Thursday, October 6, 2011

More Applications of Poe's Law

The more I contemplate Poe's Law (see previous blog post), the more applications I find for it.  It was initially meant for fundamentalism, true, but there are so many other areas where something is so ridiculous that it can't be parodied without someone mistaking it as genuine.  Specifically, I've identified several other areas where Poe's law fits:
Commercial advertising
Politics
Television and film production
Sports fans
Modern art
Hip-hop culture
Country/Western music

Now, at first glance, none of these things appear to have anything in common, other than they are so ridiculous that doing a parody would result in people mistaking them for the real thing.  But why?  Could there be some common element that links these seemingly disparate subjects together?  Certainly hip-hop culture and country/western music are linked by low-brow, simplistic styles of music, and commercial advertising, politics and entertainment production all have the distinction of trying to sell sub-standard products to the masses.  But what about the others?  How do simple music styles and selling products relate?  How do they both relate to fundamentalism?  Or modern art?  How to they relate to sports fans?

I believe the answer has to do with one thing.  These ridiculous behaviors all come into play whenever there happens to be a large group of people following a trend or charismatic leader blindly.

It makes sense.  When people follow blindly, rationality goes out the window, and with it, the sense of "Oh, my god, I'm really making an ass out of myself!"  There's something about getting swept up in the mob mentality which appeals to our primal, animal brain, the core of which is, essentially, that of a rodent.  Yes, there's a little bit of lemming in each of us.

Perhaps we might wake up to certain things in our lives as a result.  We might say of hip hop culture, "You know, the music's only good because the Motown greats it raps over were originally good.  These clowns have no musical talent."  Or, "You call THAT art?  My five-year-old could do that!"  And it begs the question, just what OTHER areas are there in my life where I'm following blindly?  Do I really have to tolerate commercials which announce "Omnaris, To The Nose!" by spending my money on their product?  Indeed, can't we all just not buy any shit which REPEATS the same nonsense over and over again?

Homework assignment:  Look yourself in the mirror and ask, "What am I doing in my life where I'm following stupid stuff blindly?  And what can I do to change it?"  We ALL have such areas in our lives, so no fair trying to insist that you've got no such areas.  Go on, explore your life.  Find that area where you're being led about by the nose.

And then eliminate it.  Liberate yourself!

Eric

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