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Topic: What we talk about...
Message: Posted by: stoneunhinged (Apr 20, 2015 04:55AM)
...most:

religion and politics.

Homosexuality, guns, evolution, the Bible, liberalism and conservatism, bla bla bla.

I guess it's what most people want to talk about here. But frankly, I'm tired of it.

Back when I got addicted to the "Not very magical" forum, we used to have a lot of fun. That was years ago. There were legendary threads: Mike Doogan, the Frenches, the Eurovision song that we wrote together. And yes, other topics continually pop up. But a thread like, say, Gone With the Wind might have struck a chord and resulted in ten pages of fun and gags and double entendres as good-spirited nonsense. Mostly, it was friendly. These days a thread like that might get half a dozen posts.

But should someone decide to shoot up a school today, we'll go crazy until the mods delete the thread. We'll blame or defend guns, religion, the quality of schooling in America, Obamacare, whatever. It'll go to as many pages as the mods allow.

In some ways I like it. I like that America is a vibrant place with enthusiastic, loud, penetrating discussion. But it ALWAYS reveals unfriendliness.

Unfriendliness concerns me. Not personally, but as a thinker. When I put on my political philosophy hat, I start to get a wee bit concerned about how unfriendly debate here has become, because I wonder if it reflects an unfriendliness of debate in America. Since I haven't lived there for twenty years, I worry that America has changed, that it has gotten grumpy and hostile and unfriendly toward a diversity of opinion and experience and ideas.

But maybe it's just the Café.
Message: Posted by: Salguod Nairb (Apr 20, 2015 05:01AM)
[img]http://i.imgur.com/4psgmBD.gif[/img]


I'm just one guy! I can only post so many animated gif's! I'm trying my best!
Message: Posted by: landmark (Apr 20, 2015 06:41AM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, stoneunhinged wrote:
...most:

religion and politics.

Homosexuality, guns, evolution, the Bible, liberalism and conservatism, bla bla bla.

I guess it's what most people want to talk about here. But frankly, I'm tired of it.

Back when I got addicted to the "Not very magical" forum, we used to have a lot of fun. That was years ago. There were legendary threads: Mike Doogan, the Frenches, the Eurovision song that we wrote together. And yes, other topics continually pop up. But a thread like, say, Gone With the Wind might have struck a chord and resulted in ten pages of fun and gags and double entendres as good-spirited nonsense. Mostly, it was friendly. These days a thread like that might get half a dozen posts.

But should someone decide to shoot up a school today, we'll go crazy until the mods delete the thread. We'll blame or defend guns, religion, the quality of schooling in America, Obamacare, whatever. It'll go to as many pages as the mods allow.

In some ways I like it. I like that America is a vibrant place with enthusiastic, loud, penetrating discussion. But it ALWAYS reveals unfriendliness.

Unfriendliness concerns me. Not personally, but as a thinker. When I put on my political philosophy hat, I start to get a wee bit concerned about how unfriendly debate here has become, because I wonder if it reflects an unfriendliness of debate in America. Since I haven't lived there for twenty years, I worry that America has changed, that it has gotten grumpy and hostile and unfriendly toward a diversity of opinion and experience and ideas.

But maybe it's just the Café. [/quote]
No, it's America, Jeff.
As the inequality grows, the polarization grows.
Message: Posted by: Salguod Nairb (Apr 20, 2015 06:41AM)
I blame Facebook.
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Apr 20, 2015 08:47AM)
Not Facebook; Zuckerberg. He is the devil.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Apr 20, 2015 08:49AM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, landmark wrote:
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, stoneunhinged wrote:
...most:

religion and politics.

Homosexuality, guns, evolution, the Bible, liberalism and conservatism, bla bla bla.

I guess it's what most people want to talk about here. But frankly, I'm tired of it.

Back when I got addicted to the "Not very magical" forum, we used to have a lot of fun. That was years ago. There were legendary threads: Mike Doogan, the Frenches, the Eurovision song that we wrote together. And yes, other topics continually pop up. But a thread like, say, Gone With the Wind might have struck a chord and resulted in ten pages of fun and gags and double entendres as good-spirited nonsense. Mostly, it was friendly. These days a thread like that might get half a dozen posts.

But should someone decide to shoot up a school today, we'll go crazy until the mods delete the thread. We'll blame or defend guns, religion, the quality of schooling in America, Obamacare, whatever. It'll go to as many pages as the mods allow.

In some ways I like it. I like that America is a vibrant place with enthusiastic, loud, penetrating discussion. But it ALWAYS reveals unfriendliness.

