Open Minded Does Not Mean Believe Everything You Hear

headinsandDo you have an open mind? Wait. Before you answer you may need to properly understand what it really means to have an open mind. Urban Dictionary defines an open mind as, “… when even if you think you are right, you know that you can be wrong and are always willing to listen to and hear an opposing or contradictory view.” The Cambridge online dictionary defines it as waiting until all the facts are in before making a judgement. But, let’s tear apart the definition from Urban Dictionary first, because it troubles me somewhat.

There is a scale with definitely not right on one end and definitely right on the other. Most of us are somewhere between the two on most issues. Yet not all issues reside in that fuzzy, gray area. For example, I don’t need an open mind when someone says that the Moon is made of cheese. When I say it is not I do not need to look at the evidence presented by Mooncheesers, just in case there is new evidence in support of a Moon of cheese. Barring that non-zero quantum probability, that suddenly the Moon can turn into cheese, it most definitely is not made of Gouda, and I definitely do not need to entertain the idea. I can say with certainty that my claim is on the definitely right end of the scale. It is the same with hollow Earth, zig-zag-and-swirl and chemtrails. All three never should have happened, let alone gain acceptance by so many people. This is why I’m going with the definition provided by Cambridge. When all the evidence is in we can make a judgement and be quite sure that we have it right.

Is it closed minded to no longer have an interest in the paranoid ramblings of a few crazy people that hold true to an idea even after it has been shown to be completely false? No, it isn’t. It is simply logical to not waste time on a falsehood that has been shown to be such. Illuminati, chemtrails, alien abduction – and Moons made of cheese – may still seem possible by Urban Dictionary’s definition, but not with the Cambridge definition. The evidence is in, we’ve looked at it from the proponent’s point of view and the evidence is not compelling, and can even be said to be contrived to the point of deliberate misrepresentation.

I’ve been called closed minded before, this is not a new thing. I was once told by a friend of mine that he saw pyramids on the Moon through his telescope. When challenged to show me he would not and I was promptly accused of having a closed mind. I was expected to just believe it. This friend defined open mind as “believe what I tell you”. This was during a time when I was struggling with other crazy ideas supported by fabricated evidence, molded to fit a desired conclusion. These were crazy ideas I believed without the background checking that is now a fundamental part of my MO. Mind you, in my defense, the internet was not accessible to the general public as it is now, so I didn’t really have the resources.

The thing is, no one can use lack of resources as an excuse today. The internet is a tool that is only half used for some reason. People look for what supports their preconcept and never look for, or have a desire to believe, any evidence to the contrary. Many people seem to choose ignorance. They are not open to the possibility that they are wrong, and in many cases seem to be scared to death of it. I do not understand how this fear can exist at all. Would you not want to know if you are right or wrong? If you are scared of aliens, would you not want to seek out all the information in an effort to either confirm or deny that fear? If you are scared of chemtrails, would you not want to know if it is actually true? If you answer no to any of those three questions then you do not have an open mind. And if your mind is closed enough to answer no to any of those questions, then you are probably upset with me now for having a closed mind.

However, if you answered yes to all three, then you are ready to look at both sides of any issue and tease out the truth. You are ready to use your resources fully. You may not always get the answers you’re looking for and it may land you someplace in the gray area, but that is how proper inquiry works. That is how science works. You may not consider yourself a scientist, but if you look at all the evidence, weigh that evidence against the contrary with an objective eye, then you are, for all intents and purposes, a scientist and have an open mind. If you are not afraid of being wrong, or at least not entirely sure, of something you once held as absolute, then you are not closed minded.


All Humour Aside – Personal Editorial

Regarding my last article, I just want to be serious for a moment. In no way do I endorse deliberately pissing off coworkers. Far from it. However, this is exactly what happens. You get a new job, you say that it will be different this time. This time you will work your butt off even harder so the employer doesn’t have a reason to let you go. You honestly want to impress them, because you absolutely have to break the pattern of job loss and desperation that keeps forcing you to get a job with lesser pay. But then, there is always that dick-in-the-arse coworker that seems to think that you are deliberately embarrassing them, that for some reason it is your fault that they can no longer coast along at minimal effort. But, doesn’t that fly in the face of everything you were told growing up? You’re told to work hard, impress your boss and the world is your oyster. This is not how it works, though… is it? More often the harder you work the more people you piss off and turn against you.

