Holiday Shopping for Curmudgeons
Greetings again, readers.
If you've visited this site's page called The Curmudgeon Recommends (and if you haven't, I demand to know why immediately), you will have seen my thoughtfully curated assortment of must-haves for anyone who shares the Curmudgeon's philosophies, by which I mean the correct ones.
With the various holidays approaching, I thought I'd remind you that these items make excellent gifts for friends and family, especially those who either share your love of doing things right or who need their own behavior corrected post-haste. Just to be clear, the Curmudgeon has no affiliation with the makers of any of these items, nor do I receive any compensation or sponsorship. Indeed, you may rest assured these people don't even know I exist. I just admire their stuff.
First, I want to highlight a more recent addition to that page. Critical Thinking Cards are produced by the folks at yourlogicalfallacyis.com, a company devoted to the noble cause of promoting rational reasoning and sensible debate.
The deck contains cards defining the various logical fallacies (including "straw man," "false cause," and "burden of proof") and cognitive biases (including "confirmation bias" and "Dunning-Kruger effect"), as well as instructions for games one can play with the cards and—my favorite—"call out cards" you can hand to people to notify them that their statements contain numerous logical fallacies. I may need to order more of those.
This company's commitment to their mission is a godsend in a world that's quickly losing its grip on what reality is, a world in which facts, falsehoods, opinions, and wishful thinking all swirl together, making it ever more challenging to discern which is which. And I can think of no greater gift than one that arms your loved ones with the ability to refute faulty arguments—or, perhaps, educates an acquaintance who is consistently full of bunk.
Speaking of the death of critical thinking (aren't we always?), I once again want to implore all of my readers to watch a film called Idiocracy if you've not done so already. This one is a gift you can give to yourself, and should. It's a dopey comedy that I would have dismissed as valueless were it not for its alarmingly accurate hypothesis: Stupid people have more babies, so in the distant future, most people will be stupid. This is no Citizen Kane, you may trust me on that. But it is a cautionary tale if ever there was one, delivered in a very silly wrapper.
The elegant little cards imprinted with the simple message "STOP TALKING" were a discovery by Mrs. Curmudgeon. Does that woman know me or what? They're perfect for tucking into someone's seat during intermission as they take a brief respite from discussing a play while it's being performed. Your well-mannered friends can slip these into their pockets before leaving the house and be ready for any number of encounters with any number of boors. Then of course, there are the Curmudgeon-recommended books, ranging from sneering to snide. Oh, all right, some of them are quite sweet. I'm particularly fond of a book by Barbara Ehrenreich called Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America. And of course, for those on your gift list who are lacking in basic decorum, there is always the 1946 children's book on manners How to Behave and Why, which is much needed by today's adults, or Uncommon Courtesy, which is described as "the short slap to the back of the head most people need nowadays." For a more thought-provoking read, Love Your Enemies by Arthur C. Brooks is much-needed medicine for our nation's heart-breaking political division.
And what curmudgeon wouldn't appreciate a gift of a large supply of complaint sticky notes? One can never have enough of those.
I manage to avoid a lot of holiday shopping by keeping my collection of friends to an absolute minimum, a practice I endorse. But if you are one of those people who still like other people, I hope these gift suggestions are helpful.
This year, of course, it may be more apropos to skip the Curmudgeon's recommendations and instead send everyone on your list their very own hazmat suit along with a forged passport.