Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Brutally Honest Rant - 03/29/06

Brutally Honest Audio Rant: The "H-Rule" and Other New Rules
Audio Transcripts

[Start Program]
(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – "American Idiot Remix" – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)

Good evening, and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.

This week is a somewhat important milestone here at the Brutally Honest Command Center. This Saturday - April 1st - will mark the TENTH ANNIVERSARY of the Brutally Honest website. TEN YEARS AGO from this Saturday, I first posted my weekly commentary over on AOL’s website. And that website is still there today!

Now that’s something that can’t be said about many other websites. I was here before Fox News ever existed. I was here before MSNBC ever got started. I was here before blogging and podcasting were even invented, and I was DOING these things before they were even called such! I’ve fought the good fight against censorship, and it’s STILL going on today! Not too many other folks could say that.

And during the course of these past ten years, one of the things that really piss me off are the jerkoffs who think that they can change the rules of discourse on a whim just to gain the upper hand.

When I was a kid, there was another kid who did the same thing. No matter what the game was, if it was his game, then it operated by his rules, and he changed those rules all of the time just so he would win all of the time. He could not bear losing at anything.

And unfortunately he’s not the only one with this problem. There are plenty of other folks who feel that they can change the rules anytime they want to without notice, without any kind of agreement, and just to give themselves the upper hand in any social interaction.

And they’re able to get away with it because the alternatives are (a) don’t continue with the discourse, whereby the cheater wins by default, or (b) reach over there and beat the crap out of the cheater, whereby the cheater again wins by default because you committed a crime. You see, THIS is why I think dueling should be legal, because this kind of crap would not be allowed to go on in society if we were given the opportunity to eliminate the cheater… or to at least make them WORK for it.

Listen, I’m all for civil discourse, but let’s get brutally honest here… you CANNOT have a civil discourse when you have one side constantly changing the rules on a whim just so they can always have the upper hand. That’s not civil discourse; that’s just intellectual tyranny.

And I think that needs to change. So I’ve come up with a few rules of my own that I think will help bring a fair discourse between people.

Now, one of the rules that I’ve seen bantered about a lot, especially in the last few years, is the "H-Rule" or the "Hitler Rule". This is when people start uttering the word "Nazi" or make some comparisons of any government to Nazi Germany or to Adolph Hitler. Of course the minute you start uttering the words "Nazi" or "Hitler", the other side IMMEDIATELY gets in your face and screams that you’re NOT ALLOWED to use those words. You’re not ALLOWED to make that kind of comparison! You’re not ALLOWED to make that kind of reference!

To which, I say, politely: Blow me! I CAN make that kind of reference in a FREE SOCIETY! I have EVERY RIGHT to make any kind of comparison I want to in a FREE SOCIETY! And if you don’t like it, then you damned well better be prepared to do something about it, and you damned well better be prepared to LOSE!

Of course what happens is that the people who invoke the "H-Rule" are AFRAID of any kind of comparison made to what only could be the 20th Century personification of everything evil and vile in this world. Hitler was a monster. He was a demagogue. He was a diminutive bully with a viscous Napoleonic complex. And he laid down a trail of lies and manipulation that should serve as a warning for future generations, but obviously CANNOT be done BECAUSE of the "H-Rule". You know, if we can’t make that kind of comparison because of some BS rule invoked by a bunch of people who solidly deserve to get their asses kicked from here to Numbnuts, Alabama, then it’s pretty much too late, because at that point history will be repeating itself.

And by the way, anytime you have a government exerting its natural authoritarian tendencies, someone WILL object to it, no matter if that government is run by liberals, conservatives, bible-thumpers, scroll-pounders, or your basic garden variety thug. So if you don’t like the comparisons, then stop behaving in ways that elicit the comparisons! It’s that simple!

The hypocritical part about this is that the people who usually invoke the "H-Rule" often turn around and violate it themselves sometime later on in the discussion. First they say that you CANNOT make references to Nazism or Hitler and then they go ahead and drop a few references themselves. Yeah, so much for practicing what you preach.

So NEW RULE: The "Hitler Rule" is hereby and forever repealed. In a free society, which is what America is SUPPOSED to be, you’re allowed to make whatever government comparisons you wish.

BUT, I’d throw in a caveat to the new rule, and it would be this: if you’re going to refer to any kind of government as a fascist state or a Nazi state, then you had better be prepared to explain what your definition of those terms are and WHY you think the government in question is like that. So, for instance, if you want to compare our current federal government to Nazi Germany, then you had better be prepared to explain how the federal government has embraced the concepts on nationalistic socialism, which is what Nazism was. If you want to call the federal government a fascist government, then you had better be prepared to explain what fascism is and how the federal government has somehow become it.

I think that’s only fair, don’t you?

Okay, let’s go on to the next one…

NEW RULE: if you really don’t care how someone is, then don’t bother asking how they are on the phone.

This is something that really bugs me… because you know it’s fake. You get some stranger who doesn’t know you, but they will still ask "how are you" and will actually expect an answer!

"Hello, this is so-and-so from the XYZ Bank, how are you?"

Yeah, like that person really cares how the hell I am! Are they really going to call at a later time if I tell them that I’m having a really crappy day? NO! In all likelihood, their call isn’t going to brighten my day. In all likelihood, their call will either try to dampen whatever good mood I’m in or they will make a bad day even worse, and they KNOW IT.

Listen, if you’re not a friend or a family member and you’re not calling to give me a million dollars or to offer me a book or radio deal, then you don’t need to know how I’m doing! So don’t ask!

Or better yet, in situations like that, I think that it should be perfectly appropriate to give them WAY TOO MUCH information! I mean, hey, they wanted to know HOW we’re doing, right? So the phone rings and…

"Hello, this is Bob Pratchett from ScrewU Bank, how are you?"