Does this mean that you are supposed to slack off, and produce less than you’re capable of, just so the lazy workers can like you, not want you dead, and not work against you? I don’t know, maybe. The economy is tanking and I cannot afford to go without work. So, maybe it is best to betray my own abilities and do less. It certainly seems that hard work earns resentment not reward.

If you’re like me you can’t just not work hard. I was brought up with a work ethic that I cannot fight against. Every time I try to dial it down I feel so horrible that it doesn’t last. In the end I am a bad person for being one of the few who absolutely has to work harder than everyone else. Why? It’s not ego… and it definitely is not to make others look bad. I have to be the best because the last thing I ever want to be accused of is not pulling my weight. It is embarrassing being told that, and it hurts, so I avoid it.

I wish I lived in a world that matched how I was raised. I wish I was raised in a world that sees talent, facilitates it and helps it grow and prosper. I don’t. Instead I live in a society that shuns hard work, that cares nothing about people, and effectively treats those like myself as garbage. How it happened I cannot say, and I won’t try.

I will get another nowhere job, work my butt off, piss off coworkers, just by being good… and then get let go because I don’t fit in. I don’t fit in because I have ethics. I cannot change that. I will not change that. I will work, go home, write a blog or render a 3D image… or something. I will return to work and feel miserable, because I cannot fathom why someone or other finds me so offensive. I will go through that same cycle again and again, day after day, until I get laid off again… and again. I usually like ending these little rants with something positive at the end, but I see no positive here right now.


How to Get a Dream Job & Screw It up in Six Easy Steps


Step One: First and foremost one must remember that it is nearly impossible to get a job that perfect. Seriously, don’t dream about the job you love, get paid well for, that uses your skills every day, rewards you for work well done, where everyone respects you and want the best for you. That is fiction… smarten up. The sooner you realize that your pipe dream is not achievable, the better off your sanity will be. This realization may even keep you from a future suicide attempt.

Step Two: Now that you know that nearly every attempt to land and keep even a reasonable job is doomed to failure, you can now prepare for the blockages you will encounter.

You got a new promising job! Congratulations! As always, try your best, work hard and a promising future… will forever remain out of reach!

The first of these blockages will appear within the first month… if not sooner. This is that coworker who, for some mysterious reason, just hates you. It could be that they feel threatened that you are just better at the job than they are. Maybe you inadvertently insulted them, but they won’t say shit to you about it, so you’ll never know. It may even be as simple as they just don’t like your face. Regardless of the reason, that coworker needs to be set up in such a way that they get themselves fired. First, bear in mind that nothing you can do will cause them to change their mind about you. They hate you and always will.

Next, find those things that you do so much better than they do, and just do more of them. This will piss them off every time. Don’t worry that they will simply hate you more and more, because that is your goal. What you want is to cause them to hate you so much that they will pay more attention to getting back at you that they will let their own duties slip. The more you rub their nose in the fact that you’re damned awesome the more they will let their own job suffer. The boss will see this, and may tolerate it for a long time. Stay the course, because eventually even the boss will get sick and tired of the person laming out that the coworker will get fired.

Step Three: It is possible that the coworker has badmouthed you to other coworkers. The easiest way to tell if this has happened to you is to watch for those whose behaviors and attitudes that have changed pretty much overnight. Don’t fret, because as mentioned above, you will probably never get that ideal job, anyway. This is where the optimism for that new job takes a serious nosedive. People are fickle, especially coworkers that have been there longer than you have. You are the newbie and as such you are not seen as worthy of being asked if any given story is true or false. They are all friends with the coworker who openly hates you and therefore they will always believe that coworker’s word… no matter how insane the story is.

