I remember when I first heard the comedian David Cross, I didn't really like him and was even put off. His style of humor is to be kind of angry and over-the-top about his beliefs. This isn't the sort of thing I normally like, even when it is someone I agree with, but when it is done for the sake of humor, if done well, I can find it enjoyable. When I first heard David Cross, I wasn't quite as liberal as I currently am. I don't think I agreed with his views enough to find his anger humorous instead of off putting. Now that I, by and large, agree with all his points, his hyperbolic approach comes across as funny.
Recently I read a review of Micheal Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" in the Daily Herald(The news paper of Utah County, which tends to be very conservative). The article said the movie was full of hate and anger. I had just seen the movie and this surprised me. Regardless of what one may thought of the movie or the politics behind it, saying it was angry or hateful struck me as being almost absurd. However, I suppose that if someone speaks against something you feel deeply about, it feels like an attack. And when we feel attacked we become over-sensitive and tend to see the person speaking as being more aggressive than they may actually be.
When we disagree with someone who voices their opinions strongly, they seem angry and unpleasant. When we agree with a person who voices their opinions strongly, they seem passionate and inspiring.
As well, this seems to apply to how arrogant, self-righteous or pretentious a person appears. (of course there are always exceptions, this is just a general principal)
People often claim to admire those who are passionate about their beliefs whatever those beliefs may be, but in practice this seems to not often be true. When a person claims to like someone on the opposite side of a belief spectrum, it is usually the person who is the least passionate, least intense, about said beliefs, and maybe even agrees with a handful of the oppositions points.(ex. Conservatives tend to be okay with Alan Colmes) In those instances, the person is seen as being reasonable. But if someone on their side of the belief system were to exhibit that same lack of passion about their beliefs, or agree with a few points of the opposing side, they are often seen as wishy-washy spineless or weak willed.
Not long ago I read something one of my friends wrote in reference to Richard Dawkins which surprised me. They (hi james) wrote "If I were an agnostic, watching Richard Dawkins in a theological debate would bring me to believe in God - if only because someone as goofy and pretentious as Dawkins must have been created by a sentient being with a sense of humor."
This surprised me because I had never thought of Richard Dawkins in that way. Now, I am not a big Richard Dawkins fan in terms of his theological issues, (not because I don't agree with him, rather, because I don't think he is that good at it. He is great at science writing, but amateurish at more philosophical issues.) However, I have never thought of him as being goofy and pretentious, and I suppose a good part of the reason is because I tend to agree with what he says. (Sam Harris on the other hand, I find him goofy and pretentious. His book "The End of Faith" makes me want to be a believer just because it is so bad). I can see, if Richard Dawkins were saying things I disagreed with, I might find him "goofy and pretentious". It seems we, unconsciously, perceive people we disagree with much differently, and much less fairly, than those we agree with.
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