Monday, February 25, 2008

Why do I keep Typing This Stuff?

There was a comment on one of the blogs in my blogroll where I mentioned that I had read something that suggested the the taller president always wins is a myth and someone came back and smashed my rather tentative assertion with a vengeance. (I couldn't find it before my patience ran out so deal with not having a link.) That made me curious, so today during a spare moment, I went to Wikipedia (which a recent study claims is as accurate as the venerable Encyclopædia Britannica) to look this up. Turns out that while the taller candidate has a decided advantage since the televised Kennedy-Nixon debate, it hasn't been a sure thing. In fact, since 1960, the shorter candidate has won four times (Nixon over McGovern, Carter over Ford, Bush over Gore and Bush over Kerry) giving the taller candidates a 2-1 winning ratio in the televised era. The real kicker is that in all of the elections prior to this (at least the ones where the losing candidate's height is known) during the pre-television era the taller candidate still had a decided advantage (approximately 1.5-1 advantage) even though most voters never would have seen the candidates in relation to each other or even images of the two candidates together for much of the history of the office. I've never taken statistics, but from what I know, considering the small sample size we're working with here, I'm not even sure that's a statistically significant difference between the two periods, although being taller obviously has a correlation to success, although it's obviously not a 1-1 correlation. Actually, I'm not even sure the four wins for Franklin D. Roosevelt should even count for the taller candidates. He was paralyzed from the waist down from 1921 on, more than a decade before his first term in office and given that he couldn't stand up, would have lost any height advantage he technically had.

The previous part of this post is a prime example of something else I had been meaning to write about. I recently started wondering why I keep writing the political, social, and religious commentary that is sprinkled throughout this blog like capers in a pasta dish. After all, most of my regular readers, or at least the ones that comment regularly, are people who know me personally, and know me as bit of a clown. Honestly, I'm not sure how much of this side of me those people knew before my blog. It's not that I was keeping it from them; I just tend to keep my speech short and simple, a side effect of struggling with stuttering for most of my life. You just can't discuss these issues in brief one liners. I also tend to read body language really well and am perfectly aware that in the few times I've been lured into a discussion along these lines (or any of my other passionate interests) that the listener begins to fidget and look for way to change the subject. Because of this, I often try to avoid these topics entirely. I just don't want to be a boring person, so I tend to rely on my absurdist sense of humor and sarcasm to carry me in conversation, which means I still suck at small talk and gossip, but that crap's boring anyway.

Believe it or not, I do have a rather large filter. My personal filter does have rather large gaps where the filters of others are solid, but I do tend to filter out topics that I find fascinating but know that most others find incredibly boring, and any topic involving any sort of complexity. The filter opens up when I'm writing, however. I think you get a better look inside my head by reading my blog than you do by listening to me. My sense of humor is still evident, but then so is most of the other stuff I think about, and I honestly do think about most of what I write about on a regular basis even before I started writing my blog. In other words, reading my blog is like listening in to the constant dialogue within my head. And no, I didn't misuse that term.

That's not to say that you're getting a glimpse of every thought that goes through there. Some just aren't deep enough to justify putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Others really just aren't appropriate for public discussion (I am a man after all) and others really are just too boring for others for me to bother. Besides my half-hearted attempt at keeping my exact identity difficult to guess to those who don't already know this is my blog, I do tend to keep personal issues to myself unless they're of a lighter variety. My desires to move, go back to school, and find a new career are about as deep into my negative thoughts as I'm going to let in anyone besides my wife.

So why do I bother writing this stuff, especially when most of my readership already knows me and usually even agrees with me and I'm not auditioning for political and social commentator? Besides the fact that writing your thoughts helps to sort them out and solidify them and if I write them, I might as well post them, I figure in this medium, if I express it, you only have to read it if you want to. You don't feel obligated to sit there staring at me as I go on and on. If I'm boring you, you're free to move along without my knowing or having to worry about offending me. It's a freedom for both sides of the interaction that allows me to get this stuff out of my psyche without having to worry about boring the crap out of my audience.

In other words, as long as you keep reading here, you're going to have to put up with all the serious dork-lit posts to get to the golden funnies stashed in between. If you don't like it, go huff some paint or something and try back tomorrow. There'll be something new then.


Chris said...

I feel you. I sometimes crave a good political, philosophical or religious discussion, but such conversations are tough to come by.

I don't think it's that most of your friends don't share those interests. It's just that people aren't accustomed to being mentally challenged in casual conversation. And it's tough to transition naturally into such a topic without seeming pretentious.

Plus, for me, I'm not one to bullshit or pretend I know something that I don't, so if I haven't been reading lately about the very specific topic then I probably won't have much to say about it.

sid said...

I like the serious dork-lit posts. I learn something new everyday. I also like your use of language.

Julie said...

My sister was always so polarizing that I spent most of my life trying to ease tension in difficult conversations and highlight the middle ground. It's framed a lot of who I am, including my responses to your dork-lit.

Mickey said...

This is why I've made such an effort to snare a few readers who don't know me at all. When I first started blogging, I felt like it was tough to challenge my audience because they all knew me fairly well, or at least the side of me that I'm likely to share in writing. Having readers who don't know my tendencies forces me to be not quite so lazy and explain myself better. I'm still an extremely lazy writer, though.

Did this have anything to do with your post? Oh, yeah, I think you do write much like you converse; you're just able to develop your ideas a little better in writing, like anyone else.