Step Four: Now that you’ve gotten rid of that hostile coworker, just by being awesome, you can now turn to the next blockage… all the other coworkers who are now working against you. At this point no matter what you do or say it will make no difference at all. Even after the first coworker is fired they will not see his/her own behaviour as the cause. They will only see that YOU got him/her fired. It is your fault and you now you need to pay dearly for it in the form of shunning and anything else they can think of. From here on you will never be given the benefit of doubt. Even the boss may be part of the group against you. You may well be set up for failure at every opportunity. You are the enemy now.

The best you can hope for is not getting laid off for some trumped up reason (but don’t hold your breath). Because nothing you do will make a difference you might as well be a regulation nazi. If they’re smoking right by the door, complain about it. If they’re not following procedure, call them on it. By now you know the drill… it’s war.

Step Four Sub: Of course you could always keep your nose clean, don’t do anything back at them, be all happy looking and kind. But, you and I both know this will only open you up to be mowed down by their cavalry. Congrats, due to no fault of your own, you are now the target for the tiniest little mistake (that they get to make and never hear a bad word from the boss), and you can suddenly never do anything right (even though your work habits haven’t changed a bit since day one).

Step Five: Now it is probably a good idea to look for a new job, that is if you haven’t been laid off yet. Look for something that is completely unrelated to the industry you just left, because those ex-coworkers will badmouth you to everyone related to that industry.  Of course, your pay will probably drop with each new job, so the graph of your income will zigzag downward over time.  Relax, because that’s capitalism!

Step Six: Now that you have found that new promising job, be sure to do really well at it from day one, because you need coworkers and bosses that like you. (See Step One)

Special thanks to all my past employers who have provided me with ample subject matter for this



How to Lose an Argument in Eight Easy Steps

This is an evaluation image and is Copyright Chud Tsankov. Do not publish without acquiring a license. Image number: 0521-1012-0921-1821. One:  This is the most important step, because without this step it will only take longer to lose.  In order to ensure a swift effective loss, one must always lead into the topic with an insult to the other side.  Remember, this isn’t about eventually reaching an understanding or common ground, this is only about making the other side feel stupid.

Step Two:  Almost as important as Step One is the inability to acknowledge and apologize for the insult.  In fact it may be best to respond to anyone calling you on said insult by insulting them also.  This way you make absolutely certain that everyone who believes in calm, reasoned discourse knows exactly the calibre of your personality.  Let them know that you are not to be fucked with.  Keep that hammer at the ready, because that tool fits all occasions.

Step Three:  Sometimes you will come across those that aren’t even phased by insults.  They may continue to use evidence and support for their arguments.  Remember that hammer?  These people must be put in their place.  Find something personal, something completely unrelated to the topic and insult them on it, while stating something completely unsupported by fact.  Be sure that you do not support whatever it is, as the last thing you want is to suddenly start sounding intelligent.

Step Four:  On occasion you may have someone calmly advise you to be more mature.  This is a thinly veiled insult.  They have effectively called you childish, while appearing to be in some way morally superior.  That’s right, they think they are superior and are, in fact, talking down to you.  Raise that hammer again, because the only way to win against these people is to push them with even more insults.  Eventually they will break.  Just for good measure you may want to pick apart spelling and grammar mistakes, because these little errors have absolutely nothing to do with the topic.

Step Five:  Use only word of mouth facts.  You must not under any circumstances check into those facts before mentioning them.  Doing so will destroy the entire image of someone not to be fucked with that you’re trying to get across.  Besides, if they want the support so badly they can damned well look them up themselves.  You might even want to say this to them, as it may frustrate them early on, making them leave the argument and thus letting you win by default.

Step Six:  At some point you will be asked to provide support for the facts you know damned well are true.  When this happens you are not helping your case by obliging these insane requests.  Besides, they are requests not demands.  Even if they did demand you can always state that you do not answer to demands.  It is a good idea to reply with words to the effect that your facts are “common knowledge”… you may even want to use those exact words.

