like joseph stalin and gandhi

Quick survey: what is the worst thing that someone would have to do or say before you stopped respecting him or her?

If you agreed with a political figure in every way but one, what would that one have to be for them to lose your vote? Abortion? Same-sex marriage? Evolution?

If you idolized a rock star or professional athlete, what’s the one stupid thing they could shout during a performance that would make you throw out their albums? “Keep Britain White“? “We’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas?” “You can’t say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them?”

If you had a close friend whom you trusted with your secrets, how abhorrent would their views have to be for you to stop trusting them? Could you disregard a little casual bigotry or social naivete? If they had a BUSH/CHENEY 04 sticker on their bike? Or if they had a NADER sticker?

I’m genuinely curious about people’s limits; I’m not trying to make a point of any sort.

Of those three above, I can only answer the last question. Politics entertain me too much for any one representative to disappoint me. And since I have accused pederasts pedophiles on my iPod and convicted rapists on my DVD shelf I apparently have zero standards there. But I would have a hard time being friends with a proselytizer. Not just someone who believes, and not just someone whose beliefs inform their life choices, but a person who feels obligated to Bear Witness and to Convert. Someone who slipped tracts into my messenger bag, or campaigned to get evolution out of the curriculum. Someone who stood on a street corner and waved signs at drivers. Someone who knew – just deep down in their hearts knew – that I could one day believe.

But enough about me. What gets your goat?

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8 Responses

  1. Pete Townshend was doing research! Research for a book, for goodness sake!

  2. I should have said “pedophile”; pederast implies carnal knowledge. And I’ve always been leery of the effects that a charge of child abuse can inflict on someone’s reputation.

  3. I always thought it was “Like Joseph Stalin, or Kennedy.”

    I’m pretty much in agreement about proselytizers. Or anyone who has core beliefs that have no logic in them at all, and are unwilling to be thoughtful about their positions. That said, I may start standing on street corners to talk about my love of “Rock Band.”

  4. It’s “like Mussolini and Kennedy.”

    And Rock Band has objective merit.

  5. “Have you read this swell book called Atlas Shrugged?” will pretty much do it.

  6. Hmmm. Do you think it’s swell? Or have you dedicated a prog rock concept album to the author?

  7. I think “swell!” is actually the strongest adjective I’d use to describe it currently. I’m no longer the judgmental asshole I was at 16, but I honestly have to say that Atlas Shrugged and the AD&D 2nd Edition Player’s Guide changed my life more than any other two books I’ve ever read.

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