*Last week I put out a call on here and on facebook for questions. These are the majority of the questions and their answers.
David Devine asks “Hey Ron, what’s with the ‘stache stuff?”
Well Dave, as we all know this past week was Mustache Awareness Week here in the Roniverse. The honest purpose of it (besides humor) was to raise awareness for the futility of awareness. I’m not a big believer that awareness does much for anyone. I can understand a program that makes people aware of when they should get cancer screenings, that can genuinely help someone through awareness. However, the awareness spread through facebook status posts are generally silly and pointless and often fictional. Mustache Awareness Week came on the heels of thousands of facebookers changing their profile pictures to “raise awareness” of child abuse. Some people were just having fun with this but thousands believed that it actually did something. Words like “cancer”, “support our troops”, and “child abuse” are magic words that make people act stupid, they provoke such visceral emotional reactions that people don’t think straight. I can’t blame people really. We all know someone affected by cancer, the war, or child abuse. Mustache Week was a silly way to mock those fears and concerns that make people stupid. I’m sure we made little difference in the ways people view mustaches but perhaps a few more people will think when they hear a word like “cancer” or “child abuse”.
David Devine also asked “why do we give the rich in this country everything but our underwear and the kitchen sink?”
The greatest example of this I can think of is the corporate welfare given to companies to build factories and bring jobs to a community. There is a logic to it as giving money to these rich corporations does indeed create jobs. However, I don’t feel the jobs are worth it. People in this country worry about corporate tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas while tax breaks to keep jobs here are more a lot more common. I recently read “The Small-Mart Revolution” by Michael Shuman and it breaks down some of the problems that comes from these tax breaks. I think tax breaks and tax cuts for the rich do give us hollow short term benefits that will be devastating to the economy in the long term. Of course if there’s one thing Americans know how to do it’s to prioritize the short term.
Matt Texter asks “Cajun Ranch or Butter Garlic Parm?”
Matt, there is no wrong answer here. Whenever I’m presented with this sort of question at a restaurant my response is “both”. I probably prefer Cajun Ranch more unless the Butter Garlic Parm is really loaded with garlic and parmesan. I’m not that much of a fan if it’s really buttery with just a sprinkling of the other stuff.
Ryan Bibza asks “If you discovered that the core message of Christianity was not true, what would you do?”
I was raised pretty deeply in Christianity and because of that I don’t think I would take it as badly as someone who converted later in life. If we base our faith in love, kindness, and forgiveness hopefully we have seen the fruits of that behavior and continue in it because of the results it creates. If one is a more dogmatic Christian I would imagine they’d just get dogmatic about something else.
When I first read your question I had this Bible verse pop in my head:
Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. –1 Corinthians 7:20
So I guess you could reason that the opposite is true. If after believing for years that God called us and then finding out he didn’t we should remain in the situation we are in. I probably wouldn’t change much except for sleeping in on Sundays and then meeting friends for a late breakfast. However, I’m not a preacher or anything. My advice for an evangelist who someone discovers absolutely that Christianity is untrue? Preach atheism. That would be the only fair and honest response of someone who spent their life spreading what they believed to be true. If you are the type to preach what you believe than you should do the same even if you believe nothing.
For the 5 year old nephew I recommend things that are Superman related, action figures and such. I was crazy about Superman when I was 5 and he has to be a better role model than whatever kids are into now. For the girls–I’d say find books for the 7 year old, we are fighting the early onset of idiocy in America’s youth and every little bit helps. For the 18 month old I’m not sure. I think with gift ideas for really young children we project our personalities onto them, hence my gift suggestions of books and Superman action figures. We want kids to turn out like us, so just get her whatever you liked when you were that age.
Candace Doerr asks “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?”
Of course it does.
Jason Titus asks “How do you deal with writer’s block?”
The blog is pretty new so I haven’t really had an experience of writer’s block on this yet, but I have been mapping out my plans for blog posts a week ahead of time. This lets me build ideas off of each other. I also write a lot of stuff ahead of time when I feel like it then I post it later. I did start a novel over a year ago and had a hell of a time getting blocked on that. I haven’t solved that one yet.
However, most of what I write is music and I often go through long spells without writing a song. I always think to this Bob Dylan quote:
“The world doesn’t need any more songs. They’ve got enough. They’ve got way too many. As a matter of fact, if nobody wrote any songs from this day on, the world ain’t gonna suffer for it. Nobody cares. There’s enough songs for people to listen to if they want to listen to songs… unless someone’s gonna come along with a pure heart and have something to say. That’s a different story.”
I think that’s a humbling way to look at all writing. If you don’t have it in you, that’s ok. I might never write another song again. Or maybe my best songs are behind me. That just means I should do something else and I might be surprisingly fulfilled to give it up. Strangely, that attitude of not caring if you ever write again is a peaceful and relaxed attitude that seems to facilitate me writing.
Destiny Thornton asks “Why do people feel the need to gossip all the time, even at the ripe old age of 50? I thought we were supposed to outgrow that in high school. And why do people talk about someone the minute they walk away?”
There are a host of reasons such as jealousy, insecurity, and nosiness that are the accepted motivations behind gossip and those are basic human emotions that are very natural and hard to shake. But I’d like to throw a new idea in with that.
Most people are pretty boring. It’s surprising how few people have anything interesting to say, or any interest at all. I have a really hard time making small talk, when people start talking to me about the weather I just start wishing they would go away. It’s often hard to find people in this country with interests beyond football and Dancing with the Stars. Granted, people who share those interests can forgo gossip and talk about football or whatever. However the larger problem is that we spend countless hours everyday with co-workers that we don’t have much in common with. So if I like football and little else and you like Dancing with the Stars and little else we just start talking about how annoying our co-workers are. It becomes the lowest common denominator in conversation, two co-workers might have little in common besides how awful the guy in the next cubicle is. If more of us had anything interesting to say we wouldn’t resort to gossip as much. So I’d say the cure for gossip is to read books, watch documentaries that are about something more complicated than rich housewives, and try to develop an interest in what people have to say. The most gossipy people I’ve worked with were always people that were turned off by a conversation in which they knew nothing of the subject.
So that’s it for today. Sorry I didn’t get to everyone’s questions. Some were too hard and some were just stupid. I don’t really mind the stupid questions, they’re fun to read, just not fun to answer. Anyway, post more questions on here in the comments and we’ll try to do this every couple of weeks.