Step Seven:  As you progress in the argument the opposition may end up backing each other up.  This is simple ganging up on you, and only appropriate for your side to do to their side.  It is completely unfair that the other side of the argument pose a unified front of reason.  It is very frustrating, I know, but remember that to win the argument, you cannot cave to their demands for logic, reason, evidence and support.

Step Eight:  Keep pushing facts without any weight to them.  Eventually they will get fed up and leave the argument.  At that point you can claim victory.  Be proud that you pulled it off and that it cannot be said that you lost because they you gave up, you didn’t.  Tenacity, tenacity, tenacity will always win the day.

Special thanks to certain Facebook users in recent history who have demonstrated all these steps.  If it wasn’t for you wonderful people, I’d still be wondering about what topic to write about today.  

BTW, if you liked this and got here from an external link, I encourage you to go here and join the group.


Peace 😉


Also known as prepackaged falsehood and non-wisdom that can often give you a false sense of intelligence and enlightenment.  Whether it’s in Facebook, Twitter or any other social media you encounter, you will have a good lot of garbage in your feed passed off as truth.  But, how many of us actually take the time to think through them before sharing?  I do, and you may think you do, yet social media is still being flooded with drivel that’s mostly false.  Those memes you see that quote famous people, are either tongue-in-cheek, grossly misstated, or outright lies… lies that can make you look stupid, ruin your car, or kill you.

So, why are these things so popular?  We are products of the instant gratification age.  We have been molded by the fast food, automatic seat adjustment, rear view cam, drive through banking, park in the spot absolutely closest to the door society.  So, why would our social media be any different?  We want our information just as fast, just as automatic, just as convenient and just as prepackaged as everything else in our lives.  Just like fast food we don’t want to take the time to be sure we aren’t getting fed garbage.  We get our news instantly and never look past the source we get it from, because we have so much else we would rather do, see, hear and play right now.  We don’t want to mess with the details or turn our heads just a little further to get a better look at the subject.

We definitely do not want to go beyond the familiar and comfortable.  We haunt the same places that appeal to our preconceived notions we were raised with.  Our friends are our friends because they agree with everything we say, and vice verse.  If they don’t, they were never our friend in the first place.  At least that’s what we tell ourselves so we don’t feel like the closed off, narrow minded, sheep we’ve become.  No place does this become so rudely apparent than the racial issues plaguing our world right now.  

These issues are dividing us more and more, daily.  We can thank the internet for that.  Hey, at least you get the news on the race war, that many seem to really want, instantly.  Don’t get me wrong, the internet is not in itself bad.  It’s a great thing.  However, not only do we have the sum total of human knowledge at our beck and call, we also have the sum total of idiocy at the speed of stupid.  And because we refuse to take the time out of our over busy day to check the facts many of us get convinced of the craziest of ideas.  

Too many believed it when Gliese 581g was reported to be an “earth-like” planet, and only because a single member leaked the news before anyone could stop him and tell him he’s too stupid to be a scientist let alone someone looking for exoplanets.  Well, the report was found to be a false alarm, but that didn’t stop those who wanted to believe the idea so badly to become hostile to those who preached calm, collected reason before jumping to a conclusion before all the data was in.

The same thing happened in just the last twenty-four hours when Dr. Lawrence Krauss, of the LIGO team tweeted that gravitational waves were found.  Well, LIGO itself refused to back up Dr. Krauss, who, it turns out, is more of a showboating egomaniac, like Richard Dawkins.  And FYI, they often make appearances together, when tilting at religion.  As a side note, I often wonder how it came to be that the job of science is not just the discovery of natural processes, but also to bait and troll religion.

When it comes to social memes, if you want to convince a lot of people of the factually incorrect, all you need to do is put it in a square picture, slap quotes around it, and drop some famous person’s name at the bottom and, bingo, many more will believe it than not.  You would be absolutely amazed at the amount of false information that get’s passed around virally in this way.  That is, if you took the time to look around and verify.  