Well Bob, I’m glad you called! You see, I’ve had this really NASTY boil on my ass that I’ve been DYING to tell people about, and since you wanted to know how I am doing, I gotta tell you this boil is really NASTY and UGLY and just OOOOZING out…well, hey, hold on Bob, you wanted to know how I’m doing… and it’s really making a mess, and it hurts when I sit down and it hurts when I stand up, and it hurts when I do nothing, so I’m glad that you care enough to ask how I am doing right now, and maybe next time you ask I’ll tell you how my bowel movements have been.

Trust me, they’ll change their phone etiquette really quick after a few of THOSE responses!

(Whispering) "It’s the Matthews guy… whatever you do, don’t ask him how he’s doing!"

NEW RULE: If you on a cellphone and you’re using the loudspeaker, then everyone around you gets to chime in on your conversation!

Unfortunately, technology creates way too many self-important twits who think that they can engage in a loud and boisterous conversation anyplace they feel like and still think that it’s "private". No, it’s not. If I can clearly hear both sides of the conversation and there’s only one of you present, then you’re making that conversation public, which means that I have every right to jump in if I so choose, because you’re BRINGING me into it by YOUR obnoxious behavior!

So I say, hey, if you’re going to bring the whole world into your conversation, I think we all should just sound off. Just lean on in and say in a really loud voice: "HEY BOB! THANKS FOR INCLUDING THE WHOLE WORLD IN ON YOUR PHONE CALL!" And if the guy, who’s probably now pretty annoyed, asks if you mind, you can then reply with "Well obviously YOU didn’t mind when you blasted your phone conversation out loud."

Listen up, Space Ranger, you’re not using the cellphone to talk Air Force One down for an emergency landing, so lay off the walkie-talkie mode and keep your phone conversations QUIET if you don’t want us to jump on in at any old time.

By the way, I’m all for letting movie theatres and other places use a new special paint that allows them to electronically block cellphone signals on command. And if you think about it, there really wouldn’t be the need for this kind of technology if people weren’t obnoxious dickheads when it comes to cellphones!

Okay, one more…

NEW RULE: If you want to talk about how "evil rich corporations" don’t pay "their fair share" of taxes, you need to first answer two questions… one, if YOU working for an "evil rich corporation", and, two, how much of YOUR paycheck should be taken out just so that "evil rich corporation" can PAY "their fair share" of taxes.

I’ve been hearing a lot about how big business doesn’t pay "their fair share" when it comes to taxes in America. The liberals LOVE to talk about this, especially now with the talk about immigration reform hitting the airwaves.

Well I’ve got news for you folks: businesses DO NOT pay taxes in the same way that you and I do! And I don’t mean they don’t "pay" those taxes…because they do! But they get to do something that WE don’t get to do… and that is pass that burden on to other people.

You see, this is something that probably isn’t taught in school, and it really needs to. When a business gets a tax bill – and I don’t care if it’s a mom-and-pop store, a home-based business, or one of those infamous multinational conglomerate corporations – they all get to pass that bill on to US, the consumers! You see, taxes aren’t some external bill that gets paid after everything else. Taxes to a business, any kind of business, are just a part of OVERHEAD, and that becomes part of the cost that you and I pay.

So if you think about it, a corporation doesn’t really pay taxes! They just pass the cost on down to US! WE end up paying THEIR taxes, and we don’t even realize it!

Okay, so, here you have some big multinational corporation, they make oodles of money, they post record profits for the year, and YOU, the clueless working class, think that it isn’t "fair" for a company to make so much money, especially when the rest of us are struggling to make ends meet. So you listen to the talk radio people like the liberals on Air America who say that it’s not "FAIR" for that company to post record profit, and you then contact your government representative and you tell him or her that you want the government to make that corporation PAY for being profitable. You want them to be PUNISHED for making a profit! You want them to pay higher taxes!

So BIG GOVERNMENT turns around and hits BIG BUSINESS with a bigger tax bill for making more money. But that corporation doesn’t pay that tax bill through their profits. They pay that bill as a part of their OVERHEAD, because that’s what a tax bill is… it’s OVERHEAD. And there’s two ways that any business pays that kind of extra expense… either they pass the cost on to US, the consumers, as part of the overall price of their product, or they take the money from some other expense… such as payroll! And if you’re in charge of that big corporation, you’re certainly not going to move to cut your own payroll just to appease a bunch of clueless people who have no idea how the world operates!

So either the working class gets to pay higher prices, or they get to lose money… all in the name of making big business "pay" for being too damned profitable. Is it fair? No, but that’s life.

And that brings me back to the new rule. If you’re one of those people who feel that big businesses should "pay their fair share", then you need to ask yourselves if you’re working for a corporation… and if so, then how much should YOU give up just so you can "punish" those corporations for being so damned successful.

Whoops! There I go again… uttering that forbidden word "THINK"! I forgot, we’re not SUPPOSED to THINK, we’re just supposed to react and obey. What was I thinking?

(Computer – it’s a fun mix… really… but you gotta hear it to know what it is!)
(Fade Music In – "Who am I" by Peace Orchestra)

You know, a lot of these new rules I mentioned deal with being rude to other people. And I know that this is going to sound a bit strange, but I think that in situations like these, we NEED to be a little rude to counter rudeness.

Far too many of us are living our lives muddled in our own self-centered world, and sometimes we just need to get a wake-up call. The ones who really need that wake-up call are like that neighborhood kid I knew who changed the rules just so he’d always win. People like him need to be reminded that they aren’t the center of the universe.

And by the way, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a lot of these little social problems wouldn’t be problems if formalized dueling were legal. But… that’s just me.


Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!

(Fade out)
(Computer – Ending/"End of Recording")

[End of program]

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