Unfriendliness concerns me. Not personally, but as a thinker. When I put on my political philosophy hat, I start to get a wee bit concerned about how unfriendly debate here has become, because I wonder if it reflects an unfriendliness of debate in America. Since I haven't lived there for twenty years, I worry that America has changed, that it has gotten grumpy and hostile and unfriendly toward a diversity of opinion and experience and ideas.

But maybe it's just the Café. [/quote]
No, it's America, Jeff.
As the inequality grows, the polarization grows. [/quote]

Historically, I think we've been at least as polarized in the past as we are now.
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Apr 20, 2015 08:51AM)
Oh, re Zuckerberg. If you don't believe in the devil, he is the personification of evil. And if you like guns, he should be shot. If you don't like guns, he should be eliminated in some other, ecologically friendly way. If you are conservative, he has a distasteful social program; if you are liberal, he is an arch-conservative, abusive right-winger. There. I think I have covered enough bases for one post.
Message: Posted by: NYCTwister (Apr 20, 2015 11:41AM)
I think we are most passionate about those subjects because our spirituality defines us.

As the polarization grows those issues become more important to us.

To me there is a certain feeling that we are running out of time to get things right. Some stay silent and some speak out more.

To be fair there have been a lot of good threads dealing with less weighty issues, but since they deal with finite subjects they tend to end more quickly.

The "Answer a question" and the "You're banned" threads are alive and well, showing no signs of dying.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Apr 20, 2015 12:04PM)
A lot of potentially interesting threads often seem to dissolve into a hateful Left vs. Right debate. And I really abhor all this left/right divisiveness.

When you think about it, there's not much difference between Left and Right. For example, both sides want to murder people. The only difference is, the Left wants to do it before you're born (abortion), while the Right wants to do it after you've been alive for a while (capital punishment).
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Apr 20, 2015 12:13PM)
One of the things I've bee noticing over the years is an increase in the apparent preference for talking about problems instead of about possible solutions. I've seen it at work, I've seen it here, and I've seen it with friends.

I've sat through any number of production meetings where the tech director or someone else just sits there and talks about every single problem, issue, or challenge he sees: we don't have the budget for this, we don't have the time for that, we can't get the materials, "this" is going to require a lot of engineering, yadda yadda yadda. But not once, in over a dozen meetings, did this individual offer a solution or a suggestion. And then, taaa-daaa, when I jumped in and offered to discuss the issue, it went over like a lead Goodyear blimp.

Needless to say, those meetings would often make some of us want to get up, walk out, and go open a duck farm.

Back when I was in school, in math or science class, we would be assigned so many "problems" a night and expected to come back with the "solutions" the next day. So a problem, by definition, was something that required (or at least had) a solution. We didn't sit there talking about why Farmer Jones had to have apple and pear trees at the same time, or whether all his bushels were the same size, or got into arguments about whether he was a letist, rightist, or robber baron, what he used for fertilizer, what his daughter did with the traveling salesman, or how much he charged for the kumquats. Some kids probably did, just to avoid solving the "problem," but most of us just added up the apple and pear trees and came back with "fourteen."

IMHO, the majority of the issues that turn into personal attacks here become so because the opposing parties don't want to address the issue. It's easier (and requires less thinking) to say "You're full of it" than to say "Here's my idea."
Message: Posted by: Salguod Nairb (Apr 20, 2015 12:59PM)
[img]http://i.imgur.com/1iCy1Hd.gif[/img]
Message: Posted by: balducci (Apr 20, 2015 01:01PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, stoneunhinged wrote:

Unfriendliness concerns me. Not personally, but as a thinker. When I put on my political philosophy hat, I start to get a wee bit concerned about how unfriendly debate here has become, because I wonder if it reflects an unfriendliness of debate in America. Since I haven't lived there for twenty years, I worry that America has changed, that it has gotten grumpy and hostile and unfriendly toward a diversity of opinion and experience and ideas.
[/quote]
Reminds me of something John Irving said in the article at a link below. It is an old article, but I just came across it this week (when I was trying to figure out whether the John Irving writing in some Canadian newspaper last week was the same as the American author John Irving. He was / is.)

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/2009/10/22/john_irvings_factual_fiction.html

"Self-criticism is something Americans have never been good at. If you want to smear somebody in the United States, one of the most successful ways to do it is to declare that they are not patriotic enough."