I know, memes take many forms and not all are bad.  Some are funny, some may actually inform.  I’m talking about those people that don’t give a first thought before sharing and flooding my feed with ten or twenty words combined to generate some kind of reaction instead of inform people of truth.  It wasn’t that big of a deal before.  I simply clicked on the down arrow and block the source, with the logic that if I cannot trust the source, I’m not interested in what it has to offer.  However, recently I’ve been doing more source blocking than reading the stuff I really do want.  You know, the not dumb things, the not mean things, just those things that enrich me.  

Alas, getting what I want and need does not happen nearly enough anymore, but that’s life on the web.  We do have to take the bad with the good.  Yet, that doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to combat falsehood when we can, in hopes we can change a mind or two.  If just one person out of a hundred stops and thinks, even for a second, then it is worth it.  Even when ninety-nine people launch into such linguistic vitriol, that you wonder of they should be force-fed a box of soap by their mommies, it is worth combatting them.  Obviously, we have the high ground of morality and truth on our side, so we shouldn’t get the feeling of being overwhelmed by these people.  Calm reason will always win out over hostile attitude.  

It is not just bad information that is at risk.  Property can be damaged, in the case of the memes that promote putting sugar in your gas tank so the ethanol doesn’t freeze.  Lives can be lost, as in the case where it is suggested, in a similar meme, to route a hose from your car’s exhaust pipe to inside the cab if your heater isn’t working.  I admit… they are funny as hell, but when the wrong person gets that in their feed, they may actually try those things without checking.  I know you may feel that if people are so dumb to try these things they deserve to have their car royally screwed and to lose their life.  But… I mean, think about it, if you shared that last one, with the hose from your exhaust to your cab, and someone dies because of carbon monoxide poisoning… you are a party to murder, or at least manslaughter.  You will have helped kill someone.

So, the Lemon appeals to it’s own audience, to take a moment to look into the validity of something before sharing it.  I know, you may not be used to looking into these things, but you aren’t alone.  I’m here to assist and give you a direction.  I wrote a guide on detecting bullshit a while back, and it is a pretty easy thing to do.  Click this link, even share it.  Remember, it’s only funny until someone loses their car, or life.

Most of Us Are Unappreciated

Most of us are unappreciated.  I’d like to think that we all do our best to facilitate other people, but that would be myself being delusional… and you too, if that’s what you strongly believe.  One could be the most talented, intelligent, useful and wise person, but all others – at least those in the position to help one grow and prosper – seem to see is just another nobody.  Obviously, we’re nobody, otherwise why else would we be at the very bottom of the totem pole in every aspect of life.  It must be all our fault.

We are often told by those who judge us that the one commonality, in all the situations that negatively impact us, is us.  But, how far does that logic really fly?  Does it not seem to you that there are other commonalities that prevent us from getting any form of satisfaction in life that are not just us?  Well there are; shitty managers, rich people, crazy people and friends of shitty managers, rich people and crazy people.  Taking full blame for every adversity that befalls us is disingenuous and self defecating. Stop it.

As a person who has learned long ago to look objectively and critically at oneself, I’ve been paying attention to both sides of the issue.  What I have found appals me, confounds me and makes me angry.  For a species that is named wise human too many of us behave so unwisely.  For an animal that can empathize, and are able to choose decency over impropriety, we more often choose the latter.  They step on anyone who gets between them and their objective, and sacrifice the soldier to save an officer.

We demonstrate our worth over and over again, or at least we try to if anyone would take the time out of their busy narcissism to look.  We do this because that is what we’re told we’re supposed to do.  If we do not demonstrate our worth, how would the overseers know?  Well, we do demonstrate, especially when we aren’t aware of it.  It’s evolved human behaviour.  We seek to show others what we can do.  It is why we call to friends to “check out what I did”.  When we’re particularly proud of something it shows… even when we don’t realize it.  The logic of this whole demonstration equation puts the onus solely on us.  It is not a one sided issue.  It is also the duty of those in control to look for these demonstrations, because if they do not they are failing us… not the other way around.

