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July 18, 2015

Fundamental Concepts - Normal [Weirddave]

This past week I finally got a chance to see the Disney movie Frozen. I liked it. It was cute. The plot was standard Disney fare. The music was catchy. Too catchy, to be honest, I've had the title song as an ear worm since Wednesday, I just can't seem to..........let it go.


Yeeeeeyahhhhh!


Kidding aside, I said the plot was standard Disney fare, and it was. Anna, who has been cloistered her whole life, finally gets a chance to mingle with people at her sister's coronation. She immediately falls madly in love with Prince Hans, and then spends the rest of the movie actually falling in love with Kristoff the ice man.

Just for fun, do a little Googling and you'll find that disparaging this plot as evil is a cottage industry. The usual offenderati and victim class are out in force, decrying “What does this teach little girls?” and how awful it is that Frozen “Reinforces archaic stereotypes” and how it's a tragedy that Anna must “depend on a man” (which she actually didn't, Kristoff's role in this movie is pretty much “taxi” ) and all kind of other garbage.

Disney makes a movie where the two central characters are strong, independent women and the males are all relegated to supporting roles, and this is just another example of how the patriarchy works to keep women oppressed. Right.

It's not just Disney. Everything in popular media and culture that even mentions traditional behavior is constantly under attack by these clowns and losers. The Political Hat's Twitter feed (@Thepoliticalhat) is a wonderful place to see this insanity on display. Not because Hat is a SJW or anything (The Social Justice Hat?) but because he makes it his mission to expose this stuff to daylight by retweeting or linking the madness. I remember one that he retweeted, and I'm paraphrasing here because I don't have the exact tweet handy, “We wouldn't have had to come up with the term cis-normative if y'all hadn't have insisted on calling yourselves normal. You're welcome”, or words to that effect.

Well, guess what, Sunny Jim? I am normal. And you are not.


“Normal” is a word that has a specific definition.

normal [nawr-muh l] : adjective 1. conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural. 2. serving to establish a standard. 3. Psychology. 1. approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment. 2. free from any mental disorder; sane.

The reason that Frozen resonates with little girls is because 90% of them want to grow up and find a boy to love who will love them. They want to settle down and raise a family and have a normal life. 90% of little boys out there identify with Simba; they just can't wait to be king and anticipate having to fight and defeat Scar to do it.

That's just the reality of life, and we have to stop being afraid to say so. For a moment, let's think of society as a wooden house, and people as the 2 X 4s that that house is built of. The truck from Home Depot drops off a bunk of 2 X 4s, and you set to work sorting them. Most of the boards are straight and true, these you put in one pile. Some of them, however, are not going to be straight or true. They'll be twisted, or curved or short: abnormal in some fashion. These you put in a second, smaller pile. Here's the $64000 question: From which pile are you going to select a board to be used as a template for your house design, the larger pile or the smaller one? If you chose the smaller pile, I don't really want to go into your house when you're done building. It'll likely fall on me.

None of this means that the boards in the second pile are not useful. Some can be trimmed to fit in certain spaces, some will fit perfectly in spots that don't need a straight and true standard 2 X 4. It just means that you don't design the house around the boards that aren't normal.


Now, let's take this concept back to human society.

If someone is gay, they are not normal.

If someone is transgendered, they are not normal.

If someone is poly-amorous, they are not normal.

If someone believes that they are dragon kin, they are not normal.


And so on. You know what? ****drum roll**** So what? Who really cares? There has never been another society in the history of the world that is as accommodating of people who are abnormal as 21st Century Western Civilization. You're gay? Fabulous. Transgender? Sounds like fodder for a movie of the week. Poly-amorous? Just don't do it in the street and frighten the livestock. And so on. Our society is perfectly happy to allow just about any predilection, kink or fetish to be practiced by any individual as long as it isn't harming other people.

The problem is that that wasn't good enough. There is a small but incredibility noisy faction of abnormal people for whom acceptance and toleration wasn't enough. For these people that fact that they were abnormal, for whatever reason, became not a quirk but a malignant hate. They know that they are not normal, but instead of accepting that they were different and moving on, they feel compelled to attack what is normal and try to destroy it.

And this is where the problem starts. Because they are a twisted board, they think the entire house should be designed to be built of twisted boards. If every board were twisted, this would be a great idea, but since 90% of the boards are straight, the resulting house will not be structurally sound. It will collapse.

We have to reign this in or we're finished. To do that we need to do several things:

#1 Realize what a tiny minority of people are making all of the noise. Our society is so interconnected and mass marketed today that a tiny, tiny number of people can assume a presence all outsized to their true proportions. Hundreds of ethics complaints were filed to ruin Sarah Palin, almost all of them came from just one person. If all you judge by is popular mass media, you'd think that these SJW types are a majority. In fact they are not, they are a very, very, very, very vocal minority attempting to drown out the voices of the majority by sheer will. This is perhaps the greatest lesson of Gamergate and the recent Reddit scandal.

#2 Reject the “I'm offended” gambit. This is one of their strongest weapons. Since we live in a pluralistic society, we are trained from birth to be sensitive to the feelings and opinions of others. This is necessary for a pluralistic society to function. Abnormal people have seized upon this reluctance to willingly offend and weaponized it. “That's offensive to me!” reflexively puts a lot of people on the defensive. Oh! I certainly didn't mean to offend, better apologize. Do that, and you've lost. This is extremely effective with the older generation, raised in a politer time. We have to reject the idea that because someone claims to be offended that that validates their position. I get offended all the time, but because I'm a white male I'm expected to swallow it. My being offended is offensive to these prigs who will then attempt to beat me into submission with it. Don't let them. If someone claims that your normal behavior or beliefs offends them, the correct response is "Too bad".

#3 Finally we need to reassert the benefits of what's normal. Generally speaking, things are normal because they work to the benefit of the maximum amount of people. We should seek to make accommodations to those who are abnormal, but not at the expense of what's working for the vast majority of the rest of us. That's my beef with gay marriage. Gay people said “It's not right that straights can get married and acquire a bunch of advantages that we don't have because we're gay”. Thoughtful people looked at the situation, agreed, and sought ways to accommodate the needs of gay people through civil unions and the like. Activists said “Forget it, we demand you change what works for most of the population to suit us”, and when people weren't generally willing to do that, they went to the courts to force their POV. Now “marriage” doesn't mean “marriage”, and if trends continue with every other group demanding that “marriage” be changed to accommodate their tiny fetish, where does that leave us? Today, you meet someone who says “I'm married”, you know what that means. In the future if “I'm married” that you have to enquirer if that means to a woman or to a clown, a transvestite and a troop of gibbons, does the word have any meaning anymore? And if the word loses meaning, is the majority of society, the normal people, better off, or worse off? I think the later.


Finally, a note. It is important that you understand that I am not using the term “abnormal” as a pejorative. I'm using it in a statistical manner. There is no value judgment attached. If 80% of people get married, and 20% do not (I have no idea the actual percentages), than marriage is normal and being single is abnormal. That isn't to say that being single is bad, it just isn't the norm. And that's ok. I personally like liver quite a bit. Brussel sprouts too. Liver and brussel sprouts would be a fantastic meal, a real treat. I'm pretty abnormal in thinking that.

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:00 AM

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