In movie culture we learn that professional thugs know how to beat somebody up without showing any visible physical signs. All of the wounds and bruises are hidden beneath clothing and under hair. That is how I felt after an encounter with Pete Talbot yesterday, like a professional bully.
Pete is an OK guy. He’s just light of intellect. But most people are that way – there just aren’t that many smart people around. I don’t have any problem with that – I have a family and friends, and they are nice, some of them wonderfully warm and caring, and only a very few intellectually gifted. It is the human condition, and I love them all.
My own family just happened to be what are derisively call “brainiacs,” all four of us boys possessing high IQ’s, to whatever good that might lead. I don’t know how that came about. Mom was an insightful person, always listening to her radio shows but never reading much. Her own mother was a very bright school teacher married to a drunk. Dad’s side of the family was just average. Dad was just a working man who pretended to read while he watched TV. He was extremely soft, caring and kind, but no brainiac.
Back to Pete, if you want to read the bloody encounter, go here. His problem is that he doesn’t know how to deal with me. He ridicules, and that only brings out my sharp knives, as I don’t like being ridiculed by people who don’t know much. And the more he lays into me, the deeper I cut. In the end, he says I am a “sick fuck,” and he retreats to his lair at Intelligent Discontent, where smart commenters are banned. He’s safe there.
The “moral coward” affront I hit him with has to due with my ability to spot a person’s weak point, and attack right at that point. It is a gift and a curse, as I can slash a throat faster than a Navy Seal. Pete doesn’t realize that when he writes and comments on the blogs, he is revealing his true self. In his case it is so easy to see that he does not read, prefers harmony over enlightenment, and wants to be seen as an intelligent and insightful writer without being of the dues-paying contemplative truth-seeking stripe. He’s just a Democrat. So he lives in insecurity fearing he’ll be exposed. Confrontation scares the shit out if him, as he has no arrows in his quiver. He gravitates towards unchallenged harmony.
So when he encounters me (and by his own admission he is afraid to do so), he knows no other tactic than to launch into ridicule, much like his cohort, Don Pogreba. He really thinks I am wrong about everything, so far from truth that he can just have at me freely. So I called him out, offered to debate him here, at ID, and I would bring my evidence and he could bring his beliefs. That’s a challenge I know he would never accept, but I would love to do so anyway, and would indeed treat him with courtesy. But he just doesn’t have what it takes!
His problem is that he operates on unchallenged assumptions, like American news media being reliable and politicians being real people and debunking sites being genuine. He doesn’t explore on his own, instead first getting someone opinion of what should be a “trusted source” before sidling up to the pump for enlightenment. He carefully stays in environs where those assumptions remain unchallenged. When he ventures out, again like Pogreba, he is easily undermined, undone, and burned. Like all who came before, he ended his encounter with me in rage, storming out to his safe lair, assuring himself that it must be me, and not him who has the problem.
I told him at one point that I’ve been reading and thinking for 27 years. That set him off. I don’t say that because it makes me smart – only because it is unusual. Hardly anyone reads at all, and even fewer as much as I do. That is just true. Make of it what you will. I have made many mistakes in judgment over that time, bouncing from rock to rock, and no doubt I am deep in some bad beliefs and haunted pathways now. Nobody gets to be right all the time. But the idea that I’ve been in a genuine search for truth, reading and thinking and exploring, was offensive to him, and there can be only one reason for that. He’s got nothing comparable to show.
Anyway, poor Pete. I meant him no harm, and don’t damn him with faint praise by suggesting that he’s better than the average person I meet on the Internet. But like so many others who fancy themselves otherwise, he just hasn’t got the chops to hold himself out as a thinker, writer or pundit. That is just the way it is.