There are people that I have a hard time comprehending. By that I don’t mean that I can’t understand what they do, but that I don’t have enough perspective to understand by what justification their actions occur or what personal or cultural histories could provide a precedent for such behaviors. In other words, when I’m witness to the following behaviors, I think things like “What the fuck?” with serious feelings of confusion and when I think about them later the thought remains “What the fuck?”
People that have ten-minute cell phone conversations about ‘nothing’ while in your exclusive presence in a situation where the overarching theme is that you two are ‘hanging out’
This happens without the offending person telling you “Excuse me” or “I have to take this phone call.” He or she gets a phone call from a friend and they proceed to have an extremely long and detailed conversation about someone’s cat or the date one of them just went on or what he or she got shopping that day while you sit there and mock interest in some old text messages on your cell phone.
The conversation goes on for well over ten agonizing minutes covering such a variety of asinine could-definitely-be-talked-about-another-time topics while your feigned interest moves on from your cell phone to things like corners and exposed plumbing in the ceiling, the whole time at pains to avoid looking at your friend’s face, wondering why they would choose a time such as this to ‘catch up’ with someone they see on a weekly basis.
Concepts related to such situations include bars, coffee shops, ‘hanging out,’ ‘feeling lame,’ ‘feeling awkward,’ ‘being inconsiderate’ and ‘being out-of-control.’
People that live in societies with significant access to higher education that are devout
Religion and the concept of ‘worship’ seems so abstract and arbitrary once one recognizes what seems like extremely obvious contradictions and logical impossibilities (that the religious person is asked to accept by ‘faith,’ or in other words the demand that one “just believe in it”) are understood.
I often have a hard time understanding how people can remain religious in a society where fundamental ‘flaws’ in religions or myriad philosophical disconnects that run between many religious peoples’ behavior (reality) and what they profess to believe have been identified by a broad spectrum of the population (i.e. from YouTube users to academia). Or how people can have the belief, for example, that all non-believers are going to literally burn in hell for eternity while at the same time working an office job, taking out a mortgage, eating solely from franchised “restaurants,” living in a suburban neighborhood their entire existence and going to church service one hour per week (in effect doing their ‘duty’ to God) – rather than spend every waking hour trying to stop the billions of non-believers from literally burning in hell for eternity and converting them. Seems uncanny.
Concepts related to this stereotype are fundamentalism, ‘Rural America,’ suburbs, minivans circa mid 1990s, Starbucks, McDonalds, Chipotle, Kentucky Friend Chicken, Taco Bell, Wal-Mart, Super Target and xenophobia.
People that talk shit under anonymous pseudonyms on the Internet
I am and have been administrator to forums and online magazines in which people can comment, and as one of these people I have been privy to commenters’ IP addresses. When there have been particularly vicious instances of internet shit talking I have looked at the IP addresses of the offending commenters and found that they were the same IP addresses of certain people who conduct their internet-selves with a certain haughtiness or stance of intellectual purity.
Upon discovery of such facts I have sometimes felt very surprised (or even a little bit of fear, the fear one feels when he sees something unexplainable yet terrible) that the same people that purported the values of reason and clear, irrefutable strings of logic would talk shit in what seems to be such a misguided or blatantly hurt/defensive/masturbatory form and proceed to do it anonymously.
To comment in this way seems like a ‘gravely’ contradictory behavior because to shit talk anonymously is to provide a blanket-level opinion that one has no responsibility to back up with any sort of logic. Shit talking anonymously is often done in a black/white sort of way, where one is accused of simply being ‘bad,’ yet at the same time the fact that the commenter chose for the comment to be anonymous is a very clear admittance – to everyone that reads the comment – that they’re choosing not to stand behind that comment. I find anonymous shit talking uncanny because choosing to talk shit anonymously seems almost like an admittance that the comment itself is ‘wrong’ or ‘incorrect,’ a conscious and deliberate recognition that whatever’s being said is so far removed from logical argument that the commenter is actually choosing to distance him or herself from it in order to avoid the ‘shaming’ that comes along with confused logic that often occurs in internet forums and in the comments sections of blogs. There’s a big gap for your cognitive dissonance to cross there.
Concepts related to anonymous shit talking are hypocrisy, unseemliness and ‘being out-of-control.’