No wonder most of us don’t have the confidence to follow through on things that help us grow, that push those comfort boundaries and help fuel our self esteem.  We are taking too much blame for the shitty situation we are in.  Surely some of the downtrodden have done it to themselves, but that does not automatically translate into everyone who is downtrodden has been the sole author of their fate.  

We are flooded with negativity about ourselves so often from birth to death that, on the rare occasion that we do actually take pride in something we’ve done, at best that pride falls on deaf eyes and at worst we are ridiculed for it.  Our pride is muted, or outright destroyed, and our self esteem takes that hit every bloody time.  Once in the accretion disk of the black hole, I call depression, an incredible amount of effort is needed just to not slip closer to that hole.  So, you can imagine the effort I have put into this personal realization that I don’t suck, that these overseers are anything but sages, that this entire system of how bosses rule roosts is deeply and utterly fucked.

The Gallup organization, you know the one we used to trust but don’t even hear about anymore, had done a multi-million dollar study worldwide to find out that people don’t leave jobs, or even companies… they leave people, specifically managers.  This then begs the question,why in all the levels of hell has nothing been done about it?  Why have we gone so long, from the beginning of capitalism til now, completely and totally brain dead on this?  My guess is, we haven’t really been brain dead.  Including a very few managers, we are deeply aware of what’s going on.  We just cannot fix it.  We are forced to play their game by their ever changing rules, made up ad hoc… rules, by the way, they clearly do not have to follow.  Most of us are too scared to say anything, and this is understandable, because if we do we are labelled and placed in the GTFO queue.  The moment anything can be used as an excuse to be rid of the squeaky wheel we are turfed.

Some of us have unions that protect us, but only some.  The vast majority are not union members.  We have to rely on the laws of the state, laws formed by politicians bought and paid for by the big boys to leave them openings to screw anyone who stands up for themselves and insist on a fair shake.  We are dropped like hot potatoes and we are left with no recourse to call them on the shitty logic they just used as justification.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there is a good employer out there SOMEplace.  One that doesn’t recycle Christmas party speeches, with empty verbal respects paid to the very people they’ve screwed over in order to eek out that little bit more profit.  I’m sure there’s a company out there that isn’t out to fool stakeholders just how awesome the company is doing, when it’s actually tanking. This brings me to another question that’s begging in my head right now.  Is a company laying off because the economy is tanking, or is the economy tanking because these companies are just too narcissistic to recognize that they’re screwing everyone?  Did you know that 2016 is the year that the rich possess half the world’s wealth… and they’re getting even richer?

I digress.  This is about how we, you, don’t suck.  This is about how it’s really not your fault.  This is about taking control of the little part you can, that part of you that cannot be denied by anyone, that part that tells you that you are valuable even (and perhaps especially) when they refuse to see it.  

Regarding Personal Views


Let me lead-in by stating right off the bat that the One Eyed Lemon is NOT a news source.  The Lemon expresses concerns, musings, ideas that drop out of Richard Rester’s head.  You, as a follower, reader, occasional viewer of Lemon material, aren’t required to believe what I write.  You are allowed to be entertained if you are, engage the Lemon in dialogue if you wish and generally do whatever you want.  Seriously how can I stop you?  

You don’t even need to understand what I write if you choose not to.  I put my material out there for me first, just because it suits me.  Of course I will express the truth I see logically.  When I see questionable truth, or lazy thinking, I may address the issue sternly, comically or just matter-of-factly.  I may or may not write about what you feel is more important and you may, on occasion, feel insulted.  Generally, if you do feel this way it is likely because you may see yourself as the subject of Lemon ridicule.  Such feelings, though unfortunate, are a clue to you that self reflection may be required on your part.  You may choose to alter your beliefs, or not, and either choice is fine.  The Lemon is not here to satisfy anyone’s ego, it just is.  So, if one is embarrassed, insulted or otherwise incensed by and with my expression of views and opinions it’s purely a personal choice on the part of that person.

