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What is a kook?

[This had disappeared from the web, but I think it needs a permanent home.]

First and foremost, kooks believe really weird stuff. But simply holding weird beliefs isn't enough to make someone a kook. It's the tactics they use to spread their beliefs that separates kooks from the merely eccentric. Below is a list of common kook distinguishing characteristics. The average Usenet kook will possess at least several of these traits. Über Kooks will possess most or all of them.

  1. Kooks make lists of their enemies. Anyone who maintains a list of enemies is almost certainly a kook. Anyone who appears on one or more kook enemy lists probably isn't a kook.
  2. Kooks are control freaks. Kooks try to moderate the NG and try to force people to only talk about certain subjects and/or conduct themselves only in what the kooky wannabe moderator sees as the correct manner. Kooks will even complain to the ISPs of other NG posters whose views they don't agree with in an attempt to have them removed from Usenet.
  3. Kooks are paranoid. Most kooks are big believers in conspiracies large and small. They seem to think everyone is out to harm them or at least silence them (because they alone know the truth, (see d). From the mighty New World Order, to various three letter agencies of the Federal Government to anyone on the NG who disagrees with them, kooks see enemies everywhere and make lists of them (see a).
  4. Kooks are always right. They have had the absolute "TRUTH" bestowed upon them by god or the aliens or by the voices in their heads or whatever. They are utterly convinced that they, and only they, know the "TRUTH." No matter how many times their beliefs are proven wrong, they continue to cling to them like grim death and will never, EVER admit to being wrong about ANYTHING.
  5. KOOKS LIKE TO SHOUT IN ALL CAPS. THEY SEE THEIR MESSAGES AS BEING SO IMPORTANT THAT THEY NEED TO SHOUT THEM OUT. THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE *EVERYONE* NOTICES WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY.
  6. Kooks are obsessed. They are obsessed with certain subjects and certain other users of the NG, even to the point of stalking them. But above all, they are obsessed with spreading their message and keeping it in discussion at all times on their favorite NGs. Kooks rarely let anyone else get in the last word in any discussion that touches even remotely on one of their obsessions.
  7. Kooks will create sock puppets and use them to attack their enemies and/or post positive responses to the kook's own posts (since no one else will).
  8. Kooks are incapable of intellectual debate. Kooks believe they are in possession of the absolute TRUTH on a given subject or subjects and they are here to share that truth, not debate it. Since kooks are always right and will never ever admit to being wrong (see d), they refuse to debate their beliefs and tolerate no skepticism toward them. To a kook, anyone who disagrees with them MUST be either ignorant, insane or a paid disinformation agent out to discredit them (see c).
  9. Kooks don't have a sense of humor, especially in regards to the subjects they are obsessed with. They are always deadly serious about their pet issues and often berate other NG users for not taking them seriously enough. Kooks are perpetual straight men. Their lack of humor is ironically one of the kook's most amusing characteristics.
  10. Kooks lie. Kooks lie about their backgrounds, their qualifications, their achievements, their level of education, their experiences, etc., etc. Kooks see their message as being so important that they are willing to do whatever it takes (especially lying) to get that message out and make it look like it came from a credible source, rather than from a mere kooky nobody who can be safely ignored. Kooks however aren't generally smart enough to lie well or be consistent in their lying, so they are easily caught and their lies are often exposed. However, even when presented with absolute proof of lying, a true kook will never admit to it (see 4) and usually either ignore the evidence or claim it was manufactured by some "conspiracy" that is out to discredit them (see c).
  11. Kooks tend to be hypocrites. For example, they will rage against others for posting off topic material but still do it themselves regularly, and they take great offense when someone else points out that they are off topic. When this is pointed out, they will go to great lengths to try to justify *their* off topic posts as being so important that topical considerations are irrelevant. Another example of kook hypocrisy is name calling. A kook will rage against others for name calling but be completely oblivious to their own continual name calling and ad hominem attacks on others. Kooks tend to live by the motto of "Do as I say, not as I do."
  12. Kooks don't play well with others. Since kooks are paranoid, always think they are right on every issue, tolerate no skepticism or differing views and always want to be the one in control, kooks just don't get along with other people, not even other kooks. Every kook is an island unto itself of strange beliefs and weird psychoses. Kooks are very lonely people, and it shows.

© Copyright 2001 Michael Davis Publishing
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