[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, stoneunhinged wrote:

But maybe it's just the Café. [/quote]
I don't know about that. Have you never heard this:

"In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake. That is why academic politics are so bitter."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayre%27s_law
Message: Posted by: Salguod Nairb (Apr 20, 2015 01:13PM)
[youtube]QCsNunGnqE0[/youtube]
Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 20, 2015 01:19PM)
The secret of peace and tranquility is to agree with everything. Maybe you should go and sit up in the mountain and do so with anyone that comes by and you will be happy.
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Apr 20, 2015 01:39PM)
Let's talk about bottoms.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Apr 20, 2015 02:07PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, balducci wrote:

"In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake. That is why academic politics are so bitter."
[/quote]

That's a difficult claim to evaluate, since in many cases the parties differ widely in their perceptions of the value of the issues at stake.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Apr 20, 2015 02:25PM)
What's really tragic is how important we feel our opinions are, when all we're really doing is declaring and arguing our convictions with a handful of other anonymous individuals. LOL.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Apr 20, 2015 03:32PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, Magnus Eisengrim wrote:
Let's talk about bottoms. [/quote]

(Homer Simpson Voice):"MMMMM! [i]Bottoms![/i]

https://bossip.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/vb4.jpg?w=700

Doug
Message: Posted by: stoneunhinged (Apr 20, 2015 03:49PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, LobowolfXXX wrote:

Historically, I think we've been at least as polarized in the past as we are now. [/quote]

Indeed we have been. More so.

There was this, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caning_of_Charles_Sumner

Oh...and some of the 18th century political commentary was truly brutal, ruthless, and mean.

But maybe the idea of a "kinder, gentler" America wasn't such a bad one.

On the other hand, if we were nicer, we'd be like Canada.
Message: Posted by: imgic (Apr 20, 2015 03:50PM)
When I was a kids...we had dial up modems. We had to wait for squeaky tones so we could get onto the World Wide Internet Web. Then all we had was UserNet forums...none of this fancy Youbook and Facetube that you youngsters have today. And we were civil to one another...we were polite. We spoke of only things that had socially redeeming values. We didn't waste time posting pictures of our last bowl of cereal...

Those were the days...
Message: Posted by: NYCTwister (Apr 20, 2015 03:52PM)
What I want to talk about is if that little larvae thing squirming at the bottom of Brians recent posts is going to be another fly.

If so, then please give fair warning since the last one nearly cost me a monitor the first time I saw it. :(
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Apr 20, 2015 05:02PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, Magnus Eisengrim wrote:
Let's talk about bottoms.[/quote]
Count on Magnus to make an ill-conceived comment in an attempt to derail this thread.

If anything, we should be talking about centers, or, at least, seconds.

Bottoms, forsooth!
Message: Posted by: slowkneenuh (Apr 20, 2015 05:27PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, stoneunhinged wrote:

Unfriendliness concerns me. Not personally, but as a thinker. When I put on my political philosophy hat, I start to get a wee bit concerned about how unfriendly debate here has become, because I wonder if it reflects an unfriendliness of debate in America. Since I haven't lived there for twenty years, I worry that America has changed, that it has gotten grumpy and hostile and unfriendly toward a diversity of opinion and experience and ideas.

But maybe it's just the Café. [/quote]

Unfortunately, I believe you are 100% correct. I do believe this country is a "grumpier" place to put it mildly. At first I blamed it on the aging population. However it is now so rampant that I see it in the youngest of children. I participate in several community meetings. Not that long ago it was relatively easy to achieve consensus. Both sides knew what had to be done and although they may have differed on the approach, consensus was reached and progress commenced. Now, the simplest of issues which could be settled by common sense alone become major, stalemated issues and nothing gets done. It's a pure case of my way or the highway.

I am no sociologist, but I believe there are a few potential causes, some obvious, some not so much. An obvious one for me is to look at our leaders in government at all levels, federal, state and local. They vote party lines whether right or wrong and they feel stalemates are an acceptable way of them meeting their obligations. I can't imagine a worse example set for the general population, our children, and those citizens learning about our country. Not so obvious, Google Search. We now live in a world where just about any individual age four and over can search any subject at any time and place. As a result everybody becomes an expert on everything and knows all the answers. We no longer defer to those in the know who have spent a significant part of their lifetime becoming knowledgeable in an area of expertise, but instead draw our conclusions from our 60 second search of the internet and nobody can tell us differently.

Enough for now, I hate to rant...
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Apr 20, 2015 06:15PM)
Yes I blame the magic. We learn a few tricks and we begin to think we know something others don’t know; we become the smartest person around.

