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100 Days of Love and Hate - Day 71 [Jan. 29th, 2009|01:14 am]
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[mood |happyhappy]

Only 15 months since the last post! Woohoo! Given that I found myself having a harder and harder time reading and writing over that period, I'm happy to forgive myself.

Most Love and Hate posts tended to take around four hours of pretty solid work to get to a point where, if I wasn't entirely happy with it's wording, I wasn't unhappy with it being seen. And I just don't generally have the mental energy to throw around like that. And if I do, well, I can be playing with my son, or trying to get back into writing fiction.

I wanted to try and get a few more under my belt before posting again, but what the hell.

Crazy People

There are people who are strange and odd, where their unusual outlook or way of doing things is so much a part of themselves that they are rarely aware of it, if at all. Then there are the 'crazy' people, the folks who regularly need to tell you that they are wacky, weird, strange, etc.

"But I'm mad, everyone knows that!" and similar phrases delivered again and again in a desperate attempt by the try-hards to make themselves feel special or unique. What they are is, at best, tiring, at worst, a pain in the arse.

It's their attempt to make one believe they are actually interesting, entertaining people and I hate it! I really hate it. You can take someone who is an otherwise reasonable mate, but the more they tell me how fucking amazingly strange they are, they more I want to beat them with burning rubber-tubing. Because I know people who are genuinely odd and interesting folks, and you know, not one of them ever feels the need to tell me again and again how bizarre they are.

Oh, once in a while the truly strange will acknowledge it, but usually only when it's directly relevant to something. Putting a bit of behaviour in context, or the sudden realisation that they really don't think in quite the same way. Their comments aren't about getting attention, they are about getting perspective.

The try-hards aren't just attempting to convince everyone else, they're trying to convince themselves. Real arists, geniuses, great lovers, tough people, humanitarians, famous folks, etc. know what they are, and are comfortable with that.

They don't feel the need to keep telling the rest of us.

Steve Irwin

There's a lot that can be said about Irwin and his attitude and perceptions of things. I don't know how many times I watched him handling some animal and telling it, "It's alright mate, it's okay," as it tried to bite him, and all I could think was "No, it's not okay Steve, it's just been pounced on and grabbed, as far as it's concerned, nothing good can come of this."

But you know, I really liked the guy.

Yep, he was a dill. I'm not entirely sure the sky he saw was blue and not orange with purple spots, but his heart was in the right place. For his many flaws, he cared about animals and the environment, really cared. You don't have to like the way he showed it, but don't say he didn't give a damn. A good portion of the money made from his TV career was poured back into animal conservation. He bought up huge areas of land in Australia and overseas so that they could be left undeveloped as informal 'National Parks.'

And most importantly, Irwin got people excited about conservation and the environment not by preaching to them, but by his sheer enthusiasm.

His death was a sad loss.

And love him or hate him, he did more in his forty-four years than most of us would manage in twice that.

[User Picture]From: stephbg
2009-01-28 02:47 pm (UTC)
It's the verbal equivalent of the writing rule show-don't-tell:

"Hi!!! I'm crrrrrazy!" (BAD)


"Hello. Did you know that artichokes have feelings for cockroaches?" (UM, WELL, INTERESTING AT LEAST)
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-28 02:54 pm (UTC)

I've yet to meet anyone who told me they were crazy, or mad, who was even a patch on some of the more entertaining loonies I know. Even the ones who do outlandish shit mostly for the enjoyment of others don't tell people they are crazy, and God knows, some of them are pretty bloody weird!
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[User Picture]From: ariaflame
2009-01-28 03:08 pm (UTC)
Now you've got me wondering if I do anything like that. I'm reasonably sure not in that sense, apart from as an in joke with friends as to why we geek the way we do. (It's only my madness that's keeping me sane type of thing).

I'm not the extroverted type crazy though. It's only in the company of those I know and trust that I really let my hair down at all. (Not that it can go down very far at this length). I think I may be babbling, though not insane, merely sleep deprived so I'm going to do something about that now.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-28 10:49 pm (UTC)
Nah, I've seen you sleep deprived and heard you make comments about your state of mind, and it's more a case of realising you're going a bit silly, than trying to get attention.

When I think about it, I can truthfully say that I don't think anyone on my journal who I have met in real life does the 'I'm crazy!' thing.
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[User Picture]From: transcendancing
2009-01-29 02:02 pm (UTC)
The best thing I learned on December 13th was that I'm not strange, never have been and that it was just something I made up to explain what happened to me and how I felt. It wasn't true and I made it mean something. What I got from that realisation was the possibility of being connected to anyone. Of being both extraordinary and ordinary along with everyone else.
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[User Picture]From: loic
2009-01-28 04:40 pm (UTC)
For me, as an ex-pat, Steve Erwin represented so much of the Australia I miss. I know a lot of Australians felt challenged by him as they try to prove what modern cosmopolitans they are, but he reminded me of the guys I grew up around in the bush who friendly and interested and really loved nature.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-28 10:53 pm (UTC)
The thing is, the ocker Steve Irwin type is our cultural heritage to some degree. Take away that archetype and what replaces it?
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[User Picture]From: loic
2009-02-04 01:20 am (UTC)
Not a whole lot. I do love modern Australian culture, but our traditions are so much better. Just today I began planning my big outback road trip...
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-28 10:55 pm (UTC)
Funny thing is, I didn't think of that at the time I was writing this, but you're right. Irwin was a genuine crazy person, as opposed to the try-hard type.
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[User Picture]From: hespa
2009-01-29 06:48 am (UTC)
When I saw the teaser of this with just Love/Hate and Crazy People/Steve Irwin, I really wasn't sure which way you would go with it.

