Homer’s brain: Don’t you get it? You gotta use reverse psychology!
Homer: Uh, that sounds too complicated…
Homer’s brain: Okay, don’t use reverse psychology.
Homer: All right, I will!
—The Simpsons (S3E09, “Saturdays of Thunder”)
Although I’m working towards a post about the dreadful mistreatment of the disabled in this country, I might as well get something else off my chest first (hey, it’s been nearly three weeks since my last post here). Don’t worry, I’m not angry so much as… well, grumbling, so I’ll make this my first “complaints” post in a while.
Some people are trying to change the world for the better, which can be a problem if they think they’re doing the right thing but in fact are making things worse, but at least I respect the effort, because they’re not just contemptuously slagging off other people’s lifestyles for entirely sadistic reasons, and then getting uppity because their victims are standing up to them.
However, one thing of which I’m becoming increasingly convinced is that arrogant white guys are not persuading me that anti-black racism is gone, or that men who don’t want to be “toxic” are “beta-males” or “soy-boys” (or even a certain P-word beloved of Trump). I know, Facebook, “serious business”, but I actually had to block someone there, to whom I’ll refer as “RS”, who continually writes negative comments on articles posted by “The Good Men Project” — and unless someone else is posting who’s blocked me, months later he’s still doing it, as I keep seeing, or rather not seeing, invisible comments on GMP’s posts!
What does it come down to? Oh, white people are the ones suffering from racism in America, black people should shut up about being treated like criminals when women and children are being abused (though on the same night he commented that men are raped more than women — is he a genuine troll?), boys aren’t being brought up to hide their emotions and fit in, there’s no toxic masculinity… all he’s ever done is convince me of the exact opposite!
And that’s my point tonight: I’m not changing my mind when people like this speak, I’m only becoming surer of what I already believe. This goes double for religious men who claim that homosexuality is inherently evil — and no, Muslims allegedly throwing gays off rooftops in Middle Eastern countries doesn’t somehow convince me that refusing to serve suspected gays in American shops is acceptable by comparison. As you know, I reject theocracy, and the more arrogantly the religious right behaves, the more they drive me away.
At least when a nice lady tried to convince me to become a Christian, I was able to politely decline — I’m not talking about “female best friend”, who convinced me to go to church with her (which I really did just to support my quasi-little sister), but a lady I worked with at Camden — she’d spoken righteously about me needing to go to church, as though it was self-evident… and thank $DEITY I wasn’t there when she brought my leaving presents, which were entirely Christian and of no interest to me.
(As I’m sure you know: I already own a Bible, thanks to “female best friend”, and I much prefer the Devil’s music!)
This is the thing: the more people try to convince me of things like this, the more I feel the exact opposite — because it seldom seems to involve rational discussion, and always seems to be either religious belief (which, by definition, is irrational — “I believe because it is absurd”), or just plain sneering insults.
Why, even a bloke I work with now (and who can cheer me up with his humour, perhaps because he looks like Eddie Hitler from Bottom) says, apparently seriously, that he doesn’t believe there should be vegetarian meat — he respects veganism, but only if they eat just vegetables. Now, while I see the point about not limiting ourselves to simulations of what we ate when we were “normal” and ate meat, he hasn’t exactly convinced me, an unapologetic vegetarian, to give up Quorn (other fake meat products are available, but not as good) — rather the opposite: like a trapped animal, it convinces me to stand up for myself, rather than humbly submit to the self-opinionated “wisdom” of others.
It’s like a kind of unintentional reverse psychology, isn’t it? So many groups have driven me away from their opinions by the way they act:
- Grumpy middle-aged men who claim the term “toxic masculinity” is proof that feminism is despicable, and that there’s too much whining about nothing (with the implication that their claimed lack of racism is the thing that’s actually making them angry);
- Religious zealots who are convinced they’re automatically right and their “post-modernist” opponents are somehow incontravertibly wrong (by coincidence, an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise featuring that twisted philosophy was on TV tonight);
- The anti-trans community, who can’t even stand Doctor Who now having a female lead, let alone believe that “trans-women” are anything other than male rapists;
- “Libertarians”, whose entire philosophy seems to be “I got mine, so why should I pay taxes to help the poor, that’s just theft by liberal socialists!”;
- Brexiteers whose sole statement is “we won, get over it”, ignoring how badly it seems to be going for the ordinary people of Britain;
- Trump supporters whose sole statement is “we won, get over it”, ignoring how badly it seems to be going for the ordinary people of America;
- Cyclists (not exclusively male) who run red lights, ride on the pavement etc. as though they’ve got right of way;
- Yes, even the bullies at school, who had a go at me for not getting drunk at the age of fifteen, supporting a football team etc. as though I should be more like them and less of a “loner”.
All of these people have driven me AWAY from their opinions, by their very attitudes — it’s literally their attempts to change my mind that have made me want to stay the same, only more so. It’s almost as though their psychology is acting in reverse!
Indeed, I have to wonder if they’re actually all equally incompent and incapable of making a convincing case: perhaps either something’s different about me (a difference that hasn’t been “corrected” by brain surgery) compared to the masses, so I’m not falling for the same trick… or, they’re actually trying to make me think about resisting what seems like reverse psychology, so I ponder their points of view and give their opinions a chance after all — a kind of reverse-reverse psychology? Is the aforementioned “RS” actually working for “The Good Men Project”, to convince people to defy him and stay with the group…?
Perhaps my mother was right: it’s pointless trying to have debates on Facebook — fair enough, I’ll stick to making jokes with my fellow fans of Bottom and Father Ted. Okey-dokey Richie, that would be an ecumencial matter!
— — —
In the inerests of balance, I should add that I don’t oppose all religious people, and am happy for those who believe to continue their independent, spiritual journeys (hence I won’t refer to their gods as “sky faries”, like many atheists do); I also regret saying all motorbike riders are despicable, as most actually obey the law (indeed, more so than bicycle riders, at least here in London!). In addition, football fans are, for the most part, decent people having a bit of fun while drinking a bit of beer (rather than acting like religious fundamentalists on too much communion wine), and I’m sure there are some political commentators who actually want to look at alternate systems objectively, and don’t just use “liberal” as a convenient insult (and claim “socialist=Nazi”), not to mention Brexit-supporters who think we should get out of the EU to escape a corrupt institution, rather than just so we can “kick der forinurz owt” and get rid of those oh-so-inconvenient human rights.
(Can’t think of any decent Trump supporters, though…)
Oh, and just to show I’m still against anti-male sexism and “feminazism“, and can’t be convinced that exploitation of men is somehow “funny” while ogling willing women is invariably evil, sick and wrong, I wish to say that Paco Rabanne are almost as bad as Bertolli: notice how the Invictus ad ends with the male god walking in on a group of women, who are waiting for him consensually (and sensually), with their clothes still on; but in the female Olympéa ad, the goddess (rather similar to Daenerys Targaryen) walks in on naked men showering, who humbly cover their privates in embarrassment…?