A few days ago in comments it was strongly suggested I drop the Neanderthal tag-line. For example:
But I’ve never been fond of ”Ramblings of a red-necked, knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal.” Those words have bothered me for years, every time I visit your site, over the years.
Before I dive in, I openly state that I approach this from a marketing/advertising angle. It’s my job to wrap my mind around slogans n’ such.
I understand the concept of seizing control of negative words. In some situations this technique is effective. However, I’ve never liked the tongue-in-cheek words quoted above. You, Joe, and your cohort Lyle, are *nothing near* rambling, knuckle-dragging, or anything near Neanderthal.
I direct lots of people (including representatives in the media) to this blog. I cringe every time I have to do this, because the first thing they’ll read is the header. Yes, readers will get to the hearty content, but self-deprecation *does not* work in the case of this blog.
I thought about this quite a bit and decided I needed to give a little more history.
Barb and I went to high school in Orofino Idaho–Home of the Maniacs. We went to college at the University of Idaho (as did/do all of our kids) where we were Vandals. So maybe calling myself a “red-necked, knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal” comes natural. The Maniac name has been under attack for at least 40 years that I know of and they/we proudly stuck to the name. “You think it is insulting and/or degrading to be called a Maniac? That’s your problem. We’re proud to be called that.”
I see advantages and disadvantages to using the tag-line. The disadvantages have been outlined in the comments to the post linked above. I think those disadvantages are minor. I readily admit I’m not a marketing person. But while a case might be made that I am attempting to market ideas I’m not really interested in people that are so susceptible to a “marketing image” that they are unable to “get past” the tag-line. If they get hung up on that then they are, in many ways, my enemy. Distortions such as “assault weapons”, “weapons of choice”, “sniper rifles”, and “Saturday Night Specials” are in their domain and those type of people are who I attack. If those type of people happen to be on my side of an issue I’ll probably be tone it down some but I still will find them contemptible.
The advantage of having a tag-line like what I have is that my enemies underestimate me. Keep in mind I use “enemies” as a shorthand for “philosophical/political enemies”, not enemies in the sense of literally “kill or be killed”. Read the post for the details but basically my enemies already think of my kind as stupid, violent, racist, women hating, and crude. Giving them a tag-line that agrees with their prejudices causes them to stop their mental processing at that point. And they treat me as such without processing the actual facts and logic of my writing. This leaves them more susceptible to attack. For example, they sometimes have attempted to claim they are better than me because of my (supposed) lack of education. Informing them that I have a MSEE (Electrical Engineering) and asking them what degrees they have causes them to go strangely silent. When I appear to fit their preconceived notion of a gun owner they attack with far, far less than adequate resources. This makes it all the easier for me to counterattack with overwhelming force.
So, the bottom line is I’m not going to change the tone of the tag-line but I might be persuaded to change “Neanderthal” to “Maniac”. I still consider myself a Maniac but that doesn’t fit the stereotype the anti-gun people have of us quite as well so I favor Neanderthal at this time.
Sorry Stephanie (and others), you are going to have to keep cringing for now.