Elisa's Blog
Thursday, April 28, 2005
It is amazing how many hours of amusement a strategically placed calculated comment, a modicum of acting skills honed in a year's worth of community center classes, and an air of innocence helped along by a healthy dosage of the youthful looks of fortunate genetic coincidence can buy you.

Yesterday I was bored after work (as is not uncommon for me these days), so I decided to attend a talk entitled "An Atheist's Guide to Objectivism" offered by the friendly neighborhood atheist organization of Silicon Valley. Now, I'm not a fan of being lectured to, especially with regards to philosophical matters, so the plan was to infiltrate the organization feigning interest, and then stir up some entertainment by opportunely affirming a strong fundamentalist Christian bent. As you may know, this was a masterful recipe for excitement, for never has there been such strong dislike between two belief systems as these diametrically opposed two (well, not counting the philosophical disagreements that caused things like the Crusades, the Reformation, terrorism, and several other similar stirrings of no consequence, that is).

Anyway, so I arrived and, deliberately looking all shy and flustered, took my seat on one of the back rows after picking up every single pamphlet about atheism available to visitors, which ensured that my entrance was noticed and remarked upon. And as I was sitting patiently through the presentation, which involved a lot of explanation of the Objectivist axioms with the luxury of long and oversimplified complex examples, I mentally organized the subsequent divertimento by strategizing on how exactly to make my assumed position known to this mostly male audience of people at least 10 years my seniors.

At last, the time came to open the forum to the audience for discussion, and my hand promptly shot up straight and high without hesistation, which seemed to surprise the organizer of the talk, who was the one that welcomed me and had remarked that I looked shy before asking me to fill out a name tag. Of course, being the newcomer, and the only hand that had shot up so quickly and unflinchingly, I became the source of the first audience commentary, which was a happy convenience for setting the tone and direction of the subsequent speaker-audience dialogue....

So in a very humble and innocuous way, I posed a query that highlighted a possible weakness in one of the fundamental Objectivist premises, which I hoped would, with a bit more discussion, give me a clear enough opening to express more controversial views as the debate evolved.

Soon into my exchange with the speaker, however, I started noticing that the gentleman sitting to my right was agreeing with some of the things I voiced and actually interjecting, in-between some of my statements and the speaker's responses, the precise type of more inflamatory views I was planning to later develop. And at one point, while the speaker was replying to another request of mine to clarify a point, the gentleman slipped me a pamphlet advocating the defense of creationism and denouncing evolution. Bingo!!! I was in the presence of a honest to goodness infiltrator! A spy from the opposing camp. This was going to get a lot more entertaining than I had hoped, and, what was best, I wouldn't have to move a finger!!

Unfortunately, however, since the infiltrator was not there for entertainment purposes like I was, he had a minor blemish in his technique. By being too invested in his viewpoints, it soon became clear to the speaker and the rest of the audience that this gentleman was, in fact, stirring things up and trying to swing a roomful of atheists into accepting his antithetical views, which resulted in his being ignored and actually actively being cut off from further commentary by granting speaking rights to the other audience members instead of him........pity. He left soon after the question and answer session was over, but not before congratulating me on my very insightful and commendable views.

I decided that the evening should not end in dissappointment, however, and as I had not yet succeeded in exposing myself as a religious fanatic, a second attempt should be made by hanging around and talking to the little discussion groups that were forming around the cookies and tea table. I was a bit too subtle in my attempts, however, for at the end of the evening I was saluted by everyone I met as someone "observant" (and even, paradoxically, "knowledgeable"), and "here's a letter I wrote to the newspaper decrying the actions of the late pope tell me what do you think it is good isn't it?", and "let me welcome you to our group by playing you the atheist anthem on my harmonica, we need to make a recording on some real instruments soon" and "you should come again to more meetings", and "where do you live/work/come from?" and "I'm so glad you asked those questions because those were questions I had too".

So..... I had come to this meeting with the aim of dropping an apple of dischord and instead what I got was that both of the two antagonistic groups represented in the meeting recognized me as one of their own.

Cool, huh?

It is apparent that you are honing skills to enlist into some Intelligence organization as a night job. No! You are in an Intelligence organization engaging in self-discipline excercises to prepare yourself for an instigation of war mission you are hankering to be assigned to you!

Ah Ha! You have sonorously promulgated your true self publicly and now must face either (a) unceremonious execution by the Intelligence authorities (or contractors for purposes of knowledge disavowal), or (b) a miserable and forsaken desk job in a sub-basement at an undisclosed location (most likely 200 feet under a cheese processing plant). Result (b) would at least allow for premeditated vengeful duties upon escape from said cheese processing plant.

Man, I must cut down on reading espionage thrillers (written by Dave Barry).
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