As a writer it's probably no surprise that I have a passionate interest in language. It's not as all-consuming as my love of Doctor Who or calling Men's Rights "Activists" terrible people, but yeah, it's up there. Lately, the thing that has been pricking at my brain are the little words and phrases that people hurl at you to tell you that you, yes you, are a mindless follower unworthy of the title of human.
And each one simply proves that the person throwing it at you is a misinformed ninny that has swallowed every wrong bit of trivia that has ever gutterballed into their ear canal before hawking it back at some poor person on Facebook like electric smoker's lung.
Allow me to explain.
See also: Me Making Fun of Men's Rights Activists
Let's take my favorite bullshit phrase... "Stop drinking the Kool-Aid!" That's the one you hear the most. Believe that fires brought down 7 World Trade Center instead of controlled demolition? You drank the Kool-Aid. Refuse to believe that Muslim is just another word for terrorist? More Kool-Aid, sir? Trust a single word out of the mouth of Barack HUSSEIN Obama? Let's get you a nice jug of Kool-Aid.
Grape-flavored because people that act like this are usually a little racist on top of being thunderclasmically ham-brained.
Why do we even use this phrase? It's because of Jonestown. Back in the '70s cult leader Jim Jones led a bunch of people to Guyana to live and worship far away from the evils of the world... which didn't include beating his followers apparently 'cause he brought that with him. When a U.S. congressman went down to investigate reported human rights abuses, Jones' followers killed him, then fearing repercussions from the authorities they decided to commit mass suicide.
The method was having people ingest Valium, chloral hydrate, cyanide, and Phenergan. This was served out of a big old metal tub full of punch. However, despite everything you have ever heard, it wasn't Kool-Aid. It was Flavor-Aid. Literally every single person you have ever heard say "drink the Kool-Aid" have themselves drunk the Kool-Aid about drinking the Kool-Aid. It's a minor point, but facts do in fact matter to those of use that don't live in La La Land.
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Lemming is another phrase you hear from people totally not tripping balls on the edge of the Rainbow Road of Rationality. Lemmings, as everyone knows because it was an award-winning video game, mindlessly march to their deaths in mass suicides (There seems to be a pattern emerging). That's a fact, right?
No, it's not. Lemmings do not commit mass suicide because being a lemming is probably the best gig on the planet aside from being Taylor Swift's swimsuit. All they do is eat and reproduce, and they are fantastic at that. So much so that whenever there would be drops in the lemming population scientists would be so baffled they basically had to make up an explanation.
That explanation, according to Arthur Mee, was that "If the dismal exodus (Note: Which no one had actually seen) did not occur lemmings would long ago have eaten Europe bare." That was Mee's contribution. That whenever the lemming thought it was becoming too consumptive of local resources it voluntarily marched off of a cliff in order to preserve the natural order.
That idea is stupid on so many levels I feel that you should have to use a portal gun to make your way through them. The fact is that lemmings over-populate, start to starve, and then go a little crazy and do things like fall off cliffs or run out in front of predators.
Lemmings aren't blind followers; they're selfish bastards with poor impulse control who gorge themselves stupid until they get killed. People took Mee at his word, and years later Walt Disney won an Oscar by hurling lemmings off a cliff and saying it was a nature documentary. Everyone you've heard call someone a lemming for following a leader to any fate was in fact describing the absolute opposite.
What about sheeple? That pointless portmanteau of the words "sheep" and "people" that resists dying so hard Bruce Willis is in talks to play it in a movie. It's another attempt to portray a group following along as hopelessly stupid.
Really? True, sheep are definitely a herd mentality breed. It's one of their defining traits because safety in numbers is their primary defense mechanism. In places where sheep have no natural predators, they display no herding instinct.
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The question you have to ask is... what the hell is wrong with the herd mentality? Sheep have coexisted with human beings for 8,000 years of domestication. They are literally one of the most successful species on the planet specifically because they can be taught to cooperate and get along. Hell, they've even formed relationships with dogs, the descendants of their natural enemies. In a sense, sheep have cooperated so well that they've actually outlasted the wolves that were one of the animals they developed herd defense against in the first place.
Sheep follow a leader. A leader that protects them, gets them fed, and finds them a safe place to sleep.... Which is pretty much exactly what we should all be doing. Let's take an example from the recent news. 20 or so hardline Republicans decided that cooperating with the path to food and safety was too mainstream, and more than a million people lost their paychecks for two weeks. Then a everyone else got together and herded these herp-a-derps out of the rain.
I for one, was rooting for the sheeple.