Friday, September 5, 2014

"Preamble To A Blog Post (Without The Blog Post)"

The following could have preceded literally half the blog posts I have ever written, which would now mean more than 850 posts.  Having done that, however, I would not have left space for anything else. 

Consequently, I have decided to turn things around, writing the preamble alone, with no following blog post whatsoever.  You’ve heard of “the show about nothing.”  This is a preamble to no subsequent “amble.” 

Go with this.  It’s unconventional, but it’s fun.  And if it isn’t… hey, it’s not really a blog post; it’s only a preamble.

Okay, here we go.

I am aware that there are a contingent of people out there who do not like me.  I do not possess a “hard number” in this regard, having no way of – nor interest in – polling them, and even if I did, being polite, most people questioned would probably deny that they don’t like me.  With various degrees of persuasiveness.

“I like you a lot.”

“I like you just fine.”

“I never really thought about it.”

“Who said I didn’t like you?”

“Can I get back to you on that?”

People may have numerous reasons for not liking me – by which I mean different people may not like me for different reasons, although I am not ruling out individuals not liking me for multiple reasons.  Though that does seem like a lot of work when they could have stopped at just one. 

I suspect that the most commonly expressed reason for people not liking me is because of my perceived judgmentalism. 

People believe I’m judgmental?  Okay.  Let’s see what that means.

judg-men-tal  (juj mentl)  adj.  1.  Involving the exercise of judgment.  2.  tending to make judgments, esp. moral judgments.

To that definition, I reply,  “Guilty.”  Given the alternative, I actually prefer judgmentalism.  Because the opposite is, the world goes by and you go, “Whoo”, 

and that’s it.  No subjective reaction whatsoever.  Something happens and your invariable response to it is, “That’s a thing.”

I am unable to do that.  I have a brain, and that brain notices things, and has a subjective reaction to them.  I read an ad for a restaurant recently that said, “Open seven days a week, 5:30 P.M. to 11.  Closed Sundays.”  I had a reaction to that.  My reaction was, “That ad is stupid.”

Sometimes my reaction is written, as in a blog post.  Sometimes, it is a mental notation, as in “Hmph.”  (Not a negative “Hmph.”  An acknowledging “Hmph.”  Though some “Hmphs” are undeniably negative. Like with that restaurant ad – “Open seven days a week.  Closed Sundays”? 


Are you required to make judgments about everything? 


“I just hate it when people drape their sweaters around their shoulders and tie a knot in the front.  I feel like sending them directions for “How to wear a sweater.”  Of which there are three – you put your arms through the sleeves, stick your head through the hole, and pull it down over your body.  The thing you drape over your shoulders?  That’s a cape!”  

Only an idiot would waste their judgment on sartorial sweater preferences.  Oh, wait.  I did that.


By which I mean I just judged myself and determined “Not good, that one.”

The way I see it… wait, before “The way I see it.”

How did judgmentalism get such a bad name?  (And if you don’t think it has one, call somebody “judgmental” and see if they say “Thank you.”)  I believe I can pinpoint the origin of the term’s pejorivity.  (I got a delayed “red line” under “pejorivity”, as if my computer was thinking, “That could be a word.”)

When I was in college in the mid-sixties, I majored in Sociology.  And almost the first thing the Sociology professors drummed into our heads was was that we should avoid making “value judgments.”  (And also avoid using the word “should.”)

When you studied the behaviors of other cultures, you were to objectively “observe and record.”  And never ever go, “P.U.”  People marry their uncle, or wolf down rodents like pinata candy?  No judgments.  That is simply what they do. 

The opposite of this type of values-neutral assessment was judgmentalism.  And judgmentalism got you a “D.”  I think that’s the time when they stopped calling cultures “primitive.”

They don’t think they’re primitive.  They very simply ‘are’.

From that point on, you heard “You are so judgmental”, and you could virtually count on no second date.

The way I see it – I have returned to “The way I see it” – practiced appropriately, being judgmental means being evaluative, and then arriving at a carefully considered conclusion.

To which I say,

“What’s wrong with that?”

Is it possible to be inappropriately judgmental?  Yes.  (See: Sweater example above.) Also when people accuse the Supreme Court of “Judicial Activism” – as conservatives did concerning the Warren Court of the 50’s and 60’s and liberals do about the Roberts Court today – they are being unconsciously judgmental, accusing the courts of “going too far” when what they mean is they are ideologically opposed to their decisions.

Overall, however, being judgmental means simply having an opinion.

That’s all I’ve got.  “End of Preamble.” 

Any judgments in response?


allan appleby said...

A preamble w/out an amble is in this case, an essay. There is something familiar about this theme, tho. Did you do a similar one before?

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Actually, it's probably better to be judgmental about the sweater than the subjects under sociological investigation. The former is personal preference - a matter of opinion rather than facts; the latter is meant to be science - a matter of facts, rather than opinion.

My personal pet peeve is fake blonde hair. There oughtta be a law. Yes, that makes it hard to watch modern TV.


Dave Olden said...

To Wendy: So would fake blondes have more fake fun?