[I am currently blogging, along with my daughter, all the way through the alphabet. Check out how the idea started, and get the rules here.]
A list of things I would never miss if they disappeared from planet Earth overnight:
1. That whole “doggone it/carnsarnit/dagnabbit HonkeyTonk thing
2. Men who refer to themselves as “cowboys” and aren’t embarrassed to wear cowboy hats in non-rural areas. I would be just as confused by a woman who refused to wear anything but pumps on the farm.
3. Nearly all R & B music. Most country music, but not all. Of course my reasons for liking certain country artists/songs are totally arbitrary and just as indefensible as it is to like (or dislike) the entire genre to begin with. My point? We can argue our likes and dislikes, but ultimately there’s no real reason for them. That’s as true for my love of rock and roll as it is for my disdain for country and R & B.
4. Bible-thumpers. I’m trying to stick to objects and not get personal, so maybe I should say it’s not the people themselves, it’s self-righteous attitudes and “everyone’s going to hell but me and my friends” theologies.
5. The entire so-called “Christian” subculture. Yep, all of it. Christian bookstores. Christian movies. And especially Christian radio. I realize the contradictions inherent in this. I have discovered many of my favorite authors and musical artists in Christian bookstores and I am forever grateful. Still, on balance, I think the world and the church would be better off if these places ceased to exist and Christian writers, musicians, etc., had to compete in the same marketplace as everybody else to get their ideas heard. Having said this, if I as a writer were offered a contract with a Christian publisher tomorrow, I would take it. But I hope when I am seeking publishers, I can write deep and wide enough for everybody, not just the subculture, and get my book picked up by a secular publisher.
6. All things violent. Hunting, MMA, boxing, etc. I’m not personally critical of those who enjoy this stuff, and I’m not suggesting it is a character flaw. I am just saying I don’t understand it. Having said this (remember, the reasons we like and dislike things are irrational — we merely attempt to defend them rationally), I am never more inspired by anything than a good war movie.
7. Beer. And drunkeness. I sympathize greatly with those who find themselves struggling with substance abuse, but I’m not even talking about that here. Nor am I talking about aficionados — those who have their own stills and really enjoy the whole ale culture. I am talking specifically about the taste of beer, and specifically about those who think getting drunk is fun. I hate the feeling of being drunk, and it’s pretty hard to argue that the world wouldn’t be a better place if all drunkenness disappeared from the earth overnight. People might have to learn how to relax and have fun in their completely right minds.
8. Bodily noises of every kind, especially around women. I realize that with this, many men will want to revoke my Guy Card, if they haven’t already. But dang dudes, what’s wrong with considering the feelings and perspectives of the people around you? Your wife, love you as she does, doesn’t want to know what the inside of you smells like. Let’s face it, she considers herself lucky some days if she can stand the smell of the outside of you. Do you dig it when she goes on and on about tampons and her period stuff? Quid pro quo, fellas.
9. The male attitude that women exist to serve men. The female attitude that men are just doofuses (a la Homer Simpson) and it’s okay to insult them in ways women would never tolerate. The idea that the male attitude is somehow Christian.
10. The idea that those with good kids and strong marriages somehow “got lucky.” It discounts the hard work it takes to get these things.
11. The notion that most people on welfare are living better than most of the middle class. This can be easily countered with actual data. This isn’t to say that our current methods of addressing poverty don’t tend to create dependency but that’s a separate issue.
12. The assumption that those of us who are doing well financially have earned everything we have. From a Christian perspective, God has given us everything we have. From a purely common sense perspective (and if this in any way conflicts with Christianity then I give up), who we each become depends on an unlimited number of factors — time and place of birth, who your parents were and how you were raised, socioeconomic status, religion, personality, the neighborhood you live in, the school you ended up going to, the number and quality of people who supported you, exposure to discipline, love, and strong guidance at an early age, race, gender, sexual orientation, birth order, genetics, available opportunities, luck, etc. This idea that, “I have worked hard and earned everything I have” is complete crap. None of us earn a single thing before we are first given a huge number of things. This self-made-person thing is decidedly unChristian, obviously illogical, and anti-human. Of course we can always find examples of people who weren’t given much and prevailed anyway, but that doesn’t reduce the force of the general argument that the vast majority of people, including those who are successful, are products of whatever they were given and gifted with.
14. All the various forms of man’s inhumanity to man: physical violence, bullying, gossip, backbiting, conspiring, ignoring, threatening, silent treatment, withholding love/gratitude/respect, mean-spirited competition, meanness in general, taking offence and limping quietly away rather than talking it out, exploitive relationships, demanding what one has not earned, stealing, seeing certain people or groups as being lower than one’s self, etc. Everything I just listed is stupid. It’s counter-productive to human happiness in the long-term and to the well-being of the entire planet. If all of this stupidity stopped today, the world would be nearly paradise tomorrow.
15. Snarky writers like me who probably value their opinions too highly.