Now you add a place like the internet to hide behind and we have the perfect place to prove that we are the smartest.
Doesn’t matter that 99 percent of the world might disagree with us, we know better. Thanks to the internet we have
the power to be faster than a speeding bullet, leap tall buildings and do it all. We haven’t changed we just feel we
have found the perfect playground to be king.:)

But seriously, and I say again, “people believe what they want to believe” and a few posts on here will not change anything.
Set minds cannot be changed so easily. Best to say ‘yes sir’ and keep on moving.

When you think about it, being right is not all that important anyway, rarely is it a life or death topic.


All this reminds me of my favorite quote by Robert Brault:

“Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.”

Tom
Message: Posted by: acesover (Apr 20, 2015 06:43PM)
Issues.....What Issues? :)
Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Apr 20, 2015 07:31PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, imgic wrote:
When I was a kids...we had dial up modems. We had to wait for squeaky tones so we could get onto the World Wide Internet Web. Then all we had was UserNet forums...none of this fancy Youbook and Facetube that you youngsters have today. And we were civil to one another...we were polite. We spoke of only things that had socially redeeming values. We didn't waste time posting pictures of our last bowl of cereal...

Those were the days... [/quote]
LOL! When I was a kid, we had no dial-up modems, or computers for that matter. We looked things up in the Encyclopedia Britannica that our parents struggled to pay for the whole set, or the public library. We played stickball in the streets, we spent whole summer days never being near adults who watched over everything we did and spoon-feeding us in the process. We were allowed to be kids. We had snowball fights in the winter! Yikes, imagine that today? We were free and we had fun. I'm not saying progress is bad; all I'm saying is that I wish the kids today could enjoy the freedoms I enjoyed in my youth. :)
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Apr 20, 2015 07:57PM)
Bob only the rich kids could afford the Britannica. I had to settle for the Funk & Wagnalls.
Think we got one a week from Piggly Wiggly until we had the whole set. LOL

Tom
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Apr 20, 2015 08:19PM)
Ha! Think you guys had it bad? I had to walk barefoot to school on unpaved roads! LOL.
Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Apr 20, 2015 08:25PM)
^ ^ :rotf:
Message: Posted by: rockwall (Apr 20, 2015 08:41PM)
Oh Yeah? You had it easy! I had to walk barefoot to school on unpaved roads littered with broken bottles covered in snow so that you couldn't spot them!
Message: Posted by: landmark (Apr 20, 2015 08:49PM)
Yeah, but I was lying down on those broken-bottle littered roads that you were walking on...
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Apr 20, 2015 09:01PM)
Let me guess, it was five miles to the schoolhouse and it was uphill going and coming back. :)

Tom
Message: Posted by: landmark (Apr 20, 2015 10:04PM)
And that was just to the outhouse...
Message: Posted by: kambiz (Apr 20, 2015 10:18PM)
You guys clearly haven't been attacked by the Iranian kissing mothers on the way to school.

Kam
Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Apr 20, 2015 11:10PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, kambiz wrote:
You guys clearly haven't been attacked by the Iranian kissing mothers on the way to school.

Kam [/quote]
No, but my wife and I were stuck (read that "trapped") on a Pan Am "Round the World" flight in the summer of 1979 on a tarmac at whatever the dammed name of the airport was called in Teheran back then, for two hours with no air conditioning and armed soldiers surrounding the plane while more armed soldiers boarded the plane. Seeking what? I have no idea but passengers were a little shaky, including yours truly. The American Embassy hostage crisis began four months later. Give me a kissing Iranian mother any time.
Message: Posted by: kambiz (Apr 21, 2015 01:51AM)
[quote]On Apr 21, 2015, Bob1Dog wrote:
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, kambiz wrote:
You guys clearly haven't been attacked by the Iranian kissing mothers on the way to school.

Kam [/quote]
No, but my wife and I were stuck (read that "trapped") on a Pan Am "Round the World" flight in the summer of 1979 on a tarmac at whatever the dammed name of the airport was called in Teheran back then, for two hours with no air conditioning and armed soldiers surrounding the plane while more armed soldiers boarded the plane. Seeking what? I have no idea but passengers were a little shaky, including yours truly. The American Embassy hostage crisis began four months later. Give me a kissing Iranian mother any time. [/quote]

Hahaha yes puts things into perspective for sure that one Bob

Glad it ended in a good way :)

Kam
Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Apr 21, 2015 11:47AM)
:)
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Apr 21, 2015 01:08PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, rockwall wrote:
Oh Yeah? You had it easy! I had to walk barefoot to school on unpaved roads littered with broken bottles covered in snow so that you couldn't spot them! [/quote]

Paul? Paul Pacific? Is that you? :)
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Apr 21, 2015 03:28PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, LobowolfXXX wrote:
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, landmark wrote:
[quote]On Apr 20, 2015, stoneunhinged wrote:
...most:

religion and politics.

