346. Learned Helplessness

We all know someone who revels in victimhood, who burrows into their miseries like a tick on an old mangy dog, and won’t let go, sucking their toxic sustenance from the sick host. If you try to create some daylight between the host and the parasitic sucker, the career victim says, “Yes but my childhood, my schooling, my family, my lousy birthdate, my skin, my height, my hemorrhoids, etc.” It’s hard to spend time with these folks because after a while you realize that they are sucking whatever optimism you came with right out of you. They deflate the bouncy beach ball of joy into a flat inner tube of despair. The longer you are around them, the more your mind wanders toward making nooses out of inner tubes. Being compassionate, however, you decide to make two. You would not want to inflict this pesty pessimist on any other human being after you hang only yourself. Any optimism on your part is met by the Elite Red Guard of Defeatism and utterly destroyed. After all is said and done, Dark likes it dark.

Learned helplessness is behavior typical of an organism (human or animal) that has endured repeated painful or otherwise aversive stimuli which it was unable to escape or avoid. After such experience, the organism often fails to learn escape or avoidance in new situations where such behavior would be effective. In other words, the organism seems to have learned that it is helpless in aversive situations, that it has lost control, and so it gives up trying. Such an organism is said to have acquired learned helplessness. (Wikipedia, support them, blog dogs! I do.) No successful outcomes can be imagined in the dark land of stinking thinking.

A buddy of mine from way back in the day was a functional depressive. He expected to be crapped on in life and just rolled with and in it, never pushing back. His wife dominated him totally. His kids played him like a fiddle. His dog peed on his refrigerator grille just because he knew no consequences were coming. I remember once talking with him about seeking treatment for his depression. He explained,

“Oh, I’ve thought about it, sure. But, see, as bad as my life is, I figure it would take several years of therapy and medication to get better, and by then I’ll be in my early sixties. I don’t expect to live past 70, so I’ll just about be dead by the time I figure out my miserable life. So why bother? I keep a calendar in the basement. Every night I write ‘Life sucks’ in that square, cuz every day life sucks. Month after month after month, life sucks. Then you die. The only question is this: how many more ‘Life Sucks’ boxes between here and ‘Then You Die’?”

I had to agree with him. The matrix he had constructed to insulate himself in misery was a concretized reinforced bunker of resistance. He had grown comfortable in his cell of despair, carpeted it and had cable installed. Why move now? Just have burned pizza delivered to Apartment B, 333 Hell Avenue, Tartarus, until you owned the deed.

I know of an experiment where fatigued swimming rats were rescued just as they were about to drown. When placed in the same cruel water tank again, these rats swam longer than control rats, suggesting “learned optimism”, the reverse of learned helplessness. Apparently, some lab rats want to live more than others.And if a rat catches a break, it will try harder next time.

Learned optimism was defined by Martin Seligman and published in his 1990 book, Learned Optimism. The benefits of an optimistic outlook are many: Optimists are higher achievers and have better overall health. Pessimism, on the other hand, is much more common; pessimists are more likely to give up in the face of adversity or to suffer from depression. Seligman invites pessimists to learn to be optimists by thinking about their reactions to adversity in a new way. The resulting optimism—one that grew from pessimism—is a learned optimism. The optimist’s outlook on failure can thus be summarized as “What happened was an unlucky situation (not personal), and really just a setback (not permanent) for this one, of many, goals (not pervasive)”. (Wikipedia, again.) That’s a long, marshmallow crème sort of prescription. Steve with a V  from Coffee Nation would summarize it succinctly into this:  “Growaset!” I would set up business somewhere between Steve and Martin Seligman.

Falling in love with your excuses is just as weird as dressing up rats and squirrels that will one day chew through your electric wires or your face.  “Aren’t they cute? tick, tick, tick. Look at them in their little Santa suits. Oh, they’re climbing up the Christmas tree. No! Don’t chew the lights!!! Zap. Doggonit!! I paid good money for those Santa suits.” See? I am a chronic loser. I can’t even control pet squirrels.

There is an oddly positive takeaway from chronic depressives, however, that is  similar to being released from a cramped sauna where you have been smashed up with eight sweating sumo wrestlers for an hour. When you hit that clean, cool, dry air outside the cabin, man it feels better! You feel free and light and dry and safe and less awkwardly naked. Yeah, you can’t really reason with over weighted emotions. Like the sumo wrestlers in the sauna, they will just crush you. So here’s a note to self: never sauna with eight sumo wrestlers at one time, or with one depressive.

Oh, the self anointed Realists will tell you that your optimism is silly, naïve, and irresponsible. Better to be prepared for the worst than surprised by it. But the sun never shines on their side of the street. It’s always dark in that mindset because that is the original premise. At best they swim with half inflated life preservers… you know, cuz reality is hard and you have to swim or sink on your own efforts. So why did God give us positive emotions if  we aren’t supposed to expect good things in life or celebrate when something like victory occurs? Again, my depressed buddy’s philosophy– “I think God will punish me if I have a good day. He’ll give me a bad one to keep the score even. So I just hope for mediocre.”

