say that, we have to try?” OK, maybe not so hard. Is it “Why would I say that? We have to try?”

Line four is the second objection/clarification? “You said you failed, you said it’s impossible!”

“Whoa, whoa! Easy there, Buddy!”

Well, I’m disappointed, it seemed too easy, it doesn’t seem right, surely there is more to it and I am closing the box and running away early. The only problem with that theory is it all sounds true. What I’ve left out of course, is that I am the better premise, and antisocialization theory won’t leave you in the hopeless mess we’re all in here, that this premise we live in is insoluble.

Jeff

Sept. 17th., 2021

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