Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Various Mind Games

I’ve been noting some odd tidbits in the past few days. It makes more sense to do a Readers Digest style collection of short quips.


I think I’ve landed upon the fundamental difference between conservatives and liberals. Or at least I’ve noticed left-leaning folk on the web consistently hitting on this point in their criticism of the right. And that is: conservatives don’t care what anyone else thinks about them, and liberals do. I’m not quite sure what the criticism implies, although I gather this is a bad thing. Frankly, I think it’s a pretty good idea not to be overly concerned with other people’s opinions about you, whatever your political persuasion. There rarely is any sort of valid consensus, and it’s often people who, for whatever reason, just don’t like you and never will. Doesn’t make you right or wrong, or them right or wrong.

This is how kids are, not adults – seeking validation in the eyes of others, or believing your opinion is the moral axis around which the world must spin. It just seems like another of those ersatz value systems the left is trying to foist on all of us. If I think your opinion of me is invalid that makes me arrogant? No, it makes me an adult, who knows there’s a ton of shit you’re not seeing about me, who doesn’t feel any burning need to win you over or judge you in any sense, who understands that your value system might be fucked, and most importantly, who hopes my opinion of you is viewed as equally irrelevant. It’s far beyond a liberal/conservative thing. I’m advocating not just the refusal, but the negation of a faulty judgment system, whether it’s yours or mine.

And I think the more people on the left grasp this concept, the better chance they’ll have of regaining political power in America. As it stands now, every time I see someone on the left dropping this bon mot as if it were a damning accusation or universal truth, I do the “Loser” sign on my forehead with my index finger and thumb. These are people who don't grasp reality -- the right has issues, but this aint one of them.


More importantly, here’s a picture of Oscar Gamble. I can’t stop thinking about his afro, and the way it would balloon out from under his baseball hat. I wonder how he kept the hat on when he ran -- wouldn't the gigantic plume of hair under his hat simply cause it to fly off his head when he moved at a high rate of speed? He had to be the coolest-looking baseball player ever. (I tried to get him in his classic Yankees hat – I’ll always remember him as a Yankee, even though he was a Phillie for a very short while – but this Cleveland Indians image is much less fuzzy, photo-quality wise as opposed to hair. You should be hearing "Rock Your Baby" by George McCrae playing in your head right now.)


Speaking of cool looks, I think I’ve finally focused on the uncoolest look a guy can have, or at least a white guy: the “goatee with shaved head” look. A coworker recently gave birth to a daughter that she had with a guy who, while not a one-night stand, was someone whom she wishes was just that. They were dating for two months, she got knocked up, decided to have the kid, and found this asshole permanently attached to her life. It takes two to tango, but he sounds like a real piece of work, the usual things errant grown men are: clueless, nuts and childish.

Another coworker forwarded jpeg pictures of the happy mother and child this week, and even before seeing pictures of this guy, I said to myself, “I bet he has a shaved head and goatee.” Sure enough, he did. And that same quizzically stupid look these guys often sport, although they’re usually smart enough to hide this with wraparound shades. It's just one "tough guy" affectation stacked on top of another. Throw in a forearm tattoo – maybe the head of a snarling Doberman with the word “Badass” scribbled underneath – a pack-a-day habit, a drinking problem, and a prodigious belly, and this was him. Also add ownership of only two CDs: the greatest hits of George Thorogood and Bachman Turner Overdrive. Buh-buh-buh-bad to the bone!

What is it with beefy, balding white guys and the “goatee with shaved head” look? I’m not asking rhetorically. Why would a guy make himself this homely? I can understand the shaved head – a balding guy either wants to avoid the fact that he’s balding or hasn’t wrapped his mind around the concept of keeping his hair short on the sides, because every other look will just be weird. I’ll never understand the goatee, the silliest facial hair a man can have, sillier than mutton chops or an Amish beard, which at least have a certain novelty to them.

Put both of them together, and it’s insecurity overkill. If other guys are supposed to be intimidated – which seems to be the vibe a lot of these guys put out in the way they carry themselves – guess again. I’m automatically thinking, “Dude, you’re not fooling anybody.” I’m always suspect of any guy who tries to physically intimidate anyone, but to do so with a shaved head an bad facial hair seems like a strange route to take. (I may have noted this previously, but the only look that intimidates me is shaved head with an Amish beard.)

When I did a Google image search to find the perfect example of this look, nothing worthwhile came up, but ironically, the first entry was for an off-duty cop on a “Bears” dating website, looking for a new boyfriend. And I thought, “Well, that shoe fits a little more snugly than I anticipated …”


With World Cup soccer in full swing, and the games being shown on American TV late morning and mid-afternoon, I'm wondering which would be a worse-case scenario: the United States team really sucking or winning the whole thing. When the team sucks, as it did this time around, you get the usual stories: the U.S. is out of touch with the rest of the world, there's something wrong with us because soccer isn't one of our premier sports, we're isolated, etc. The usual meaningless shit. If the team won, I could already predict the spin: the U.S., with their my-dick-is-bigger-than-yours ethic, has to control everything, even football, why couldn't they leave this one thing for the rest of the world to have, bunch of bullies, they ruin everything, etc.

In short, whether we were to suck or dominate, the theme would be the same: anti-Americanism. I suspect with the influx of Central and South American immigrants, and the slow growth of high-school soccer programs all over America, it's only a matter of time (within a decade?) before the U.S. team gets good. In the U.S., there's much more of a financial impetus for our best young male athletes to go with baseball, basketball or football. Most countries in the world, how many big-money sports do you have competing with soccer? In most of them, none. Rugby? Cricket? Soccer would grow exponentially if deep-pocketed team owners invested in the U.S. league, brought in name players, scored lucrative TV network deals. Things don't seem to be happening on that level just yet. And most Americans simply don't care, which is no great tragedy. We're better off sucking for now.


I was wrong about Oscar Gamble being the coolest-looking baseball player ever. This guy is, and a Phillie to boot, although I don't remember him. Judging by the historical success rate of the Phillies pitching staff, he probably was legally blind.

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