And not surprisingly he hits the target every time.

 

 

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301. Thank You, Talibanditos

I was reading about the recent attack of teenaged Afghan girls who had acid thrown in their young faces by Taliban extremists. (Pardon the redundancy.) At first I didn’t get it. I thought that it was finally safe for Afghanistan’s next generation of women to attend school so that they would not be such total fanatical idiots like the morons who attacked them. It bothered me until the other day while I was cutting the grass and my numb mind wandered. I suddenly got the logic of the Taliban idiots. They have several good reasons for disfiguring innocent school girls

1. By pouring acid in these girls’ faces, the Talibuttheads could make the girls as ugly on the outside as the attackers are on the inside. Seeing their handiwork displayed forever will show folks for as long as these girls live just how ugly a heart poisoned by hatred can to be.  And not only one zealous Talijerk, but the whole lot of them. And as they scream “jihad and Allahu Akbar” on deaf ears, only scarred faces and mute mouths will silently stand witness. These poor girls won’t pray out loud to Allah, for what kind of God condemns his own daughters to be maimed? Thanks, Taliban Carcinogeniuses, you have answered the previous rhetorical question for the world. Chemical de-vangelists. Brilliant cretins who worship annihilation. Ground zero is your holy spot; your god is plutonium. “Here’s a toast to you guys. Yes, it’s hydrochloric acid. Tastes like bleachy poison with a hint of charcoal finish, huh? The second sip doesn’t burn so much, though.”

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2. Blinding the next generation of women makes them as blind as their attackers. In this way they won’t be able to read their Korans or any other texts. Instead they can live a life of impoverished dependence on hysterical fundamental mullahs who shriek in the name of the Prophet with pure venom. After all, acid is simply the distilled liquid form of their fanatical verbal streams. Instead of just deadening the listeners’ ears with toxic steam, acid eye wash can burn out retinas, blotting out most of God’s beauty. Thank you, Talibandits for your gift of the blind leading the blind. Your example is perfectly despicable.

The poppy flower.

3. Blinding young women keeps them as ignorant as their attackers and guarantees more ignorant devolution. They will get to wallow in the victim hot tub of religious quicksand till death. What an agonizingly delicious deal! The gift of incompetent stupidity passes to the next generation. Hatred and vengeance served hot on a pita with hummus and a celery stalk. Reminds me of the old Asimov line, “Violence is the final refuge of the incompetent.” How true!!  These Talibaboons cannot make, invent, discover or create anything. Instead they destroy, even their own young. Like their first cousins Isis, nothing is sacred, nothing is holy, certainly not human life. They recruit the next human wave like heroin dealers selling opiates to the hopeless. Truth is the first victim of warfare and religious zealotry. The dealers promise vibrant poppy flower salvation but deliver oppression via dead opium bulbs.

The opium factory.

4. Worshiping violence and death is easier than protecting life, culture, art, beauty, love, and the good of mankind. But it’s all or nothing with Talibuttons, and since they lack competence, their answer to complex issues is nothing cubed. Just look at the before and after  pictures of Buddhist carvings in Bamiyan.

They were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols. And of course, the world is a safer place now without these irreplaceable antiquities. Who needs history? Idiots don’t. It’s like giving wristwatches to chimpanzees. Thanks for absolute intolerance and mono-monotheist nihilism. Your purity, Talibanzais, makes things so clear.

5. Thanks for making it so clear that evil exists in a pure form. Many times issues overlap and get quite complicated in our modern world. They take time to sort out and categorize. Not this one. Thank you, Talibitemes, for simplifying while magnifying your infantile blind rage with Stone Age clarity. Your black stain on humanity can be seen from a satellite in space, but you probably have a fatwah against space crafts. So let’s just say, we can see it from the Kyber Pass. It’s not religion, it’s not culture, it’s not a value system that you represent. It is the same old opium paste of hate and power and greed with automatic weapons.

6. In a free society it is easy to get distracted by lovely things, trivial things, even sports and landscaping television shows. Thanks again, Taliburdens, for bringing the focus back to the gates of Hell, where blind mullahs lead blind girls into eternity under the blind eyes of Cerberus. Thanks again for reminding me of Marvin Gaye’s fatalistic line, “Only three things for sure: taxes, death and trouble.”

 

 

258. Kim Young Fool, 50 Ways To Lose Your Leader

 

Caution: a politically incendiary message follows. Read at your own risk.

 No squid soup for you! Pouty puff.

