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Everyone agrees that judging people solely on their race, creed, or religion makes you a bigot. I mean, that's the definition of being prejudiced, right? Seeing something about a person and judging before you truly know them. Prejudging. But more than being politically incorrect, prejudices are often unreliable. After all, ultra conservative McCarthyite Roy Cohn and ultra liberal hippie activist Abbie Hoffman were both Jews. Ultra uptight politician Alan Keyes and ultra laid bizzle rapper Snoop Dogg (Lion?) are both black. (Also, I don't really understand what "creed" means in the context of the first sentence, so I'll just skip over it without an example.)

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"Well, creed means-" Shut up, Scott Stapp.

But just because most prejudices are bad doesn't mean you have to give up being a bigot! There are still a whole bunch of ways to make assumptions about people and dismiss them out of hand without disrespecting their race, creed, or religion. Personally, I like to base my prejudices on other people's heroes. After all, whom people choose to admire at least tells you something about their beliefs. Also, there are certain celebrities and thought-leaders out there who attract followers seemingly hell-bent on being simplified, mischaracterized, and clustered. These fanboys and girls cling to the simplest aspects of their heroes' identities and beliefs. And to them I say: No. Go away. I'm not listening. Even though I barely know you, even if I don't have a problem with your hero, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a problem with you.

These are four celebrities whose fans I'm sure to avoid at parties and online. Fans who speak in cliches I've already heard or new phrases I can anticipate. Fans whose knee-jerk worship, although passionate, sells their heroes short and makes themselves insufferable.

4
Richard Dawkins

Sorry to disappoint the most rabid commenters of the Net, but the point of this entry is not to engage in a discourse on the existence of God or the sins of organized religion. I've said my piece about that on Cracked before. I'm not even here to take potshots at Richard Dawkins. For those not aware of his work, Richard Dawkins is a former Oxford professor and evolutionary biologist. He is perhaps best known as a spokesman for atheism and his book The God Delusion.

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And for looking unspeakably British.

But Whatever Nice Things You Have to Say About Richard Dawkins, It's OK to Dismiss Most of His Fans Because ...

They simplify his rhetoric to the point of uselessness.

It's true, I find most of Dawkins' thoughts to be more appropriate as a rebuke of man's corrupt practices in organized religion than anything insightful into the possibility of a higher power, but my thoughts on Dawkins personally are not the issue. Undeniably, Dawkins is a highly educated, eloquent, accomplished man with an extensive body of work. But for so many of his knee-jerk atheist fans, he's been reduced to bite-size catchphrases.

Just because he coined the phrase "meme" doesn't mean he should have become one. A scholar's thoughts on concepts like the existence of a higher power and/or man's attempts to pervert the need for such a power into corrupt institutions do not adapt well to Facebook postings. At this point, he is the go-to guy for when the least articulate atheists want to sound smart. He's been reduced to Prof. Spaghetti Monster, Ph.D.

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Personally, I couldn't even begin to understand what the use of "religion" means here. Whether it's Bertrand Russell, Penn Jillette, Ricky Gervais, or Dawkins, these indictments of "religion" in general from super white renounced Christians sound very much like specific rebukes of certain forms of Christianity. Not all of the world's religions are adversaries to science, and the fact that Dawkins' website was hacked last week proves that some people who find him offensive actually embrace technology and know how to use computers. But the accuracy of Dawkins' beliefs aside, this kind of useless semantic debate is obviously going to ensue when you reduce complex work to sound bites.

To Dawkins' Worst Fans, I Say ...

Personally, I don't care whether you believe in God or not. I change my mind on the subject daily. I don't care if you can quote The God Delusion cover to cover as if it were some holy book (although odds are that if you like name-dropping Dawkins every two seconds, you probably haven't even read it). Just do me one favor. If you do quote Dawkins, don't drop the mic and leave the stage like nothing more needs to be said, as if the possibility of the divine -- of some form of something beyond our limited conception -- has been obliterated because a highly educated Englishman has constructed something eloquent, reducing all faith to ignorance and fear. Bertrand Russell did that quite well a century before Dawkins, and millions of believers remain. Some of them have actually read Russell and Dawkins and still think there is much to consider and debate because, after all, we're only talking about a simple thing like the meaning of creation and existence.

3
KISS

In the world of pop and rock, KISS may not be incredibly accomplished musicians like the guys in Led Zeppelin or Soundgarden. They may not have talented lyricists like Bob Dylan or Roger Waters. Their songwriting will never be hailed like Lennon/McCartney's or Elvis Costello's. And even with all that makeup, they were not the first to bring theatrics to rock like David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and the New York Dolls. Hell, I could write a whole book about all the things KISS are not, but they are important and they are successful and they deserve all that success.

KISS's greatest accomplishments are their bravado and audacity. Ask any musician and they'll tell you: No one in KISS can play for shit except for Ace Frehley. Vocally, they're mediocre at best, and when it comes to clever wordplay, well, my good friend with the unpronounceable name Cyriaque Lamar already explained some of Paul Stanley's brilliant intro banter to that classic song of metaphorical boning, "Love Gun" (spoiler alert -- "Uzi of ooze").

But KISS does deserve praise for the sheer audacity of being KISS. They were unapologetic. They found value in four chords, distortion, and screaming. They decided that if they acted like the biggest, baddest band of all time, they would become one. How brazen were KISS? Consider this: In a band of four members incapable of generating an album's worth of decent material, each member recorded and released a solo album simultaneously.


If your parents have any of these in their collection, you were likely conceived in a van outside of Detroit.

And guess what? Those solo albums flopped. And who cares? Nothing stops KISS, their wild success, or their dedication to putting on big badass shows for their fans. And nothing should.

