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I am sick of it… Brassed off. Fed up. If it doesn’t stop I’m going to become a recluse. I’ll just cycle off into the distance on an endless solo ride…

Everywhere you look, up, down, sideways, frontwards, backwards – people keep telling me what to like and what is best. They tell me what is hot and what’s not. They tell me how stuff should be done and how my approach is always wrong. Let’s face it. Everyone is their own little island of perfect advice. Every single human being is a big bundle of prejudices wrapped up in the veneer of their own delusions of good taste and omniscience. Most people spend their entire lives searching, seeking, exploring, digging and hoping for validation; any validation will do. Which is why you find like-minded folk clubbing together like castaways clinging together as their boat goes down.

In music the critics -and everyone is a critic- tell us what’s good and what’s not. If you only ever chose what the critics might recommend, you’d end up with a collection of Top 10 McSwill. See! I am being a critic now… my game is to seek out stuff that people generally reject and reject the stuff they don’t. That way I can enjoy my sense of cultural victimisation as a perpetual masochist pain!

Let’s enter the shallow end of this mirky opinionated pool. Take musical choice for a start. Let’s pick a critically dammed musical recording of note. The Stone Roses’ second album, Second Coming, is a good start. Consider this glowing review: ‘this is a turgid, interminably boring record…’ I love every second, so there! We ‘Classical Music’ buffs are not supposed to rate Respighi above Verdi. I do. So there! Take that! We are supposed to admire Schoenberg. Nuts. Mozart was a god. Not in my book. Give me Bach any time… And why can’t I give equal time and value to the works of Devin Townsend and Mendelsson? Have you ever heard Townsend’s Accelerated Evolution album? Play it loud. Ride to that and you would win any cycling race – or crash. Wow!!

Then there’s my choice of cycling teams. The cognoscenti is all for Team Sky. Or Radio Shack. Or whatever and which ever except the one I go for: Caisse D’Epargne. Everyone is an informed critic on the best team and the best rider. It’s all part of the fun. But is there anyone else out there who cheers for Louis Leon Sanchez other than those from his local town?

Choice of bike? Choice of component group? Stand back and watch the rival camps scream. One man’s choice is heresy to at least some.

Choice of a favourite author? Watch the learned critical pontificators connect your choice with Mills and Boone…

Because there are so many opinions out there, it will usually be possible to find someone else with whom you agree. So seek them out and quote their support; soon you will have a cult or a quorum of support to validate your choice. The internet is helpful here. Search for your choice, qualify it with the keyword ‘great’ and populate your club. Replace that keyword with ‘bad’ and pile up the evidence against whatever it is with which you might disagree.

All this gets really fun when your choice has some foundation in an ethical or value position. There you will find choices that simply cannot be argued for want of social exclusion; or jail. Consider religion! Islam, Christianity or Judaism. Only one can be true. Which one? Prepare to burn when you choose against the choice of your mates or what’s standard for your culture. Open up any of these Big Three and watch the fun. Sunni or Shiite? Catholic or Presbyterian. Orthodox or Reformed Judaism. Take a choice and man the barricades. They are all cess-pit contagions of self-referentialised prejudice. And don’t even get me started on the new religion of Atheism as ruled by Saints Dawkins and Hitchens et. al. They are as bigoted and ego-driven as all the rest. That’s why I pump for Tarvu (the world’s greatest comic relief). Or the book of Urantia. No one can argue against you when your choice is off the scale. Except to say that you are mad. Or deluded. But free of those infernal mainstream clans…

Politics is almost as bad – or probably worse if you happen to live in a country ruled by the Taliban…

So… given that I am (perceived to be) wrong in everyone else’s (clearly deluded) eyes and everyone else is wrong in mine… here’s my own personal universal proclamation of good taste and informed choice. If you don’t agree, you are wrong and un-informed. If you agree, you are indeed an elevated being! There’s just one catch. Because my choices are informed by a perversity to think the opposite of everyone else, no one else is allowed to agree. If you agree, then I must be wrong. Which means that I have to think upon this all over again. Which explains why I really, truly, enjoy my solo bicycle rides – arguing with myself all the way…

So, here’s my list:

World’s greatest bicycle maker: Pinarello
World’s greatest bicycle component group: Campagnolo
World’s greatest cyclist: Louis Leon Sanchez
World’s greatest cycling team: Caisse D’Epargne
World’s greatest composer: Gustav Mahler
World’s greatest artist: Goya
World’s greatest contemporary band: Green Carnation
World’s greatest bicycle ride: my next ride!
World’s greatest country: Antarctica (no people with whom to disagree)
World’s greatest politician: the Dalai Lama
World’s greatest religion: the Cargo Cult
World’s greatest leader: His Majesty King Khesar, The 5th Druk Gyalpo of Bhutan
World’s greatest work of fiction: Dianetics by L Ron Hubbard
World’s greatest work of non fiction: Dianetics by L Ron Hubbard
World’s greatest ever computer: the Macintosh Portable
World’s greatest bicycle race: Paris Roubaix
World’s greatest corporation: Apple Inc.
World’s greatest genius: L Ron Hubbard (I mean, he got away with it!!)
World’s greatest idiots: those who follow L Ron Hubbard (or any other religion…)
World’s greatest tourist destination: Consuegra (where Don Quixote exercised his lance)
World’s greatest moron: equal honours for Robert Mugabe and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
World’s greatest scientist: The Dalai Lama
World’s greatest economist: former King Jigme SIngye Wangchuck for the idea of Gross National Happiness
World’s greatest idea: J M Keynes for ‘In the Long Run, we are all dead’
World’s greatest stupidity: football
World’s greatest con job: golf
World’s greatest perversion: religion
World’s greatest problem: human ego
World’s greatest joke: the game of cricket
World’s greatest mistake: listening to academics
World’s greatest evil: the Chinese economy
World’s greatest stupidity: buying Chinese goods
World’s greatest movement: misanthropy!
World’s greatest peril: human overpopulation
World’s greatest delusion: the concept of sustainable economic development
World’s greatest dangerous idea: economic rationalism
World’s greatest saving grace: cycling, bicyclism!
World’s greatest fable: altruism and selflessness
World’s greatest movie of all time: 2001 – A Space Odyssey
World’s greatest and rarest phenomenon: critical thinking (on anything at all…)
World’s greatest proof that critical thinking is rare: dependency on the car and the re-election of George Bush for his second term
World’s greatest website: click here


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