In fact, one of the things I've really been enjoying about these Love/Hate posts is just how many of them leave me wondering which topic is going to be which... ;-)
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[User Picture]From: arcadiagt5
2009-01-28 08:31 pm (UTC)
Irwin did make me flinch, and the manipulation of his children still does, but I certainly agree with you on his commitment to conservation.

For that alone, yes, his death was a sad loss,
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[User Picture]From: magnapops
2009-01-28 09:01 pm (UTC)
The kids will have the hardest time. Apart from the fact that they lost a father, they have Steve's peculiar view of the world and enthusiasm for life and and American mother.......

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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-28 11:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I can't help but be skeptical of Terri Irwin's influence on the kids in this regard. But time will tell. Maybe she's genuine and misguided, rather than manipulative and unfeeling.
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[User Picture]From: mireille21
2009-01-29 01:30 am (UTC)
I liked Bindi's response to one journalist who asked her about all the TV stuff she was doing and did she feel pressured. Her response was essentially that there was all this stuff that she enjoyed doing with her dad, how would you feel if your dad died, and *then* you were also told you couldn't do any of that stuff anymore? Gave me a really fresh perspective - and she impressed me a lot.
Of course, only time will tell what a lifetime in front of the camera will really bring her, but we'll just have to wait.
And wow, 15 months since your last post? Doesn't seem like it!
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-29 01:56 am (UTC)
It is hard, because this is all Bindi knows. But that's a problem, too. And how do you solve it? Can she have a 'normal' life, or is this the best normal life she can, and should, have?

I think the worst of it will be when she's firmly in her teens. As soon as she does something a little newsworthy, and i say that in the terms of the current low standard of our media, it will be "Wild girl Bindi's drinking binge!" and similar.

The stuff that normal teenage girls get to experience more or less privately will be headline news.

Yeah, 15 months. I've been adding to the Love/hate lists in that time, but the writing has just been too hard to manage. You know how deeply personal some of these posts get. And when I rant about something edgey, I try to give a fairly reasoned arguement, which is not always easy.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-28 11:01 pm (UTC)
He only made me flinch when he was doing silly things with animals.

I still remember the show where he was squatting down looking at some nearby rattlers, and then a noise of a rattler starts up. He looks around, then down, then up to that camera crew and mouths the word 'shit' as he realises that the rock he's squatting behind has a rattler under it.

This post is your fault, you know. Kept wanting to get a few built up, then post, but had been doing that for a while (got a couple of half done posts). Saw your questions, which I will answer shortly, and thought 'just do it!'
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[User Picture]From: arcadiagt5
2009-01-29 08:19 am (UTC)
This post is your fault, you know.

Ah ha, so you did fall for my cunning plan!

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[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-01-29 12:17 am (UTC)
My wild and angry opinion below - obviously you and everyone else completely free to like the guy! : )

Oh I loathed and destested Steve Irwin so much. A man who'd claim genuine interest for the environment on one hand and be one of John Howard's single-largest campaign donors on the other. A guy who'd hassle wild animals so much he ultimately died swimming on top of a stingray, yet claimed all the time he was terrifying and harrassing them that he loved them so much.

David Attenborough proved decades ago that you can get people excited about the animal world without grabbing the animals and swinging them around at the same time. And I'll take one of Attenborough's TV productions over Irwin's entire career.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-29 01:47 am (UTC)
I totally refuse to disagree with you on any of these points! :D

I don't think you can beat someone like Attenborough for class and quality. But since when did class and quality on TV get people's attention? I'm sure there were plenty of folks who tuned into Irwin hoping to see him get bit. Hell, his handling of animals irritated the fuck out of me!

As for the John Howard thing, well, I never said Irwin was bright, just passionate.

I keep looking at the Attenborough collections on Roadshow and thinking I should buy them.
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[User Picture]From: littenz
2009-01-29 08:06 pm (UTC)
Per Steve Irwin - I always found his on screen antics (the little I saw) very cowboyish. Then I noticed that he had the same level of enthusiasm, which was extremely fulsome, for everything he talked about or espoused; there were no gradations.

So I threw my prejudice machine into the mix and decided he was a fruit loop to be avoided. I wouldn't deride him; I just couldn't bring myslef to support him as I couldn't tell what weird tangent he would fly away on next.