But Whatever Nice Things You Have to Say About KISS, It's OK to Dismiss Most of Their Fans Because ...

They're not appreciating KISS ironically. KISS is a band best admired for their audacity. They're a guilty pleasure, like putting Nutella on pizza, so indulgent and absurd that you have to drool, eat it, and then move on to food that won't kill you. But most KISS fans think they really are part of the KISS Army. That such an army exists, and that it exists because KISS is the greatest band in the world. Talking to a genuine KISS fan about rock is like talking to a genuine KISS fan about nuclear physics: They have no capacity for such a conversation.

To KISS's Worst Fans, I Say ...

Yeah, yeah, we get it. Rock n' Roll all day and party every night. Woot. They're fun, sure. Take it down a notch.

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2
Quentin Tarantino

There's no denying Quentin Tarantino's talent or success. It doesn't matter how incapable he is of tying a tie or not making all of us uncomfortable with the words that come out of his face when he speaks. He is an important and successful filmmaker.

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There is the "windsor," the "half windsor," and the "four in hand," and then there is the "screw your tie, I'm badass."

At a very boring time in American cinema, Tarantino exploded, pushing the boundaries of what a film could do. His film style can be summed up best by Bruce Willis' choice of weapon in Pulp Fiction. Why take a hammer when you can take a bat? Why take a bat when you can take a samurai sword! But even though he comes off this way in every interview, Tarantino can't be all tits and explosions. If he were, he never could have crafted the opening scene to Inglourious Basterds. No, not the Jew Bear shit. He could have written that in his sleep, or at least while doing giggly bong hits with Eli Roth. I'm talking about the Nazi, Hans Landa, politely interrogating the good-hearted French farmer who's hiding a Jewish family. This scene contains so much about the nature of evil, the difficulty of following a righteous path, and the vulnerability of compassion. That one scene is hands down the most masterful piece of Holocaust-inspired art in Western civilization, and it's from the same guy who wrote the immortal response to Steve Buscemi's question, "Why am I Mr. Pink?"


But Whatever Nice Things You Have to Say About Quentin Tarantino, It's OK to Dismiss Most of His Fans Because ...

"Fucking A! Did you see that fucking shit where the dude fucked that guy's shit up and shit!? Holy shit, like the one dude is all BAM and then she's like, yeah, I don't think so POW!" Oh sorry, that was just an outtake from any conversation with anyone who calls himself a Quentin Tarantino fanatic. I guess all I'm saying is that often his biggest, most vocal fans are the first ones to sell him short, to talk about him like some one-trick pony who is great simply because of his level of ballsy badassery.

To Tarantino's Worst Fans, I Say ...

Yes, he sure is awesome and ballsy. He has some other talents, too. Check it out, or, y'know, just please stop talking to me.

1
Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow is a liberal-leaning talking head for MSNBC. Being somewhat liberal-minded on social and constitutional issues myself, I'd have to say that I probably agree with 85 percent of the rhetoric that comes out of Maddow's mouth. Having said that, I cannot stand hearing Rachel Maddow speak. She is a living cartoon of how Republicans like to portray Democrats.

When the right denigrates the left and tries to explain to middle America why Democrats can't be trusted, they paint us as a bunch of arrogant East Coast homosexuals completely out of touch with everyday Americans. Basically, their caricatures of Democrats look a lot like this:

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"Hi, let me take your guns and give your children free access to porn!"

Yes, only homophobes and morons would take issue with a pundit's sexual orientation. That's not the issue at all. (At all. I'm serious. At all. Shut up.) But everyone can be rightly put off by Maddow's habit of punctuating her elitist, sanctimonious, long-winded rants with smug eye-rolling and crooked smiles.

In a world of extreme right-wing talking heads, we probably need Maddows, and although everything about her style is maddening, I'm at least glad there's a counterbalance to the extreme right's chicanery. She is the mirror image of human garbage neo-conservative Ann Coulter. Unfortunately, changing the message of extremist punditry garbage doesn't get rid of the smell.

But Whatever Nice Things You Have to Say About Rachel Maddow, It's OK to Dismiss Most of Her Fans Because ...

They don't sweat the details, and they are all about the fight. Democrats loved to go on and on about what an intellectual lightweight George W. Bush was and how so much of his support was from a bunch of born-again nimrods who cared more about electing the man who looked most like a cowboy. We did that because it was completely true. Having said that, you would have to be foolish to believe that there aren't an equally clueless bunch of voters in the Democratic Party supporting Barack Obama for all the wrong reasons. Both parties are irreparably tainted. In 2013, neither side has the right to claim the intellectual or moral high ground.

People who routinely claim higher moral or intellectual ground strictly among party lines are either liars or fools. So I might agree with a lot of the positions of Maddow and her fans, but their desire to trade extreme left hooks in return for massive right undercuts keeps them in a constant state of battle.

To Maddow's Worst Fans, I Say ...

Yes, Maddow's a wise woman fighting the good fight against partisan hacks on the other side. But as you cheer and champion her takedowns of silly Republican boobs, maybe go somewhere besides MSNBC to places that take a more critical eye of civil rights abuses, not just to gays and women, but to all Americans. Things like our current administration's stance on NDAA and drone strikes that go to the heart of everyone's civil liberties. A stance that most of the Democratic and Republican parties seem in harmony about.

The right screws the left. The left rolls its eyes and shakes its head at the screwing it's getting while castigating the right mightily. And The Man, who is not Democrat or Republican, straight or gay, male or female, atheist or believer, is content at the bickering that keeps everyone busy and blind.



Come see Gladstone film a live new episode of HATE BY NUMBERS at the Calgary Expo on April 26. Also, be sure to follow Gladstone on Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website and Tumblr, too.

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