Recently the lemon has become more activist.  Given the state the nation is in – due to those who were in control of it – I felt it necessary to do so.  You aren’t required to read, listen, watch or agree with what is expressed here, and I don’t apologize for anything previously posted.  In fact, more often you won’t agree with my political views, and again, that’s fine.  But now that the election is over it is time for the Lemon to return to a less political platform.  I’ll still be watching what’s going on, however.  

I am one of those rare people who is in a constant state of self reflection and reassessment.  I’ve learned to be this way because I have always been told I was wrong.  After decades of constant exposure to the possibility it is now a part of who I am.  However, over the last score of years I have found that my logic is very sound most of the time.  In a world where so many people get things so far from correct I see myself as one of the only true sensible people left.  So, if the question have you considered that you may be wrong ever comes to mind, the answer is yes.  And I would sternly reply, have you?  It seems to me that everyone expects others to adjust their views and self reflect while they themselves never have to.

In light of all the above I have to suggest that you try questioning yourself more.  Look into yourself from outside yourself.  Look for those opinions you’ve held as absolute truth and try to understand how they came to be.  Take your ego and lock it away for awhile because that illogical aspect of self is only going to get in the way and mislead you.  Pull your head out of the dirt, out of your rear, because that is the only way you can ever be honest with yourself.  Because if you cannot do this, if you cannot be honest with yourself… then you cannot be honest with others.
As always, peace…

Culling Your Friends List

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Certain things get forgiven and overlooked because they’re friends.  We often try to reason with them on the same grounds.  Sometimes an issue arises that forces us to take a closer look at why we try to keep them as friends.  Invariably, that issue becomes the proverbial straw that broke the back of a once healthy camel.  For me the niquab is that issue.  It has sparked a cascade of racism from people I never realized were that bigoted. And maybe it’s not just the racism that gets to you.  Maybe it’s the feeling of associative guilt, or the embarrassment that gives you pause and makes you rethink your friendship.  Either way, you know things won’t improve, though some of us keep trying.  

So, this is my question: when is it appropriate to end a friendship with someone too stupid, and bigoted to associate with; when do you call it quits?  Now, I’m not talking about race jokes.  They’re jokes, I get that.  We’re humans, and as such it’s healthy to create a little fun out of what we don’t understand or agree with.  I’m also not talking about small things, those little comments that fly through all our heads.  Things like, “damned packy” and “go back to… [insert country of assumed origin]”.  All we know are the visual indicators.  Our brains have the compulsive need to fill in the blanks.  So, I’m not talking about the small innocuous things.

I’m talking about the real meat of it, the people who complain about job theft from foreigners.  Those who bitch about people who choose a cultural icon, one that’s been around longer than our nation, to be the focus of their anger, hatred, ignorance and fear.  Those that use freedom of speech to bully an entire culture based on little to no information.  

Do you remember bullies?  Those assholes you covered for because they’re better once you get to know them, or they you?  Remember the ones you accepted as a friend because you simply got used to the toxic stank?  With equal stupidity you’ve justified and made excuses for despicable behaviour that‘s inexcusable.  You’ve gotten used to it and whether or not you realize it you don’t care as much.  You don’t care because you’ve excused their backward-thinking, knuckle-dragging, idiocy for so long it’s become part of you to accept it.

Back to the question, the reason I brought this up.  Do you put up with substandard behaviour because it doesn’t really affect you?  Or, like me, do you feel everyone should be held to the same rules of ethics as everyone else?  Do you think that everyone should get a few chances to get it right?  Or, like me, do you feel that 3 chances only gives assholes 3 opportunities to do whatever they want with impunity?  

But, as they say, it’s a chance, a freebie, a gratis.  That’s how they work.  Okay, maybe I’m being a wee bit zealous.  Change can often be a very difficult thing.  It doesn’t make them bad people if they’re making an effort.  As soon as I finish such thoughts I realize, in full disappointing reality, that these are people that have to put effort into not being racist… and they’re failing at it.  This thought brings my angst right back.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend or even family, the feeling of disgusted anger remains.

