Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What is Paintroller?

A paint roller is a device used for putting a lot of paint on something at one time. as opposed to a paintbrush, whose user can create nuanced, intricate images, a paintroller is typically used to spread one simple color of paint as far and as uniformly as possible.

History is written with a paintroller. People can only know so much about each bit and piece of history. Take George Washington: Wooden teeth, crossed the Delaware, couldn't tell a lie, chopped down a cherry tree, wife named Martha, first president of the U.S., on the quarter and dollar, obelisk shaped monument to him in Washington D.C., which is named after him, as is Washington state. The end.

Maybe a harder one, like Charles Darwin. He travelled on the Beagle, went to the Galapagos, studied finches, discovered evolution, and called it survival of the fittest. I know the last one's not true but it sounds true. That's how history works. If everything fits together and sounds good, it will become the truth as far as most people are concerned.

I heard so much about truthiness this year as if it had recently been invented by George Bush. As if most historical events weren't similarly manipulated. Well it's nothing new. Is it wrong? to be honest, I can't decide, but being that this blog is called Paintroller and dedicated to the above premise, I will say unequivocally that the fact that history is created for mass consumption by image makers is bad. And later if I say it's good that's true too.

So that's what Paintroller is. Big generalizations, with no caveats or warnings except the following: Everything I write here is a generalization. When I say "Americans are dumb", I mean that the majority of Americans are dumb. I am American and I know this to be true. The majority of everyone is dumb. Half the people on earth are below average intelligence, and a large portion of those above have dulled their senses and faculties into a stupor with sloppy thinking and intellectual laziness, so there you go, the majority of people are dumb. How many times have you heard someone counter an argument or statement with something like "Well that's a generalization, not all cats are hairy, what about . . ." Just remember that that, in itself, is not a rebuttal or answer, it's a request for clarification. And once clarification is given, the argument can continue, but seldom does, because the argument has been sidelined. So what I'm saying is, when I'm wrong, you're wrong for noticing.

Oh, and one rule: Don't comment on grammatical or spelling errors. The root of the word 'glamor' is 'grammar'. The reason? When education was first coming into vogue with the English aristocracy, the study of grammar or proper speech and writing was considered a mark of good breeding and education. Think about it, they weren't studying math and economics, they were studying musical instruments and poetry and rhetoric. Thus to have good grammar was glamorous or fashionable, and a reliable sign of intelligence when everyone's job was the intellect light 'landlord'. In this modern age, when education is essentially geared towards creating good workers for massive companies, that thin veneer of respectability that still remains associated with good education is most evident on the internet in people's obsession with spelling and especially grammar. People on the internet usually attack each other's spelling and punctuation as a way to say "I am more or better educated than you and my opinion matters". Well we're all friends here and I'll come out and say it now: if you went to an American public school, all the "its versus it's" talk in the world will not make you an intellectual, so just drop the spelling and punctuation bashing.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

The internet is a little more complete now that Mr. Mondello has made his entrance.

May I suggest writing "paintroller" as two words whenever you can. Every time I read it it looks like "Pain Troller". I don't think that's the image you're trying to project.

If you want to avoid spelling and grammar nazis you may want to write about things that don't interest my dear wife. She'll catch you every time.