One thing has nothing to do with the next

I've been trying hard to explain to people certain mistakes several people make. My favorite one is when people mix two things together that have nothing to truly do with each other. Case in point:

Three people have this in common:
- Work in the same place, do the same type of job.
- Smoking
- Same education level

One can deduct quite a bit from the tree facts stated above, and it's quite easy to give one an idea of what kind of people to expect when we meet the three. The point to remember is that none of the three facts above accuratly points out anything about the personality of three people. It can be argued that the education level can tell how enriched one person is, that smoking can give away the addictive and influential part of somebody's personality. Yet, we don't have a positive enough correlation between these facts and results that it's mere speculation what someone's assumption is.

Another example is if someone is to offer you their old computer as a gift. Before you take the gift, the person offers to go over it with you to see if any bugs or problems are present. You simply answer "I trust you."
One thing has nothing to do with the other. The level of trust has no money on the reliability of the machine itself. Yet one can thing that the person wouldn't give them junk.

Parents are amazing at making these sort of assumptions. Often times 'seeing' themselves into their own kids. My dad was arguing with me the other day and managed to turn a completely out of context incident into 'his fault'. As if he was so important that all decision making from now on was a direct influence of his teachings. It shows a certain arrogance, and ignorance.

Quebec has a mentality that loves to do these types of things. It is my own assessment that makes me believe that Quebecois loves to do assumptions and spread rumors. I often times enjoy listening to Quebecois discussing politics. The amount of crap that comes out of their mouths is incredible, and often times the system won't even allow their assumptions to come true and when you point it out it's simply: "tu vas voir! Son capable de faire n'importe quoi!". It's ridiculous.



"World" events such as the soccer/football World Cup and the Olympics are puzzling. Their goals are to unite fans from all around the world, no matter what race, religion, or country, and get them to rally behind a common ambition. On the contrary, it appears that the results of these competitions is taken so personally, that fans of different teams will insult each other and argue on the merits of each other's team -- eventually degrading to insulting each other's cultures and countries. Eric told me a story a few days ago about such an incident where two men resolved an unrelated dispute by insulting each other on soccer terms. Having twenty flags from your home country taped to the roof of your car and driving around does not in any way unite people, it simply encourages divides between essentially imaginary state lines.

I always recall Noam Chomsky's comments in the documentary film on Manufacturing Consent, during which, as an anecdote, he presents his case against sports fanaticism. He says that he does not understand why people should feel so sentimentally attached to a specific team. He recalls how he was one of the few people in University that didn't care about their football team. His reasoning is that he didn't know anybody on the team or anybody related to the team members, nor did he have a vested interest in the game. Therefore, why should he care about the outcome, other than for it be an entertaining game?

Formula 1 is another interesting case. People attach themselves to pilots because of their nationalities, but their talents have almost nothing to do with nationality -- it's all for bragging rights. The team members are rarely of the same nationality as the driver, the car chassis and engine were not designed by people of the same nationality, etc. Therefore, we seek to identify ourselves with someone that we have something in common with, but the only thing we have in common is a meaningless symbol.

Showing Off

All too often, I have heard ridiculous comments in music circles about bands that appear to be too talented. Reviewers and average joes alike often dismiss bands on the grounds that they must be show-offs because of their incredible virtuosity and musicianship. Specifically, I have heard this a number of times about certain progressive rock bands such as Gentle Giant. "Over-indulgent" and other terms come to mind, but I really don't understand the use of such adjectives. It seems to me that if you have talent, its best to showcase it in the best way you can. If a band is simply making technical noise with no pleasing attributes or underlying melody, it might be criticized as such, but calling music too technical, or musicians too talented makes no sense whatsoever. I'm of the opinion that the members of Gentle Giant were some of the most talented musicians in rock history. The music they made is challenging, complex, but melodic and beautiful all at the same time. It requires active listening, and an understanding of music, which many are not disciplined enough to do. This is not music to be listened to at a dinner party. Their music has been dismissed by a number of people who simply do not understand it, and therefore try to boost their egos by insulting or bringing down the music. How often do we hear that a famous painter, such as Renoir, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Rembrandt, etc. were over-indulgent show offs? How about Hemingway, Beckett, Conrad, Poe, or Shakespere, in literature? You don't, because those people would be called morons.


Minimum Wage Redux

I wrote on the minimum wage laws in the United States a while back, but there's some news regarding the situation today. As you may know, the federal minimum wage in the United States is $5.15 an hour, and this has remained unchanged in 9 years, not even being adjusted for inflation. An annual salary of a person earning minimum wage is therefore $10,700, which is far below the poverty line. Essentially, the buying power of the poorest people in the United States becomes smaller and smaller with each passing year as the cost of goods increases. In these past 9 years, energy, housing, and gasoline prices have seen dramatic rises.

Today, the US Senate voted on a bill which would have raised the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. The bill did not pass, and so the minimum wage will stay the same for years to come. The irony in this whole situation is that a week ago the Senators who are supposed to represent the American people voted and passed a bill which raised their salaries. In the 9 years since minimum wage has been increased, Senators and Congressmen have voted to increase their own salaries by over 25%, up to their current level of $168,000 US a year. Every single one of these people should be thrown out of office. Who exactly do these "representatives" think they're representing? It's certainly not your average American.


"I refuse to work within the system"

Within the first semester of John Abbott, I took a political course which had a very interesting chapter to it. It reflected upon the self-interests of several individuals. When I first heard of this, I kind of simply brushed it off as something everyone knew and understood already, but the more I grow, the more I find it to be quite the interesting chapter indeed.

There are in my mind two ways to govern a country. The one being to simply tell people how to live, and the other to merely let them do what they want within certain confines. It's the difference between an ant, and someone who has his own room. In both systems, the individuals are still confined. One has the illusion that he/she is free but still is bordered while the other one has no illusions of freedom and isn't exacly given the hope of such a lifestyle either.

The interesting part is that people who live in the fenced off (room-like) regiment actually have no idea they live in such a fashion and the people who cross over into the system are even more moronic to realize it. I've been having a fun time observing certain people here at my work. It's a new system that makes renting videos a completely lonesome experience. Once you've registered, there's no need to talk to individuals, yet some clients insist on my assistance every time they walk in. Clients have this ideal image of how the system should work and are annoyed by the fact that it doesn't match, yet they're persistant and want to keep their utopic vision and often stay in denial. They don't learn from the system, they're hoping the system will learn from them.

My boss' bought a property in the city and decided to take care of the people who parked in the alleyway behind it. Turns out, one of the cars belonged to some new immigrant who comes from some Arabic-ant-like country. He called in once they added a little notice on his windshield stating that if he parked there again they would tow his vehicle, the first thing he said was that people tresspassed on his property. With his horrible accent and lack of vocabulary, this fresh-off-the-boat useless bastard was claiming people were tresspassing on his property for having put the notice there. Typical.

Politicians are the best illusionists.