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Urban Myths


Neon Genesis
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In my English class, our textbook had us write an essay on this letter that it claimed was written by Chief Seattle even though it actually wasn't right after it told us to use reliable sources when writing a paper. Our English professor also claimed Native Americans were matriarchal societies even though those are also just urban myths and as far as I'm aware, matriarchal societies have never actually existed. Last week the professor claimed that Edgar Allen Poe and Lewis Caroll wrote their writings while high on drugs and that Walt Disney was anti-Semitic. Pretty much everyone in class believed Disney has secret subliminal sex messages in their movies and one girl claimed all spiders were poisonous and our professor also believes Obama is an evil socialist. The whole time I'm going insane inside and thinking "Snopes.com, people!" I'm especially disappointed because this professor is the first agnostic I've ever met in person but he's completely lacking in critical thinking skills and I hope the rest of southern non-believers have better critical thinking skills than him. I can understand why people believe in religion, but why do people buy into blatantly obvious urban myths that you can easily find out if they're true by doing a quick Google search and applying some critical thinking? I'd rather have a drink with a skeptical Christian than a gullible infidel that buys into all these urban myths. Because if there's one thing I can't stand more than creationism, it's blatantly false urban myths that people keep spreading even after they're already been proven false for some weird reason.

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Last week the professor claimed that Edgar Allen Poe and Lewis Caroll wrote their writings while high on drugs and that Walt Disney was anti-Semitic.

 

I am sorry to hear that your professor buys into all these myths. I don't know about Lewis Caroll and Disney, but I have read several books on the life of Poe and that is certainly a lie. Poe did drink, but not while he was writing. Its impossible to write well or do much of anything well while high on drugs. Instead, Poe's reputation was trashed shortly after his death by a jealous person by the name of Griswold.

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I have no idea how much opium it takes to "do" anything but I'd be amazed if Poe and Carroll didn't regularly come into contact with the stuff as part of any medication they have have taken (for headaches or whatnot). Perhaps the amounts they may have taken that way, combined with the alcohol, may have have unintended side-effects? It happens with prescriptions meds today. The wrong combination (especially alcohol) and hallucinations often result.

 

No need to actually be a "junkie" to be a "drug user." I can only imagine what might happen if at some future date they outlaw, say, Prozac (okay, maybe something stronger...but it's a simple example) and then look back and accuse current authors of being "drug users" and their fans try to defend them and absolve them. If these guys took opium as part of their meds they weren't doing anything wrong. They weren't hanging out in opium dens all day. The only thing they may have done was compounded their problems by drinking (which I don't think they understood the issues of combining "drugs" that way).

 

mwc

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Not exactly on topic, but it was thinking about urban myths that helped in my deconversion. If we will believe all this crap now, no wonder people in the past believed all the religious bs.

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In my English class, our textbook had us write an essay on this letter that it claimed was written by Chief Seattle even though it actually wasn't right after it told us to use reliable sources when writing a paper. Our English professor also claimed Native Americans were matriarchal societies even though those are also just urban myths and as far as I'm aware, matriarchal societies have never actually existed. Last week the professor claimed that Edgar Allen Poe and Lewis Caroll wrote their writings while high on drugs and that Walt Disney was anti-Semitic. Pretty much everyone in class believed Disney has secret subliminal sex messages in their movies and one girl claimed all spiders were poisonous and our professor also believes Obama is an evil socialist. The whole time I'm going insane inside and thinking "Snopes.com, people!" I'm especially disappointed because this professor is the first agnostic I've ever met in person but he's completely lacking in critical thinking skills and I hope the rest of southern non-believers have better critical thinking skills than him. I can understand why people believe in religion, but why do people buy into blatantly obvious urban myths that you can easily find out if they're true by doing a quick Google search and applying some critical thinking? I'd rather have a drink with a skeptical Christian than a gullible infidel that buys into all these urban myths. Because if there's one thing I can't stand more than creationism, it's blatantly false urban myths that people keep spreading even after they're already been proven false for some weird reason.

 

The Cherokee could be argued that they were matriarchal but they were more egalitarian. There is a society in China that is truly matriarchal since women run everything in the family and religion (they can't control government since they are a part of China). As one can tell (v v v) I have strong sentiments when it comes to Poe. He was not a drunkard nor drug addled; he did get drunk on a few occasions but only at times when people seek out drink (despair). Poe would go long periods of time abstaining from alcohol, and may have even had an allergy to alcohol which pretty much made him a quick drunk--and cheap--drunk. (Just to throw this out there for fun, Poe had an allergy to strong perfume.)

