“Beware of the man who goes to cocktail parties not to drink but to listen.” (Pierre Daninos)


I did my share of drinking when I was young but I can’t say I enjoyed it. The part I liked was listening to other people make fools of themselves. Alcohol is the greatest truth serum ever invented and many people willingly share their deepest feelings while they’re intoxicated. Of course most people who drink to excess don’t like having me around, what  with my penchant for remembering everything. I stopped getting invited to cocktail parties years ago because I wouldn’t drink and I’m sure I made others uncomfortable.

These days I find it utterly amazing how many people will cough up vital information even without the effects of alcohol. Hardly a week goes by that some celebrity/politician/actor/athlete makes a comment that is so prejudiced or stupid or nonsensical that I just have to pause until my bewilderment passes. Seriously, where do these people come from and what are they thinking? I’m guessing that the media has become no less of an intoxicant than alcohol and it has the same deleterious effects on the brain.

In a world that is always “ON”, where every imaginable kind of communication is actively engaged and everything gets recorded we have people who cannot keep their mouths shut long enough for their common sense to kick in and save them from disaster. There are times when we don’t have to talk. No one is forcing us to be stupid but we dive in any way for fear our opportunity for fame is passing before our eyes.  This phenomenon is starting to worry me.

For myself,  I really don’t want to know the first thing that jumps into your head. Take your time, consider your thoughts before you answer, I can wait a whole minute if necessary. In most cases, I’m not going to believe half the random crap anyway so you’re just wasting your breath and my time with your nonsense.

Of course this may explain why I have so few close friends. I really value deep, meaningful two-way conversations about stuff that matters. I can even accept a difference of opinion if you can make a cogent case for the way you see it. I have the deepest respect for those among us who can think for themselves, have actual facts available to back up their beliefs and are willing to hear my rebuttal. We don’t have to agree in order to still be friends but we must respect each other as individuals.

Maybe that’s what missing from the media. We never hear both sides of the story from the same source. Every outlet has a built-in opinion and anything to the contrary doesn’t fit the brand. Trust me, branding is all important to the media because that’s where advertising dollars come from and fortunes get made.  Pretty much everything you hear on the radio or see on TV or read on the Internet is a form of advertising. The goal is to sell you something and the more the better.

We would all be better off if we stopped relying on the media to educate us about the world. We’re just being lazy when we do that and we’re just perpetuating the problem of media hype. I think it’s time for a revolution of sorts. On July 4th, 1776 we stopped listening to the King of England and look what happened. We became the first democratic republic of its kind and we helped start an era of free thinking that transformed the whole world forever. It took us 13 years to actually compile all those thoughts into a Constitution but the end product is the most important thought process of all time. Free men, who think for themselves and work for a solution will always succeed.

I think it was Rene Descartes who said, “I think, therefore I am.” There is no life without thought but thoughts without actions are meaningless. I know lots of people who can think clearly but they hardly ever do it. Random thoughts and intoxicated words just happen so easily. Real dialogue requires brain function of the highest order and most people don’t want to go there. My own version of Descartes’ famous line would be this, “I am, therefore I think.”

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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2 Responses to “Beware of the man who goes to cocktail parties not to drink but to listen.” (Pierre Daninos)

  1. Andrea says:

    All too true! Like you say, today we are barraged with gossip, spin and media hype. It wears me out.

    But a good conversation (with or without alcohol) is a rare and valuable thing and just about the best gift we can give each other. Carry on my friend…I’m still listening!

  2. grhgraph says:

    I feel the same way but man it’s lonely out here. Maybe we should start a club. I even refrained from using my oldest joke. Never put Descartes before des Horst.

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