How I learned to love extremists

| Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Shocking! How could someone love an extremist? Personally, I think they are destroying the world and anyone who disagrees with me is wrong and only helping their cause.

Extremists are bad, certainly. Their actions, their beliefs, their words: they are harmful. But they are illuminating. It is only when you see the bottom of the slippery slope or the illogical conclusion that you can truly see what you are saying. Extremists give context. Their ridiculousness helps us see "oh, well that's certainly not where I want to go, so maybe I'll stand... here".

See, it's not about loving them or valuing them through agreement, but through disagreement. They are the devil's advocate, except if you're seeing them for who they are, you know to go in the other direction.

This specifically relates to blogging for me. I often find topics on the WoW forums. Really stupid ideas bounce around there, popping up like the movie theater popcorn, and as disgusting and unhealthy as the 'butter' on top.

For example, I've recently tempered my views on vanilla being a lost paradise. It wasn't from doing the old grinds. I enjoyed those actually. No, it was the 90th forum thread proclaiming them to be a wonderland, and my inevitable need to disagree, since if it's on the forums it's probably wrong, just by chance, which convinced me that perhaps things were not perfect.

Of course I also saw the "Vanilla sucked!" threads and found those to be similarly stupid. I enjoyed vanilla and mere nostalgia and novelty are incomplete explanations. After all, I've never before stabbed myself, but I doubt novelty would cause me to enjoy it or to say how the blood loss and resulting need for orange juice and a new shirt are a challenge that people don't understand these days.

Between these I find a middle ground. It's in the middle. I guess that's where it gets the name.

Without seeing some other jackass ranting about pre-BC servers, who knows where I'd be now? So I want to thank you, extremist jackass who cannot see any value in dissenting opinions; your stupidity has helped me to find my way, away from you.

Extremists are really ugly mirrors that make us realize we've not shaved in a week and what's that in our teeth?


Dwism said...

How you got through this post without mentioning the green dude, is beyond me. I could not have done it. Well done.
Anyways, I could agree more, but I won't. because I know that without the extremists out there, I would be the extremist.

/rants on about how raids used to be epic, and forgets to mention how incredible the Lich king fight is.

Anonymous said...

Your post is a great description for how the Overton window works in something other than politics.

Klepsacovic said...

@Dwism: I didn't think of that; in retrospect I'm more surprised I never mentioned Nazis.

@Anonymous: I'd never heard of that before, interesting concept.

Dwism said...

Well, there is always that. Or sarah Palin if you want to be contemporary (not i did not say that she is to be compared to the nazis, don't kill me echelon)

Anonymous said...

Guess you ruined the not mentioning green dude thing by retroactively linking to this from a post mentioning him :(

That aside, the hilarious thing about this post is that you don't seem to realize that you are one of the most extremist bloggers around.

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