I thought the manner of his death apposite, even if he hadn't disturbed the rays at the time. The way he handled animals he was going to suffer a provoked attack at some point.
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From: tommmo
2009-01-29 12:33 am (UTC)
You know what bugs me the most with "crazy people" like the ones you describe? It's when they respond to any kind of statements about their character/quirks/oddities with the phrase "This is me we're talking about!" (or similar)

I just hate it. It's one of the most grating, withering responses I can think of. Everytime I hear someone say it I wish I was 15 or 20 metres further away.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-29 01:49 am (UTC)
The one that makes me want to stab them in the face is when you're talking about something they've done, something only mildly humourous, and they come out with, "But I'm crazy, everyone knows that!"

Seriously, stab in the face, with a rabid ferret.
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From: tommmo
2009-01-29 02:05 am (UTC)
Yep, I think that falls under the same umbrella. It's those responses that take a step further than "I'm going to remind you that I'm all zany", all the way to "I'm going to remind you that there's supposedly some sort of general consensus on my status as being all zany".

That's when you wish that the rabid ferret you were stabbing them with was holding knives, so it could stab them too.
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2009-01-29 12:34 am (UTC)
Perhaps I should change my username.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-29 01:32 am (UTC)
Sometimes a username is just a username.

And it's not like you run around wearing a t-shirt with a big StrangeDave (TM) logo on it, or ask people to call you Strange Dave. And I've certainly never heard you trying to convince people you're weird.
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2009-01-29 02:32 am (UTC)
I just like weird things. But I think I'm at most mildly eccentric.

And I hate the 'we are so wacky!' thing too.

I realised I'd lost some tolerance for this sort of thing at GhengisCon. I had just arrived and asked what was going on (they were, as it turns out, cracking open the head of a demon god for the yummy candy inside, Cthulhu Pinata an awesome idea), and someone very fannish replied "One Word - Don't Ask". I said "thats not one word" and they replied "oh, but with me and my friends so many crazy things happen we just made it one word" and just started ranting at them "what, your friends aren't nmerate? You can't tell the difference between a word and a phrase? What?"
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-29 04:11 am (UTC)
I try to make allowances for youth with this stuff. When we're young we do all sorts of stupid stuff as we try to get comfy with ourselves. But some people don't grow out of it.

It's right down there with the 'I got so mad I drove my fist half an inch into a brick wall' guys. I've heard that one about four times over the years from various fanboys, some who were old enough to know better than to come out with something so stupid. Having punched a van myself, and having to deal with the sore knuckles and aching hand for a week afterwards (the van was ok, not even a mild dent) I would be more likely to believe the statement if they followed it with, "Broke my bloody hand of course, felt like a total fuckwit."

I have used the, "I'm so crazy!" line, but only sarcastically. I always think of Rik from The Young Ones carrying on about how decadent they are when I use it.
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2009-01-29 05:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, I make allowances for youth (the person I snapped at did not have that excuse, though).

I've actually seen my best friend punch a wall in frustration (he was trying to get thousands of dollars worth of essential equipment for his business through customs at the time, and it wasn't going well). He was a pretty strong guy, and he didn't hurt the wall and did hurt his hand.

Rik is the perfect comedic reference, yes. Right on! Take that, Thatcher! *raises fist in air*
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[User Picture]From: littenz
2009-01-29 08:22 pm (UTC)
I've had "odd" reactions from those whom consider themselves bohemian or much less than conventional when I do the normal but unexpected - such as stroll without pause into a arty coffee bar-cum-cafe, of an evening, while still in my suit and tie.

I got the feedback that I was supposed to be phased by or demur to this action because I was an accountant in full business drag and had yet had time to do my wardrobe change (and supposedly a mind shift too) to a crime-conducting student. Bloody small-minded sensibilities!

I whole-heartedly agree with your Young Ones' Rik reference. ("We need you to blow up a panda." "Yeah, all right. Bloody zoos.")
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-30 12:36 am (UTC)
I always like Rik's follow up to the panda comment. Someone points out their talking about police and Rik's response is along the lines of "Yeah, stinking pigs! Especially the few bad apples that spoil an otherwise spotless record."
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From: 3lobed
2009-02-04 12:00 pm (UTC)
I think it's when Neil's parents visit that Rik's sitting at a table pretending to write an essay to impress them, and keeps interrupting to shout over to them.

"You have to watch out for me, you know, because I'm a bit mad!"


"Aren't I, everyone?"


"A bit mad!"

Nobody says anything, so he lunges across the room into their faces blowing a raspberry and bugging his eyes and when they flinch away says "you see? mad!"

Can I submit another variation? I had a boss who had some deeply, deeply obnoxious mannerisms that made her unpleasant to be around and bad at her job. And when I saw anyone try to tactfully bring into the conversation that maybe a different sort of behaviour might be more appropriate she'd mug and grin and wink and say "Oh, well, I am a bit of a character, aren't I?"

From that day to this, anyone who picks out that term to apply to themselves goes on my red list.
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From: tommmo
2009-01-29 02:16 am (UTC)
Yeah Dave, you big tryhard. Geez.
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