I’ve made oblique references to this greasy, spoiled child before in jest. He’s a baby tyrant who eats sticks of butter for snack, so I’ve come to believe in my own mythology. But apparently Little Butterball needs to be taken seriously now. (What he really needs is a severe spanking in front of the U.N. , but that won’t be happening anytime soon.) The little prince can’t be disrespected because he has a divinity complex and must be loved and revered or else he’ll hold his breath and unleash nuclear weapons. The free world must be North Koreanized, i.e., lobotomized, in order to prevent his highness any further disappointment. His charge d’affairs, Dennis Rodman, tried to sell the Pillsbury Pirate Dough Boy King to the world while drunk last year. He failed. Truly, that’s a tough gig even for a sober man to put lipstick on such a suckling pig and say, “He’s family friendly, folks, and he don’t stink too much.” Only a drunk would take the dare.

“Go ahead. I dare you, Western Capitalist Pig. Market me.”

And now this pudgy toad has ordered his techies to hack their way into the world’s computers to do in cyber space what he cannot do in three dimensions on a well lit battle field. Well, if they can chop up international security systems in free countries, why don’t they use their skills to get rid of Doctor Frayed Knot, Delusional Ding Dong of Pyong Pang? I mean, there must be 50 ways to leave your leader… 50 ways to lose the Loser.

The problem is all inside his head

I said to Gee

The answer is easy if you  take it logically

I’d like to help you in  your struggle to be free

There must be 50 ways to dump your dumpling

50 ways to punk the punk king.

Taze him in the crack, Jaik

Make a little plan, Hwan

No need to be coy, Soy

Just listen to me.

Whack’m in the knees, Hee

Blow up  the bus, Gus

No need to discuss much,

Shoot him in the back, Geun

But get yourself free.

I hate to even refer to Young Fool as a leader. He’s more of a hostage taker’s grandson, living off the extortions and exertions of  his father and grandfather’s hocus pocus reigns. They managed to spike the kim chi with LSD decades ago so that North Koreans believe these clowns are God himself. Why are these deities so square-headed and human then? When you look at them together, you can believe in cloning ala SpongeBob.

Kim Jong Il’s deathmobile. The father of Young Fool. I don’t think this was photo shopped, but it could set a land sailing record with the right wind conditions.
 Kim il Sung. Grandfather of Young Fool.  These guys remind me of used burial property salesmen from the 1960’s. “Have I got a lot for you?”
“You got lot for me?”
“Yes, I’ve got a lot of lots for you.”
“But there is someone in my lot already.”
“That’s why we call them used lots. Somebody has broken it in for you.”
So, sore butt Kimmy cannot be mocked, although he mocks himself in those state run propaganda trailers that we occasionally see on the news in the capitalist west. His fully devoted soldiers rush smilingly into icy waves to revere the King of the Rodents. How can you take the guy seriously? He is the political equivalent of Newman, from Seinfeld, hard to take at all.
 “Hello, Kim Young Fool!”
“Hello, NEWMAN!!”
But with Young Fool a phalanx of I.T. engineers is commanded to steal your medical records, mess up your credit cards, and block your choice of movies on Netflix. Why?  Because Young Fool is a weiner. Kim Young Fool Weiner, KYFW.
Like a Kansas radio station handle…
“This is KYFW radio in PingPong, Kansas, coming at you with 50,ooo megawatts of illegal hacktricity. We’re playing all the hits for our fearless leader Kim the Weiner Young Fool.  Let’s get it started with Cry Me a River sung by Diana Krall.
“You drove me, nearly drove me, out of my head
While you never shed a tear
Kimmember, I Kimmember, all that you said
You told me love was too plebeian
Told me you were through with me and
Now you say you love me
Well, just to prove that you do
Censor me a movie, censor me a movie
I cried a river over you
I cried a river over you
I cried a river…over you…
Hack me a movie, hack me a movie,
I hacked a loogie over you.”
Okay, get your bulgogi on with this next hit, a request from Sing Sang Sung in Lawrence. It’s the theme song to Ghostbusters.
“If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call (Kim Young Fool)
If it’s somethin’ weird an it won’t look good
Who ya gonna call (Kim Young Fool)”
Our Supreme Leader has managed to shut down an international movie company.  This is a major victory in Hollywood. Weiner Boy has broken the stranglehold of Evil Western Democracies by stealing personal banking records of hundreds of unimportant Americans. He even found secret recipes for KFC Original Recipe Fried Chicken. Now he has bent the West into humble submission. Bi bim bap to you!! Butterman.
It amazes me that an international corporation, a movie industry giant at that, would bow to Junior Boy Scout Mafia pressure. I don’t care about their movie. It likely sucks. I do care that a flabby schoolyard bully has won a victory, however temporary it may be. Feed the demon and it grows. Spit in his face and he slinks away.
I think rather than shying away from insolent children like Kimmy Boy, Jimmy Fallon and Conan and the other comic geniuses we have should absolutely roast this guy’s chestnuts over an open fire of First Amendment glory. Just because Kimba the Lard Butt Lion can intimidate a movie studio does not mean that he does not suck.