To answer the question, for myself at least, It has always been appropriate to ditch someone for being an unforgivably, intolerant, bunghole.  Maybe you knew all this already, but are too hopeful that your friends would eventually grow up, smarten up and man up.  Maybe they refuse to change because you’ll always be there to give them another chance.  Maybe your racist friends don’t give a flying bonobo to whom they direct their hatred.  And maybe they don’t give flying bonobo about your opinion.  

How to Detect BS in the Media

Detecting BS is not a hard thing to do.  It only requires a wee bit of mental power.  Once you start practicing you too can have fun posting replies on posts detailing why and how something is not true.  

It needs to be stressed, repeatedly, that the title in news articles, blogs, and opinion pieces, tend to greatly exaggerate the truth to the point of impossible spectacularity.  Although the duty of the title of any piece written is indeed to capture your attention, it is not supposed to mislead the reader.  Most of the time this isn’t detected by the reader of the title, because many don’t go beyond the title and delve into the meat of the piece.  I will start there:

Step 1.  This first step is an important and valuable start to detecting BS.  Knowing that authors will often overstate, misstate, mislead and lie in the title gives you a great first level filter.  When you see a title that says, “Cats Rain Down on Middle East Villiage, Many Killed” you should already be thinking “lol BS”, right?  This one is easy, because we all know cats don’t rain down from the sky.  Sure there is a really, really tiny, non-zero, quantum probability that some weird twist of causality may result in some cats falling down from the sky someplace.  But we can very easily rule this out and move on, finding the piece pretty much worthless.  “But, what if it is true and we miss something valuable?”  If such spectacular events are true many other credible sources (more on credible sources later) would pick up the story and it will go viral… trust me.  If this does happen you can always revisit the story.  This has happened to me a few times.

Step 2.  Reading is a level 2 filter.  The reality of most pieces will become very apparent usually within the introductory paragraph.  With the cats example it should mention in the introduction something like “… villagers have [claimed] that cats have rained from the sky upon them on a number of occasions in the past…”  I have noticed that trend in all forms of media.  Even reputable sources that have mislead people in the title, have shown the title as BS within that first paragraph.  

Step 3.  Sources are an important part of any piece put on the internet, placed in the newspaper or mentioned on the radio/TV.  An alarm bell should instantly sound off in your head if there are no sources mentioned.  That said, it is a good habit to scan through those references with a keen eye for any of them referencing books and other articles.  Meaning that anyone can write an article or book and self-publish.  The real stuff you are looking for are credible sources.  With the case of the raining cats what were looking for are those from science publications and websites (like Nature, or Science).  But we don’t stop there, the investigation is not finished.  This is only a level 3 filter.

Step 4.  By the time you hit this level of investigation, BS or truth may well have been discovered.  But sometimes pseudoscience can look like real science.  This is where you check into the sources themselves.  This is a more involved stage, because now you are looking to find validation for any Dr./PhD prefix/suffix mentioned on any name.  What you are looking for are those who are outside their field.  You don’t necessarily trust that Dr. Blough of the University of Pseudo Research knows anything about cats raining down on villages if Dr. Blough is a chiropractor.  Dr. Blough may well know lots about the topic, I admit, but if he is professing a knowledge outside his area of expertise, this should require more detailed investigation on the source.  Ask questions.  “Has the source been found guilty of misleading the scientific community?”  “How does the rest of his colleagues feel about the source?”  The point here is, now your investigation takes on a life of its own.  The more you discover about this sources the more you’re leaning to believe or disbelieve the article in question.  For instance, if Dr. Blough has written other articles outside his field that are equally insane and unbelievable you know this person is more likely a pseudoscientist.  

Don’t misunderstand, these steps are only to help you think critically, to ask the right questions at the right time.  Anyone can do this, they only have to try.  No person is smarter than another and, unless you’re suffering from a serious chemical imbalance or brain damage anyone can think just as well as Stephen Hawking.  In time your BS detector will stop your belief in an idea as soon as you see the article, or picture, or video.  It takes practice.  So, now that you know, you can be a more effective reader, watcher and listener of media.

Peace and happy researching!