Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Incendiary

I have a very unfortunate personality trait, and those who know me well know that this is true: I am a dedicated contrarian. If the herd goes one direction, even sensibly outrunning a storm or heading toward nourishment, I go the other direction. If I hear of any sort of wisdom held by more than three other people, I will argue with it.

This has, over the years, not stood me in good stead. More often than not I am hoist by my own petard as a result. When my oldest friend, she of impeccable taste, tried to introduce me first to "Brideshead Revisited" and then to David Bowie, I waved a haughty hand at her. Then found myself sneaking a peak at the page, a listen to the song, and head-over-heels obsessed. How could I have argued against Waugh and Bowie? It's unthinkable. But argue I did. In later years, I have willfully ignored and disdained, and then "discovered," The White Stripes, Kitchen-Aid Mixers, french press coffee, ipods, libertarianism, "Velvet Goldmine," parenthood, Patrick O'Brian, the color pink, treadmills, and organic chicken.

During this past presidential election, I couldn't even think straight. I have no idea to this day whether or not I like Barack Obama, because I chafed so strongly at the bit of my rampantly pro-Obama milieu.

If you think it's ridiculous, I'll champion it. If you champion it, I'll question it.

A nice person would call me an iconoclast, spirited, fiery. A more truthful person might call me argumentative, mulish.

...I exaggerate but only a little...

47 comments:

Cece said...

AWWW don't worry about what people label you as, they are just that....Labels. I once had a phycotic bitch accuse me of being a narcisistic bitch not so long ago. I find that mildly humorous now. We are who we are, and as far as I can tell, I wouldn't change a thing about you. And most likely, I wouldn't be able to if I tried.

kylie said...

ah yes, i am famously argumentative!

The Idle Devil said...

I can identify with that...although to an extent. "If I hear of any sort of wisdom held by more than three other people, I will argue with it." I do that a lot!!

When you talk about arguing against a popular recommendation and then finding its charm when discovering it on your own, you're very like my sister. We avoid strongly recommending anything to her; she resists a lot and then if she discovers it and likes it, then she's on our side!

Brian Miller said...

where would we be without you and others like you. still following the herd somewhere, not questioning. questions are good. happy TT.

Jimmy Bastard said...

I've always been a rogue buffalo, refusing to follow any herd.
The thought of going through life nodding my head in time with the others, just to fit in does not appeal to me at all.

Contrary is good.. it shows we are still alive and kicking!

You're right... parenthood and organic chicken are both fantastic experiences not to be missed.

CSI Seattle said...

I disagree with everything you said.

MJ said...

I refuse to have my petard hoisted.

It's perfect as it is.

Megan said...

I don't call it mulishness. I call it bravery. And I don't have it...

Ronda Laveen said...

But I LIKE mules! Especially with mustard.

nick said...

Oh, do I understand you, I'm exactly like that. I question any conventional wisdom instantly and tell myself it can't possibly be the whole truth. And sometimes like you I end up totally converted (the internet, extra-virgin olive oil etc etc). I can find myself way out on a limb and not caring a damn because I just know I've thought it through and they haven't....

But hey, how shallow life would be if there weren't awkward buggers like us questioning everything that moves.

California Girl said...

Hahahahahaha! I can be like that myself. Good one.

Emerson Marks said...

Dunno about that, Leah. I'll do anything for a quiet life. Anything.

Karen ^..^ said...

I love kitchenaid mixers. I'm plowing through ebay and craig's list EVERY DAY looking for a good used one. I MUST HAVE ONE.

I hate my stupid little ten dollar hand mixer that still leaves lumps in the mashed potatoes. HATE IT.

David Bowie rocks my socks. Speaking of socks, I have to get you my new address, so they don't get lost in the mail. I never did put in a change of address. LOL. I'm bad about stuff like that.

Karen ^..^ said...

Oh, and Leah? I love you exactly the way you are.

You are awesome, and don't ever think differently, you contrary little thing, you.

A.Decker said...

Wow. Cool photo.
My wife is the same way, and it's one of the things I can't help but admire about her. I say "can't help" because sometimes it's ...well, let me put it this way: when it works in my favor, I think of it as 'strong-mindedness'. Admirable. When I want her to do what she's balking against, it's just being 'hard-headed'. Stubborn. Contrary.
Either way, I get the incendiary angle.

Candie Bracci said...

And again,we have a lot in common..lol.So I champion it so question me,lol.You know the post from yesterday you understood,I understand that post of yours from today.Does it make sense,lol?

Have a great weekend :)

reyjr said...

i would call you impossible, but at least you're honest about it. haha!

Poetikat said...

Anyone who writes a post that inclued both Waugh AND Bowie is fine in my books. Dee-lite-ful!

Kat

savannah said...

personally, i think it's a very pragmatic trait, sugar, never to assume the validity of popular wisdom/thought without some personal investigation. ;) xoxoxo

Wings said...

Well, then if you inclination is to automatically disagree with me, I say "I hate your post"!

heh

Tom said...

so you're not a yes man...that's cool...better than being a sycophant...Also David Bowie=Awesome!

Madame DeFarge said...

