Sensitive Habitat

1. Spent a few hours at Shollenberger Park in Petaluma yesterday, and stood for a moment contemplating:

Within this sensitive habitat would occasionally land a large, not at all sensitive looking hawk, who would eye us with raptor-style disdain. He looked as if he were contemplating ripping my throat out. Hawks: Nature’s little mafia dons.

Was sore pressed by the urge to stand outside the Sensitive Habitat and issue subtle digs and insults at it, in a doomed but possibly amusing attempt to toughen it up a bit.

2. My thoughts were already inclined toward the contemplation of almost certainly pointless yet perhaps amusing activities by a curious first here at Yard Sale of the Mind: Some user at something called reddit linked to my last post as an example of Rage Culture. [correction: it’s evidently called Outrage Culture. It’s probably a thing. Not sure what the difference would be.]   The thoughts expressed in section 3, in case it’s not clear, are, in the opinion of the linker, the ravings of somebody in the grip of (presumably irrational) rage of a cultural nature. That I was in fact culturally enraged was averred by a number of marginally coherent and profanity laced comments, the writers of which were no doubt demonstrating how someone not at all enraged drops f-bombs and calls people names to model calm, open-minded and rational discussion.

Such gentle, brotherly rebukes were evidently called for to pour oil on the rage-enroiled waters of my soul, in order to save me from the egregious errors into which my obvious fury had flung me. For, in my cultural rage, I’d stated:

Another Orwellian euphemism in the service of modern education is ‘exposure’. The assumption is that if you don’t hand over your kids to the schools, they will somehow fail to be exposed to all the right stuff, and grow up with a narrow view of reality and thus be unable to realize their full potential. That if you let your young children pursue whatever interests them instead of micromanaging their every minute, they will grow up stunted. That if you don’t send them to school and act in loco schoolmasters and enforce all homework without question, you are a Bad Parent who has Ruined their own child.

But War is Peace. The actually effect of all the ‘exposure’ is that our kids are unlikely to ever hear a clear explication and vigorous defense of any position not held by their school masters. They are then trained to reject any other opinions out of hand – this is called ‘critical thinking’. The stunning willingness of people to embrace the most outrageous caricatures of those we disagree with increases with the level of education, so that a PhD pretty much immunizes the victim against ever entertaining an idea that they have not already accepted.

I must admit that I’d totally missed the rage evidently dripping from these observations. Within the context of this blog, I innocently thought them fairly pedestrian.  In fact, in my unenlightened state, I’d have thought the initial classification of my observations as the products of ‘rage culture’ and the subsequent 2-minute hate heaped upon them, kind of proved my point.

I suppose it’s flattering to think anyone would reference anything written on this humble blog as an example of anything, good or bad, except maybe as a cautionary tale of blogging itself. So, here’s a question for all 6 of my regular readers:  Do I go back to this reddit thing, find out how one joins or is allowed to comment, and then offer to my obvious moral and emotional, not to mention intellectual, superiors the opportunity to correct and inform me by directing me to the no doubt blindingly lucid and meticulously reasoned sources by which they, and millions like them, independently reached absolutely the same conclusions about just about everything that matters? I’m just certain they would welcome the opportunity to gently correct my errors! Or do I rather pour myself another cup of delicious Peet’s coffee (Holiday Blend), tuck into another piece of delicious leftover Christmas pie, and get back to working on the Novel That Shall Not Be Named? If that’s not too ragey…

3. 1st rough draft is up to 10 pages/3,100+ words. I’m like 2-3% done! All down hill from here! I’ve got the rough outlines of the main characters for Part 1 laid out, keeping in mind John C Wright’s advice to go ahead and use stereotypes, but use more than one per character, and don’t let them be boring. I’ve got the total hot-shot EV jock who is also a loving mom and wife; a genius engineer who is also a glory hound and elitist snob; a power hungry 2nd son whose manipulative mom is sending him off to the stars and so on.

I do have dozens of pages of references, links, snippets of stuff from the web that might bear on the science/tech.  But actual text, like the story itself? 3100 words, baby! At this rate, 1st draft in about 100 days. Wish me luck.

4. Finally, leaving the Shollenberger Park, saw another mildly baffling sign:


Oooo-kay. I’m imagining piles of valuables on the pavement next to the vehicle, but invisible! Or heaped up on a picnic table in such a way that no one can see them. Or – what? Do they mean ‘make sure nobody can see any valuables you leave in the car’? Because, that’s not what it says. In fact, that possibility is ruled out by the first imperative. I think the only thing we can be confident in is that, whatever we do with our valuables, we should not upset the sensitive habitat. Or the hawk may well rip our lungs out.

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

22 thoughts on “Sensitive Habitat”

  1. If it’s a question of going on reddit and setting them straight, absolutely you should do it, if only for the sake of the one or two people who otherwise might not ever get to see calm, open-minded and rational discussion modeled. But if it’s a question of time management priorities, maybe the novel wins … ?

    1. It’s very tempting to go over and ask: since you hold your views not as part of an enforced collection (avoiding ‘herd’ here) but in some other way, please share that other way with me so that I might join you. Or even: give me an example of a teacher or professor you had who taught something of any importance to which all the the other teachers or professors were not in agreement with or indifferent to? What happened to them?

      You know? The chance of this having any effect are so slim, that I think I’ll work on the novel instead.

  2. Reader 6 here,
    In re 2)
    a) Rule number [2? 3?]: [something something] always project.

    b) Personally, when someone is wrong on the internet… ignore furiously. I’d go with working on the novel.

    1. That what I wrote was responded to by profanity-laced tirades was just too – perfect? predictable?

      Novel-wise, still getting all the people and their relationships down. I’m only into Generation 2 of the colonists, and need to marry some people off…

  3. Leftover Christmas pie has to win out every time over giving yourself indigestion on Reddit…
    And maybe you could have toughened up that sensitive habitat by reading out your “enraged” blog post. You may have got to witness it calling for a safe space and begging for puppies!

    1. One last piece left, but I think I’ve had my share of Christmas pies, and then some. Plenty of good coffee, though! And there’s some fancy Eastern European fruit cake thing that gets a bourbon sauce of some sort still to come!

      In the Sensitive Habitat, there are wooden posts with nesting boxes for small birds on top. The hawk liked to perch on them. This, somehow, has to be cosmically related to Rage Culture, but I can’t figure out exactly how.

  4. Sounds like you touched a nerve over at this ironically misspelled reddit thing. It seems that all anyone needs to do is come up with a suitable label like “Rage Culture” to take the place of thought and the Herd of Independent Minds (see how easy it is?) will immediately rant and spew, perhaps in this case in an

    1. The internet is a truly wonderful place, where complete strangers (at least, I hope they’re strangers) can find a completely obscure blog someplace to use an an example of All That’s Wrong, and get a few dozen of their friends to react to it. It’s a little amazing, and that’s apart from the oddity of the reactions it seemed to generate. I only read a few of the responses (there were only a few there when I checked it out), there may be more, and they may change tone. Who knows? But nobody leapt in to say: hey, guys, aren’t we doing just what that loser said we’d do?

  5. It would seem that the obvious solution to your quandary would be to go to the nearest Greyhound station and buy a ticket to a re-education camp. There you will be taught how to properly think and develop an appreciation for all of the wonderful things that our benevolent government does for you.

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