Category Archives: Advice

ModCon Advice: Taste

Our latest advice postings comes from readers.

Dear ModCon,

Given that we are the sum of our inputs, what movies and books have had a significant, positive influence on your life?  Better yet, how can I develop my own taste, aesthetic, and outlook?–how does one go about getting drawn into their own destiny?
Tabula Rasa
Dear M(r?)s Rasa,

I am deeply selfish of my experiences with movies and books, and therefore will be unable to divulge too many of my secret favorites. I once told a friend about Donnie Darko finally allowing me to understand what sacrifice meant, only to have him parrot that phrase aloud in a group discussion nearly a week later. For some reason I was deeply offended by this, to the point that I wanted to expose this traitor for the world to see. Everything from “J’accuse!” to a slow pour of my coffee on his feet raced through my mind. I’d rather not get to that place again, so please excuse my secrecy.

In return, let me answer your second question. It is the most important of the two queries, and makes the first unnecessary.

There is an underlying Truth to all things. Every subject, whether in art or science, has a hidden universality to it. The same can be said for movies. That Truth is different for every person, but the way we experience it is the same. When you see beautiful art in the movies or read a perfect sentence in literature, it feels the same. If you haven’t had that experience, you haven’t experienced enough.

It feels like a higher power ripped your flaming heart out with bare hands, tore it up into little pieces, and blew the confetti into a westerly wind.

It remakes you in its own image.

When I first read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I knew that the world was different after reading it. You might not get that experience from the same book, but you will get that experience.

Your development and destiny comes from the search for that experience. Good luck on the journey, it’s a long one. If you really get out there and you still don’t have a clue, everything from the 60s was cool.

ModCon Advice

Dear Mrs. Right,

I am a young, educated conservative that is deeply involved in the political process. Each month when I go to my local Young Republicans meeting, I feel engaged but also concerned. Although we agree on many things, the majority of my colleagues subscribe to the dogma that is preached from the national party. I, however, have different views on social policies. After the meetings when we discuss these ideas, conversation tends to become heated against my stance on X, Y, or Z. It has gotten to the point where I am considering not going anymore. What should I do?

Red Sheep

Dear Red Sheep,

I’ve been you. Whatever you do, do not stop going just because you are on the outside of the echo chamber.

The purpose of the group’s existence and meetings is to strengthen and grow the movement, right?  And just like a muscle, some resistance and is needed for health and resilience before going out into the arena that is public America.  So, your contrariness is justified.

While some members–even leadership–may have lost site of the group’s purpose, make yourself a leader by reminding them of it.

As is often the case, tone and delivery will determine whether your message is received properly.  If you have a “reputation” amongst the group, reach out to the next meeting’s agenda-setter in private, and ask for a few minutes of stage time at the next meeting.  Say you fear you may have inadvertently caused discord in the informal discussions, and that you would like to clear the air with the club in a thoughtful, well-planned environment, with a facilitated discussion.  The truth may be that you were simply misunderstood and want credit for your smarts, but serving them instead of yourself is both morally right and way more likely to get you what you’re asking for.  Ask someone reasonable to “referee” the discussion for you (and then actually let them do so).

This may all feel like an overreaction and like you are admitting to a crime worse than anything you really did, and that’s exactly what it is.  People love that.  It makes them realize you are responsible and super self-aware because you take a minor problem so seriously, and then they will trust and follow you.  Think of how every hiring manager says they need someone “detail-oriented”–the small things matter, and are usually the things that are in your control and that you can thus be constantly leveraging to your advantage.

You have now created time to plan and then speak your general argument without interruption.  Hooray!  Wow them with your superior logic.  Talk about how historical trends of progressivism support your predictions.  Talk about how moral legislation is diametrically opposed to the conservative principle of limited government.  Talk about how, principles aside, Republicans need votes from social moderates to stay viable.

I truly believe hitting the reset button like this, and getting your message out in an articulate, nonemotional way, will win you converts (or at least friends).  Not everyone in the group may have known you or what you were about, but you showed courage and original insight.  So get ready to run for Chair and then continue that influence.

Mrs. Right

Introducing: ModCon Advice

ModCon Advice is our blog’s newest feature–a Q & A with two writers: Mrs. Right and Mr. Wrong.  Our first question was addressed to Mr. Wrong.

Dear Mr. Wrong,

I want to be one of the cool kids, but I’m definitely a nerd at school.  I don’t know how to dress, talk, or act to get all these people to think highly of me.  I want to be the guy whom people laugh at his jokes and invite to their parties.  How can I become that guy?

Social Studies


Dear Social Studies,

It’s a tough life being a nerd. Many people on the internet will try to make you feel better by telling you that it just gets better. They might say that everyone had a tough time in high school, and that you should concentrate on your studies. They might try to make you feel better by saying that college is awesome and that with hard work you could do more important things like have a fulfilling and well-paying job, or travel the world, or be a productive member of society. They might even say to dress well and be nice and to help others as much as possible and that eventually people will start liking you enough to be your friend, which is much more important and meaningful than parties.

But those idiots are probably nerds, too. Take it from me, Mr. Wrong, that if you’re not cool in high school you will never be cool. So get your nose out of those AP review books and start doing the following:

1.) Start fights. This works in jail, which is where the majority of my social experience comes from. That way, you establish yourself as the alpha male, and everyone will be afraid of you. Then, you will realize that everyone laughs at your jokes, regardless of if they are funny or not.

2.) Start Smoking. Nothing says “I’m awesome” like a cigarette in your mouth. In fact, have as many cigarettes in your mouth as you can. I would routinely sit out front of my high school smoking 5-10 Marlboros on a regular basis. Sure, I have lung cancer now, but everyone knew I was the coolest.

3.) Start Shoplifting Clothes. Clothes are everything in high school, and if you don’t have the trendiest stuff then no one will ever like you. If you Shoplift your clothes, it not only provides you with access to new clothes all the time, but it also is dangerous, and that is always cool. Try to keep the tags on, too. Especially the anti-theft stuff. Wear those around enough, and I guarantee you will be at every party.

Those are my surefire ways to be the coolest guy in school. Follow them to the letter, and everyone will laugh at your jokes and you will be at every party. Granted, I only was able to do them for a few weeks until I dropped out. Plus, being in and out of jail and detention didn’t really allow anyone to know me well enough to invite me to many of their parties, but that’s okay. Nowadays I work at the local Mugs and Jugs bussing tables, and the bartender here was the coolest guy in our class! Yeah, everyone always laughed at Mike’s jokes and he was even Prom King. And we’re best friends now!

In fact, most of the cool kids still live around here and we party all the time. Mike and I have a sweet apartment together, and we all get together on the weekends and drink after our shifts. It’s pretty awesome (when I’m not in jail or in the hospital).

You’re Welcome,
Mr. Wrong