I just refuse to believe anyone's publicity. I rarely believe that anyone is as good as people say they are and I loathe charismatic people on principle. I fully understand your 'contrariness'. It seems perfectly sensible to me. I don't even believe in my own publicity. Even I'm not that good....

Mr. Shife said...

I think you are awesome.

Leah said...

Cece--I won't worry! Anyway, I fully embrace the label.

"...and most likely, I wouldn't be able to if I tried," LOL

Kylie--Okay, so let's both embrace our argumentative side!

Idle Devil--That's so funny! I do think people who know me well tend to put the caveat on any recommendation they give me: "I swear, you really will like such and such!"

Brian--thanks and happy TT to you too!

Leah said...

Jimmy--see, I knew it, I just knew that I recognized a fellow contrarian!!!

CSI--you're just wrong! ; )

MJ--Your petard is lovely.

Megan--bravery! Now that is flattering. Thank you!

Ronda--mules with mustard? yum?

Nick!--thanks for the comment. I should have added the interwebs and extra-virgin olive oil to my list, too! Seriously! I do think of myself as an "awkward bugger," that is so right on target I laughed.

California Girl--see, we're in good company!

Baino said...

Hahaha you're not a Libran by any chance? I used to be so argumentative just for the crack but not any more. I'm pretty good at weighing up the pros and cons.I guess the bottom line is you are convinced or accepting eventually, just in your own time. That's a good thing.

Leah said...

Emerson--so would my husband, alas for him--

Karen--Kitchen-Aid Mixers are the bomb. The absolute last word in fantastic. I got one two years ago from Sarge, for my birthday, and I cannot tell you how often I use it. They are so well-designed, a cinch to clean up.

David Bowie is my all-time, hands-down fave. Everything up until Let's Dance, that is. I don't think I've really heard his later albums. My fave album...it's a toss-up between Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Dogs, and Hunky Dory.

The socks are almost done! email me when you get a chance.

A. Decker--haha! I just showed that comment to my husband. He concurs, heartily.

Candie--we do have a sort of common outlook, don't we! That's cool.

reyjr--I really am impossible. But I like your spin!

Leah said...

Poetikat--a fellow Waugh-and-Bowie devotee? Awesome. Somehow, some way, they seem to fit together.

savannah--well, when you put it like that, it does seem quite practical. Thanks doll!

Wings--LOLol! Okay, I deserved that one! ; )

Tom--yes, I really do wish at all costs to avoid the yes-man sycophant characterization. I'll go to great lengths to do so! And, another Bowie fan! Whoo-hoo!

Mme. DeF.--me too. I agree that charismatic people, and all else the planet has to offer, are suspect on principle...

Mr. Shife--Thank you dear Shife! Happy to see you're holding up, and even enjoying the little wee one! hugs to wife and babe!

Baino--A Capricorn, worse yet.

You know, it's true, arguing can be such fun. But I do try to weigh pros and cons...eventually...

Sandra Leigh said...

I find all your reactions perfectly understandable, with one exception - the French press. What's not to like about a French press? Sheesh. (Fun post).

Suzanne said...

I love you.

BEAST said...

Oh lord , you just described me perfectly .
It can be so annoying as I know I am doing it and I don't know why .
I think it has something to do with being a middle child , the only way to get attention during childhood was to be arguementative :-(

Eleanor said...

Hello fellow contrary Capricorn. Where have you been all my life? :) I thought it about time that I got over here and started to follow your blog properly. A fine one it is, too. I had to quit reading through your older posts as I was getting neck strain from nodding my head in agreement with so many of your thoughts.

Brideshead totally rocks. I mean, majorly totally. As does Bowie. By the way, with whom did your sympathies lie in Brideshead? My daughter is all about Sebastian, while I relate to Charles. And Cordelia, in the charmingly awkard sense.;)

savannah said...

YOU'RE A CAPRICORN????? ok, so why am i not surprised! ;) xoxox

(we are soooooooo related, we must be kin, i'm sure, darlin!)

Leah said...

Sandra Leigh--french press coffee is irresistible, strong, and delightful. I had but to taste a cup to be converted. See? hoist by my own petard!

Suzy--mwah! and a hug--

Beast--yes, I agree, the worst of it is when I'm fully aware of being contrary, and sometimes I don't want to be, but can't stop myself! It's like being contrary to yourself...

Leah said...

Eleanor--welcome my dear! Glad to hear we're copacetic!

Interesting question about "Brideshead." I think when I was younger, I related to Charles Ryder very much. His narrator's voice is so powerful--and actually, I think they did a great job by casting Jeremy Irons in the BBC production--he's so mournful and thoughtful. The funny thing is, as I get older, I find myself much more in sympathy with Sebastian. One would really think it would be the other way around. I love Cordelia too. She was the only sensible one, in some ways...

savannah--soul sister!

Old Knudsen said...

Brideshead Revisited? um ghey! and not in the talented Bowie ghey way.

I have been called an Iconoclast and after I looked it up I felt pretty good about meself.

Leah said...

Old K!--well, no question that Charles and Sebastian were getting it on and not in the donning a smoking jacket way--

And you are most certainly an iconoclast. Wear it with pride!

