It's getting to be time to trim my blogroll again. I was hoping that at least some of the ones that had gone haring after crazy conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and/or the Presidential election might quietly return to a more-normal attitude towards science, the sweeping (in)competence and venality of all politicians and TV reality stars, and the actual objective world, but it is increasingly evident that this is not to be.
People who I thought were fairly clever and alert have been sucked down (or leapt into) the maw of grifters, hucksters and cynical old men peddling blatant fantasies. In the process, they've managed to make the slightly-more-mainstream fuzzy thinking and bad ideas across the aisle look a bit more reasonable, which I am finding difficult to forgive: not content with mere personal idiocy, they spread it to their friends and made opposite-leaning foolishness attractive to the people trying to oppose the trend.
Hey, I get it, reality sucks, no matter which way you slice it -- but it's still real. And living in reality is precious to me. I don't take it for granted.
I spent large parts of my childhood haunted by stress reactions; I was a fragile, fey child, and after a lengthy bout of rheumatic fever had left me bedfast and in excruciating pain for most of a year, I was socially isolated -- precociously educated thanks to Captain Kangaroo and a mother who read to me widely and often, but enormously lacking in social skills. Get me around too many people, especially a shopping mall at Christmastime or in the stands at a crowded sporting event and I'd panic, with an eroding sense of self and gripped by a terrifying conviction that nothing was real, just a crowded nightmare of empty, humanoid automatons. Getting back out of that state could take days and a monumental effort. And as I grew older, it persisted, returning in crowded hallways, at church services, on the school bus. (Pep rallies were a nightmare.) It took a lot of paying attention to reality, embracing the physical world of sunlight and grass and water running reliably downhill. When I was very young, I used to fear there was no way back, that the feeling would never end, that I was trapped in the nightmare.*
This "alternate reality" stuff scares me spitless. Making up your own "truth" because you don't like the observable facts is a road to nowhere good. I refuse to encourage or support it. It's not diversity of viewpoints, it's insanity.
* I had night terrors, too, where you wake up trapped in your own body,
unable to move. I didn't know what they were until I was in my thirties and stumbled over a mention of the simple physiological phenomena that your voluntary muscles are disconnected when you sleep -- and sometimes you wake up before the connection is reestablished. Until that time, it was a horror, and one I never told anyone about: who would believe it?
BUILDING A 1:1 BALUN
1 year ago