James M. Flammang, author of more than two dozen
books (including six for children), is at work on
several more, including the title described below.
A veteran automotive journalist, Flammang concentrates
on the "big picture," whether he's writing about cars,
consumer issues, simpler living, or any other topic.
During 2013, Flammang is expanding his efforts into
the areas of work/labor, consumer concerns, and travel.
All around us are absurdities. They're so pervasive, so popular, so powerful that we hardly notice them anymore. Instead, we simply take absurd statements and behavior for granted, seldom giving any of them even a passing thought.
Politically and socially, spiritually and economically, the absurdities take diverse and insidious forms. By accepting so many of them at face value, we're losing our grasp on the realities of the world.
Of course, one person's absurdity may be another's basic, irrefutable principle. To liberals, for instance, the Republican Congress in the wake of President Obama's 2008 victory transcended the limits of absurdity, in their dead-fast opposition to everything attempted by the Administration. To ardent conservatives, that opposition wasn't nearly forceful enough. But then, that in itself demonstrates the absurdity of national politics at this point in history. Many of us agree that we're surrounded by blatant stupidity and outright ignorance, yet we point fingers at one side or the other as the sole perpetrators of those characteristics.
Most of the essays are not aligned with one political faction or another, or with any partisan cause–though our progressive leaning does shine through at times. Rather, they scrutinize a variety of facets of daily life, attempting to extract the nonsense that goes unnoticed from the reasonable principles that should be our sole focus.
Logic and reason might not explain everything in the world, but they provide a valuable start to developing sensible opinions about what's right, what's wrong, and what can (or should) be done. Many of the absurdities that we dissect are based on myth, rumor, innuendo, or unfounded allegations, resulting from poor education, basic ignorance, obstinacy, or prejudice. That's quite a long list of "reasons" why so many of us take the path of believing absurdities rather than letting ourselves think clearly and sanely. So ingrained into popular thought are some of these themes that comparatively few of us bother to question whether they possess even a shred of validity.
We all have our lists of what's absurd and what makes good sense. Yours would doubtless differ. Certainly, many are molded by our basic political beliefs, our particular moral values, our upbringing, our level of wealth and affluence, and our position in society.
These essays surely aren't meant to convince anyone to change his or her elemental views of the world. Rather, they're intended as triggers, as stimulants, toward looking at the world around us in a different way. Perhaps we can discern a new approach that will make a lot more sense, if we can get past the "conventional wisdom" that compels us to channel our thoughts and opinions into a predesigned funnel of dubious–if not delusional–knowledge.
For the most part, we've focused on topics that reach beyond mere opinion, which could go either way in the estimation of thoughtful persons. Instead, we've sought to reach more deeply into the realm of the absurd, taking aim at things we take for granted–that many of us just "know" to be true despite utter lack of evidence and a firm foundation.
Please see the Topic Outline and a brief excerpt from Absurdities:
Excerpt from Section I (Identity) of Absurdities: Heroism–Courage vs. cowardice
Excerpt from Section III (Work) of Absurdities: Myth of a job for everyone
Excerpt from Section III (Work) of Absurdities: Reject!
Excerpt from Section III (Work) of Absurdities: Needed now: Jobs, not careers
Publishers: For further information on availability of Absurdities and all other book projects from James M. Flammang, editor of Tirekicking Today (www.tirekick.com), please e-mail us at JF@tirekick.com.