Homosexuality, guns, evolution, the Bible, liberalism and conservatism, bla bla bla.

I guess it's what most people want to talk about here. But frankly, I'm tired of it.

Back when I got addicted to the "Not very magical" forum, we used to have a lot of fun. That was years ago. There were legendary threads: Mike Doogan, the Frenches, the Eurovision song that we wrote together. And yes, other topics continually pop up. But a thread like, say, Gone With the Wind might have struck a chord and resulted in ten pages of fun and gags and double entendres as good-spirited nonsense. Mostly, it was friendly. These days a thread like that might get half a dozen posts.

But should someone decide to shoot up a school today, we'll go crazy until the mods delete the thread. We'll blame or defend guns, religion, the quality of schooling in America, Obamacare, whatever. It'll go to as many pages as the mods allow.

In some ways I like it. I like that America is a vibrant place with enthusiastic, loud, penetrating discussion. But it ALWAYS reveals unfriendliness.

Unfriendliness concerns me. Not personally, but as a thinker. When I put on my political philosophy hat, I start to get a wee bit concerned about how unfriendly debate here has become, because I wonder if it reflects an unfriendliness of debate in America. Since I haven't lived there for twenty years, I worry that America has changed, that it has gotten grumpy and hostile and unfriendly toward a diversity of opinion and experience and ideas.

But maybe it's just the Café. [/quote]
No, it's America, Jeff.
As the inequality grows, the polarization grows. [/quote]

Historically, I think we've been at least as polarized in the past as we are now. [/quote]


Though I did not attend I am fairly certain the Civil War was fairly polarizing. To say nothing of the aftermath. (Or reconstruction depending on geography )
Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 21, 2015 05:55PM)
What we talk about are things that are not real if we want to keep Jeff happy.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Apr 21, 2015 06:24PM)
[quote]Though I did not attend I am fairly certain the Civil War was fairly polarizing. To say nothing of the aftermath. (Or reconstruction depending on geography )
[/quote]
Best I can tell, the Magic Café wasn't around in the 1860s.
Message: Posted by: stoneunhinged (Apr 22, 2015 12:06AM)
To those who didn't click the link I gave in response to Lobo, it was to an event in 1856. I don't think that the Magic Café is polarizing America, nor do I think that this is the first time America has been so polarized, nor do I think that America is the most polarized it has ever been.

But polarized it is.

It's interesting that one of our missing members is not American, but still managed to get sentenced for a month or two for annoying Americans. Being annoyed by someone shouldn't mean asking someone to go away. But I don't believe we are allowed to talk about involuntary vacations.

I'm exhausted, because it's the second week of the semester and I'm always exhausted when the semester starts. Part of my job is to teach people something called "Landeskunde", which is impossible to translate. It means something like "knowing what a country is like". I'm supposed to teach kids what America is like.

What would y'all like me to teach them?
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Apr 22, 2015 12:39AM)
Tolerance, accountability, respect and empathy ... which are all fast disappearing from America.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Apr 22, 2015 05:52AM)
Stone I think the most important thing to teach is just what a diverse place physically, economically, and ethnically the country is. That's probably the biggest thing that sets us apart from most other countries, certainly the European ones. At the same time, the amount of intellectual and political opinion considered "mainstream" is considerably more narrow than in Europe.
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Apr 22, 2015 08:14AM)
[quote]On Apr 22, 2015, stoneunhinged wrote:

I'm exhausted, because it's the second week of the semester and I'm always exhausted when the semester starts. Part of my job is to teach people something called "Landeskunde", which is impossible to translate. It means something like "knowing what a country is like". I'm supposed to teach kids what America is like.

What would y'all like me to teach them? [/quote]

An observation from North of the Medicine Line. Americans possess an energy unlike anything I've experienced anywhere else in the world. Americans (to over-generalize, I know) seem to believe in the "American Dream" to the core of their existence. They can do anything and can see no reason not to.
Message: Posted by: Ray Tupper. (Apr 22, 2015 10:22AM)
I agree Magnus. The work ethic is excellent. Also, speaking as a five or six times visitor, hospitality and friendliness.
That's speaking from a tourists point of view, but it does appear to be genuine.