Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Taxonomy of Annoying People

While I spend most of my time attacking the other side for their various misdeeds, I suppose it's only fair to point out some flaws by people "on our side" who annoy me at various times. So, here's a taxonomy of annoying people on our side:

The Defeatists - Doom and gloomers who know it is all hopeless, who know that we can't win elections, or that if we do win elections nothing will improve, and who think that people who bother to try are just wasting their time. Why these people spend so much time paying attention to this stuff if there's nothing to be done I do not know. If you really feel that way go do something else with your time, otherwise I expect you're just addicted to the sweet thrill of self-righteous outrage.

The Armchair Revolutionaries - People who are convinced that the only way to enable change is to take to the streets in mass protest movements, and that anyone who isn't taking to the streets is a big sellout wimp. Whatever the validity of this viewpoint, I say go ahead and do it and convince others to do so. There are, for example, small scale war protests all over the country which people attend every week. Are you attending them? Are you trying to organize more? Or are you just fantasizing about a noble struggle which you aren't really bothering to take part of.

Sock Puppeteers - People who think that I, and every other blogger, exist to give voice to your personal issues.

The Narcissists - People who think politicians exist to cater to them personally.

The Magical Thinkers - People who speak in semi-riddles, hinting at webs of understood secrets, conspiracies, and truth who actually are just spouting gibberish.

The Lazies - People who think its my job, or any other blogger's job, to spend time, effort, and money supporting candidates or causes even though they themselves aren't actually doing it.

The Demanders - People who demand that people agree with them, rather than thinking that maybe they should try persuasion instead.

The Forwarders - People who randomly add others to their personal email lists, forwarding every interesting thing and thought they have.

Assumers of Bad Faith - Those who think that people who disagree with them can't possibly have come to that opinion honestly, that they must be on the take, or have a hidden agenda, or be misrepresenting themselves, or whatever.

And, yes, this list sounds cranky but I'm really just having a bit of fun. More than that, while Time's Person of the Year was stupid and condescending, the internets do provide an easy way for people to get involved, persuade, and lead. You don't have to have a "big blog" like this to reach people. If nothing else, Daily Kos and other sites give anyone the potential to have, at least temporarily, a sizeable megaphone which you can use to reach a large audience. In meatspace there are numerous ways you can get involved in local or national politics, or join in with charitable works, or whatever. I'm not telling people they have to do these things, I'm just saying that as some guy once said, you have the power, and the tools are there for you to do so with minimal effort. We live in an age when any idiot on the internets can potentially have an impact on our national discourse, so if you have an issue, or a cause, or a candidate, or whatever, you can try to to organize and persuade and lead. Sitting around in a pool of defeatist narcissistic self-righteous fury while despairing about the grand truths only you understand is good fun, and we all do it at times, but ultimately it doesn't accomplish anything. If the world isn't to your liking, try to change it, and as some other guy suggested, you can start by being the change.