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I have strong sentiments when it comes to Poe. He was not a drunkard nor drug addled; he did get drunk on a few occasions but only at times when people seek out drink (despair). Poe would go long periods of time abstaining from alcohol, and may have even had an allergy to alcohol which pretty much made him a quick drunk--and cheap--drunk. (Just to throw this out there for fun, Poe had an allergy to strong perfume.)

 

Exactly right, Ophelia.

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Yeah, there are some matriarchal societies out there. They're relatively few, far between, and often isolated or extinct. I remember a National Geographic show several years ago about a particular tribe in Africa that was entirely matriarchal. It happens.

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Actually, all spiders are venomous, but in most species, the venom is so weak as to be not only not dangerous to humans, but hardly noticeable if we're bitten. I think that's where most people who think as your classmate does make their mistake: They hear or read, "venomous," and immediately jump to, "lethal." As you pointed out, no critical thinking skills.

 

Also, like spiders, all species of Obamas are socialist, but most are not noticeably socialist to humans.

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Disney's membership in The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals is probably the source of the "Disney was an anti-Semite" rumor:

 

"That's one of the questions everybody asks me," Gabler said, " 'Was he an anti-Semite?' That's out there. My answer to that is, not in the conventional sense that we think of someone as being an anti-Semite. But he got the reputation because, in the 1940s, he got himself allied with a group called The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, which was an anti-Communist and anti-Semitic organization. And though Walt himself, in my estimation, was not anti-Semitic, nevertheless, he willingly allied himself with people who were anti-Semitic, and that reputation stuck. He was never really able to expunge it throughout his life."

 

Source

 

As for Poe, he was rumored to dabble in absinthe, and some people think he may have been bipolar. Lewis Carrol certainly used some odd imagery with the hookah-smoking caterpillar on a toadstool in Wonderland, which is enhanced by the fact that the illustrator for the book used an Amanita Muscaria for the toadstool. I've also read that Carroll (Dodgson) used to hang out with Baudelaire in Paris at the time when Baudelaire was dabbling in hashish and opium, but I can't find any online substantiation for that rumor.

 

I do know that neither Carroll nor Poe wrote while stoned. The writings of stoned people are worthless drivel. Baudelaire wrote some stuff about the Assassins Club while he was stoned, and it's mostly rambling drek.

 

On the other hand, the rumors about tinfoil stopping the alien mind-rays from penetrating your skull are all true. What's not as well known is that you have to slather your head with mayonnaise before applying the tinfoil, or it won't work.

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I do know that neither Carroll nor Poe wrote while stoned. The writings of stoned people are worthless drivel. Baudelaire wrote some stuff about the Assassins Club while he was stoned, and it's mostly rambling drek.

For most of my life, I could not distinguish Lewis Carrol from C.S. Lewis. I kept trying to find Christian imagery in Alice in Wonderland.

 

Maybe that's why I deconverted.

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There have been matriarchal societies, just not a lot of them and more in the past. I can think of a few examples off the top of my head but not the names of the societies though...

 

Maybe you could print out pages from snopes or other sites debunking his claims and leave them around the classrrom when no ones there. Or at least on his desk.

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How old is your Prof?

 

I think that it is a generational thing. It seems that an age group, the over 50 crowd perhaps, must think there is an internet/email editor-at-large. My wife works for a Psychiatrist who is a very educated woman. She is 70+ and honestly believes everything that comes in her in-box.

 

Whenever I get some urban legend forwarded to me I always send them this:

 

http://netsquirrel.com/combatkit/

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Actually, all spiders are venomous, but in most species, the venom is so weak as to be not only not dangerous to humans, but hardly noticeable if we're bitten. I think that's where most people who think as your classmate does make their mistake: They hear or read, "venomous," and immediately jump to, "lethal." As you pointed out, no critical thinking skills.

 

All spiders have to be venomous in order to be effective hunters, but there is only a few in North America that one has to be weary of (black widows, yellow sacs, hobos, and brown recluses). I am willing to handle any strange spider as long as they don't have the characteristics of those aforementioned. A woman asked me if I were insane because I was picking up a spider to take it outside (this was right outside of my school's biology lab), and I just laughed and said yeah.

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