To those of you whose ears perked up and who started thinking of everybody they could call or email to rat me out when they read this title, one word:
This post has nothing to do with the title. Well, okay, it maybe has a little to do with it, but only in the most general way.
On another blog I sometimes pass by, I became engaged in a political discussion. I wondered aloud about certain kinds of people and what I considered asinine and mule-headed stances on policy matters, and how on Earth folks could step up to defend positions that were patently indefensible -- racist, sexist, greedy, etc.
Several folks stepped up to be pissed off at me for attacking them. Even though I didn't -- attack them. (And then they started to defend some of the foolishness of which I had spoken, and that was sad. Not a surprise, but sad. See, the real problem with stupid people is that they don't know they are stupid. If they did, they'd merely be ignorant or misguided until, of course, they came to see the wisdom of my position, in which case they would become enlightened ...)
There's a sophomoric practical joke that was all the rage when I was first in junior high fifty years ago. You walked into a gathering of guys and yelled "Hey, asshole!" and then grinned at whoever turned around to look. You only got stung this way once; thereafter your attitude was, "Well, you obviously aren't talking to me, so I'm not gonna look."
Or you got pounded by the football jock who was sure you were yelling at him and who would just as soon stomp you as look at you ...
The old idiom is, "If the shoe fits, wear it." What this means is, if you are guilty of something and somebody calls you on it, then you don't get to kick. It also means that if you aren't guilty, then it doesn't apply to you, and you need not get all het up about it.)
Johnny Cochran helped get OJ off with a variation of this, and I always wondered if that really convinced anybody. If you are a professional actor and you can't make it look like putting on a glove is hard because it is too tight? Even I can do that -- using a glove two sizes too big.)
If I figuratively step into the room and yell, "Hey, asshole!" unless I add your name to that fore or aft, it's not my fault if you turn around and look. If you do, and want to get feisty about it when I wasn't talking to you? That's also not my problem.
(Addendum to the old joke file: Guy walks into a bar. Orders a beer, sucks it down fast, slams the mug down on the bar top. "All right," he yells. "All of you on this side of the room are douche bags! And all of you on that side of the room are assholes!"
Big man walks over, stands in front of the guy. "Buddy," he said, "I don't appreciate you calling me a douche bag."
"Well, then, get over on the other side of the room, asshole ..."