I am reminded of the difficulty of going to distant teahouses - one does not immediately recognise the crazy people so one can avoid them. I'm halfway across town, injecting a bit of variety into the empty days, in a Crazy Goat. There is, nearby, a guy who's mentally fairly off, waving his hands and bowing his head like he's davening drunk, as he reads Proust loudly at us. I eventually, politely, ask him to STFU, and he says he might, moderately, his voice with the warbly undertones of someone who's several bits short of a byte. In the distance, people who had the sense to sit a ways away from this guy are having conversations, mispronouncing lassiez-faire, talking about films and society, etc. Nearby, people grimace at this guy's noice and flailing arms, occasionally stepping outside to smoke cigarettes.
I have long been excessively irritated at people who are mentally off - Aspies irritate the hell out of me, and people with more serious ailments invoke sadness, pity, and hatred in varying amounts. It's funny how a few bad experiences in youth carry on throughout life - on some level I'm ashamed by this reaction. I wonder, perhaps, if proust is very good or very bad for this person to read - I also wonder if their reading level is such that they can't read silently for very long.
I came out here to do more programming for work, but as the door slams far too loudly again and the crazy guy drones on, I doubt that will happen. It appears likely that the frustrated smiles between me and the others unfortunate enough to be sitting nearby will be the most real social contact for today.
Recently I've been captivated by the wide political map in politics - trying to define the varying axes (or areas where a number of different frameworks for a topic exist, at least) used in defining a political identity, on the broad scale but more particularly the smaller, factional scale - the 2-sided divide in American politics is ridiculous, I think, masking many interesting differences. To some, it's a conflict of God's word and heathens, to some, urban versus rural values/education, to some the struggle between lassiez-faire, mixed, and socialist economics. Beyond positions, relative importance and degrees of societal focus differ - "Strong markets and weak democracy", "Strong democracy and weak markets", religious values with some nod to pluralism, etc. It would be an interesting task to take the permutations of positions on the key areas of difference, make a multidimensional grid, and name each faction, painting the bits together into something coherent and intelligent. It would be quite involved, particularly if one involves foreign policy...
Two recent articles led me to a nice web of interesting articles/posts:Despicable things can still, however, be interesting.