posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 04:26 AM
Lighting up the last cigarette from my pack, as I begin typing this out, has me feeling even more tense than when I was pondering this thread itself.
It is, ironically enough, 4:20 in the morning as I type these words ( And, no, that is not a veiled reference to anything at all. It honest was the
time on the clock when I glanced ) and I have no desire to right my appearance, throw on my Doc Martens, and drive 15 minutes, one way, to the nearest
open gas station. That's one of the odd qualities of living in the Atlanta suburbs. I am so close to a major city that if a nuclear bomb were dropped
on it, I'd be instantly vaporized - and yet my surroundings are country enough that open stores are miles and miles away. At any rate, cigarette lit
and digression behind me.
Besides, I take anxiety medication at night and the label has a pretty little orange sticker on it that says "Hey, dolt, don't even try to operate a
microwave after taking this pill - much less a car". So I defer to their wisdom and don't drive after doing so.
I am a rebel, however, and I use the bloody HELL out of my microwave after taking my pill. Screw authority!
Anyway, back to the purpose of this thread.
My time here at ATS is truly one of the things that I count as a blessing in my life. In fact it is rather high on the list. Many years ago, now, I
started reading the threads on this sight. I was a somewhat younger man who was still naive enough to think that he knew it all. I had been successful
in my life - at least in the terms I personally used to define such. I was never a money mad individual. My upbringing had instilled me with the idea
that the man was the breadwinner and that he took care of his own. This much I did, and did well. I married, and subsequently divorced twice - both
marriages lasting exactly six months each... though both of my ex's and I did live together for several years prior to tying the knot. It's one of
my unresolved personal mysteries as to why my marriage shelf life seems to have a six month expiration date. But that is a tale for another late night
entry. In those early days of reading ATS my ego allowed me to do what I see so many others doing - I would simply reject the assertions or thoughts
of others, off hand, outright, and irrevocably solely based upon the reality that those opinions or experiences did not match my own. Hell. I'm a
bright guy, don't you know. And, in youth, that realization often comes with the false belief that "bright means "right".
Then, one spring day, some post - one I cannot even remember now - just flat pissed me off. It got under my skin. So much so that I felt compelled to
enter the word "Hefficide" and a password into a form and then await the conformation email so that I could come here and righteously defend my
sense of decency and to school the heathen who had dared typed such offensive drivel as what I had read.
I quickly found that posting for the first time on ATS is a lot like the first time one has sex. Doing it was the ONLY thing I could think about, I
was in a damned hurry to get started, I had no clue at all about exactly how to go about doing it, and I knew I was in way over my head about five
seconds after I entered into the activity, I finished rather quickly, and am pretty sure that my handy work was shoddy at best. That first post,
wherever it is hiding these days, probably shows just how arrogant, inept, and overly idealistic I was at that point.
What I do remember is that I did manage to intellectually beat down the person who had infuriated me. As bad as I was at this - my moral indignation
somehow saw me through it.
As I said, this was many years ago now. Many ideological battles and mental scars ago.
As my ATS "persona" or "image" if you prefer, began to coalesce, I discovered that I was drawn to the political and chit chat type forums. Not
politics in the strict sense. The General Conspiracies, New World Order, and other forums piqued my interest as well. But not the core subjects that
tend to attract people to this site. I am a pretty simple man ( for a completely insane and complex one ) and I see it all as relatively simple;
Aliens come to my house? I will shoot them.
Bigfoot takes a shortcut through my yard? I will shoot him.
Chupacabra in the basement? Getting shot.
Succubus coming to molest me at night? Well that one might work out differently. But THEN I'd shoot it.
So the "fringe" stuff really doesn't catch my fancy often due to my "shoot first and never ask questions" approach to the unknown.
In the forums I did visit I fell into a bad crowd...those evil liberal and socially conscientious folk. Their views matched many of my own - so I
began posting alongside them. But I had weapons at my disposal that many of them did not. I am verbose, obtuse, and predatory. The Irish among us will
get how that works. See a wrong and want to right it? Punch the jerk who caused the wrong. When he gets up? Punch him again. It's effective and it's
Unfortunately those doggone ATS moderators don't take kindly to the punch and punch again approach, so I had to adapt rather quickly. The staff here
used their "this post has been removed...." signs to force me to learn the fine art of punching without punching. At first I was resistant. But soon
I caught on. As time passed, I got pretty darned good at it too.
So, armed with my new methods of asymmetrical warfare, I entered the fray and vowed to take no prisoners in my quest to make EVERYONE accept that my
way was the right way!
But a funny thing happened on my way to being permanently banned from ATS for being an obtuse and agenda driven member who had mastered the art of the
subtle ad hom attack. You see to be good at attack, one has to actually read and really think about the posts one wants to use to tear apart so bad
that the OP cries for hours afterwards. One has to get inside that other members head. An icky evil, but a necessary one - so I began doing
just that. They watched Glen Beck? I watched Glen Beck so that I could throw HIS stupidity up in their faces in ways they never could have seen
coming! I engaged their propaganda. I dissected it. I committed it to rote. And then returned read to fight and to win.
There's an odd consequence to walking a mile in another mans shoes... You find yourself understanding why he feels the way that he does. You see
things from his side and his point of view. While I never did learn to empathize with a single word that Glen Beck spewed forth from his gaping
hole - I did start to feel an affinity for the ATS members who used him as a source. Now that Beck is largely marginalized, simply substitute any
pundit ( from either side of the spectrum ) and it still applies.
Once I had learned to empathize with the "enemy" - well they didn't seem like my enemy at all anymore. In fact they seemed to me to be people just
like myself. Maybe with slightly different value systems or experiences. But people.
ATS there are a LOT of folks in our society who make their livings telling us the lies that blind us to the plights and thoughts of others. This is
their stock in trade. This is their vocation. And, believe me when I say, no matter who it is you think is speaking for you on a television or a radio
- they are not speaking for you at all. They are saying whatever the Hell they have to in order to get advertising revenue enough to stay on the air
and to keep that income flowing.