Cece said...

Go to the Onion.

books,coffee,etc.... said...

Hi! Leah,
I'am so glad that I decided to visit your blog and read your post. Because I have a friend whom is considered the "ultimate"
"contrarian," but he decided to call it quits (When it comes blogging yesterday.) I think that I'am near tears...(because he decided to leave the blogging world.)I must admit that I admired him for being a contrarian. Therefore, never "change" because I feel it keeps the "debate" lively!
Thanks, for sharing!
Deedee ;-D

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Hi Leah,

I must first apologize because I have visited your blog but never even said hello.

I have seen you commenting on the blogs of Jimmy, Savannah, Ponita and Scarlet; bloggers I've met through Madame DeFarge.

I read the blogs of many women, I check out a few of the brothers as well. But I enjoy reading the insightful thoughts of women because their eyes often see things I miss.

I'm always amazed when I find someone with multiple blogs. How the hell does one manage this? I find this an incredibly amazing feat but it is one I admit to, "having a ceiling of limitations regarding the prowess of my writing skills".

Having said all that, I too understand when you speak of marching to a different beat. I think it's kinda cool being being different in a unique kind of way. Not better, not worse...just different.

If you're thinking, "Boy! He's got a lot to say" (preferred translation)...then yes, I'm guilty. I just enjoy the art of conversation.

So I'll be coming back here now, checking you out on your unique perspective. I look forward to it.

U

Cuppa Jo said...

heheh, I like you.

No, you can't argue with me on this.

Skeeter said...

Hi Leah,

Mulish? No, say it ain't so. I'm going to take this to the thesaurus. There's gotta be another word for that feeling.

Best wishes,

Skeeter

Suzanne said...

Baby, what's for dinner? I'm starving. And Mr. Shife called you awesome. That's his word for me!!! This baby is really gonna take a tole on me. *Closes eyes and lays back on the Macy's sofa...thinks about days gone by.*
XO

Mrsupole said...

I am wondering if I have that trojan horse thingy too. So far tonight it is working and I can visit sites, but it has been a trying four or five days here for me. Anyway I am married to a capricorn, oldest daughter and two grandsons are also, I am surrounded by them. They are all the same and I love them dearly. Hubby is just like you and just loves to argue with me and even change his opinion if I start to agree with him about anything. I just sigh and give up. He is always right and I know he is always wrong. It makes for an interesting marriage, with me being a leo, who totally knows I am right. Actually I give in to him now and we get along a lot better. It is no use to argue with him and I have learned this the hard way.

So we have a french press and since I do not drink coffee I make looose tea in it and it is great. Hubby bought me a Kitchen Aid mixer this past Christmas and now I am wondering how I ever got along without one. I even bought the slicer/shredder and grinder attachments. Plus the bowl shield has helped me so much to not have the flour going all over the room. I may someday get an iPod, but probably not. I have ringing in my ears and so I really just wish I heard nothing. Once in a great while the ringing stops and oh the silence is so sweet. I wish I had a threadmill, and organic anything is great.

But what is a Velvet Goldmine?

And I rarely believe anything a politican says, because hubby told me so. But I figured that one out on my own. Looks like you have too. I get worried when people blindly follow anyone. I think this goes back to when my mom would say that "if everyone jumps off a cliff, are you going to follow" and so being a leo, I never follow. I have problems with 'fads' and I enjoy people who have a brain to think on their own. But sometimes I do find that I like something and then I too am doing it. But it really has to be something good and not temporary. Once I like something I seem to like it for a long time. I like you and what you say here.

Geez, I am back to writing too much again. So am going to stop.

God bless.

Mrsupole said...

I just got my vampire comment posted too. Sorry, but am playing ketchup.

Leah said...

Deedee--hullo! Thanks for the comment. I sometimes manage to keep my contrarianism off my blog...sometimes...I agree, lively debate is the stuff of life!

U--I'm so glad you've stopped by, and commented! I've seen you out and about recently too. Anyway, I really enjoy a longer comment--it's always fun, so you're welcome to leave any length comment you like!

As for the multiple blogs, well, that's my way of avoiding everything I'm supposed to be doing!!!!

Cuppa--oh, I'd never argue with that one! Thanks sweetie!

Skeeter--Yes, let's get out the thesaurus, LOL, for more flattering synonyms for "mulish"! ... yoiks, all I could find was "recalcitrant" and "pigheaded." Dang.

Mrsupole--hi doll!

french press tea: what a neat idea!

Kitchen-Aid Mixers: I've got the ice cream maker attachment, and now that it's hot out, I'm going to be making ice cream again!

ipods: definitely not for you if you have any ear issues--those ear buds that come with them suck.

"Velvet Goldmine": an incredible movie that's sort of kind of about David Bowie, without ever saying it is.

politicians: they are, IMHO, remarkably similar, whether Republican or Democrat.

xoxo

muralimanohar said...

Mm. I refuse to acknowledge that I agree with pretty much everything here. I am almost guaranteed to not like something if too many other people like it. I am distinctly irritated if something is so awesome it transcends popularity, and I have to like it/them against my better judgment.