It happens particularly around newborns, a situation of current personal familiarity.
The “Third Person Plural” word pops up with alarming regularity, telling everyone what to do.
I will not use actual examples, as my annoyance at this intrusive pronoun’s arrival has clouded my memory to actual specifics. But it’s like,
“They say that newborns require cheese.”
“They say babies thrive hearing simulated ‘raccoon sounds’.”
“They say babies sleep better listening to the Pat Boone rendition of ‘Long Tall Sally’, the “Little Richard” version making them detectably fussy.” (Or are they simply bopping to the music?)
The “They” in question here are Child Development” experts, who turn over every few years, when a newcrop of “Theys” replace the previous “Theys”, delivering “groundbreaking”, best-selling book pronouncements of their own.
You’ve heard of “The Circle of Life.”
Say hello to “The Cycle of ‘Theys’.”
Before expanding to a more general proposition, in the area of childrearing expertise, the all-knowing “They” was once capably handled “in-house”, in the form of the familiar “Grandma Matilda” or “Aunt Gussie.” In earlier times, extended family members provided experiential wisdom, leaving little or no need for outside intervention.
More recently – though I cannot precisely pinpoint the date – with today’s fractionalized families scattered hither and yon, the era of “They” specialization moved in, filling the maternal “What do we do!” vacuum.
In the modern era, owing to our lack of wide-ranging expertise because there is so much to know –
PREHISTORIC WISE MAN: “I used to know everything. But there were only nine things.” –
we are relegated to entrusting the myriad gaps in our education to people we don’t know – See: Yesterday’s post – surrendering meekly to their certified, specialized expertise. See: The post immediately before that, where we argue that people will accept something that’s wrong – like the test predicting an Israeli army recruit’s performance in combat the Israeli army kept using afterit was proven demonstrably non-predictive – rather than living in buffeting uncertainty.
Unfortunately, here’s how this “Three-Step” scenario plays out:
Step One: We need help negotiating areas beyond our own personal expertise.
Step Two: Some anonymous “They” expert provides us the answer.
Step Three: We then viscerally resent them for needing their help in the first place.
What happens to people we viscerally resent for needing their help?
See: The 2016 presidential election. (And its British equivalent “Brexit.”)
“KILL THE EXPERTS!”
Result: The majority of us – going by the Electoral College –opts for clueless incompetents instead.
And there you have it. (Says me.) We despise them for needing them, so we kick them all out on their butts.
“Hold on, Earlo. You made fun of the experts at the beginning. And now you’re attacking the people who threw them all out. Where exactly do you stand on this issue?”
An astute assimilation of the material, “Blue Italics Interrupting Person.” And I shall answer your cornering query.
Although it’s a little bit messy.
Consider the participating performers –
The “Pure Scientist” complains that the “Popular Media” sensationalizes their announced qualified discoveries.
Although I am sure there are some“swelled head” pure scientists proclaiming, “We gotit!” And also regularscientists (unconsciously) “hyping” their conclusions so they can continue their subsidized efforts, (hopefully) solidifying their findings.
There is the “Popular Media”, trolling for Pulitzers.
And at the end of this informational “Food Chain”, there is poor, ignorant “Us”, desperate for answers because the kid’s screaming its head off and we have no idea what to do.
Where do I stand on all this?
Why do I have to stand anywhere?
But if I am required to take a position – I, as is my natural proclivity, eschew the extremes, placing my chips “all-in” on the “Humility” number.
RESPECTED SCIENTIST IN THE FIELD: “Our recent results reveal, though notwith incontrovertible certainty…”
MEDIA CONDUIT: “We are currently reporting, though this may be subsequently revised…”
GRANTERS OF GRANTS: “We may lose our shirts and our reputations here, but we are backing your experimental direction, knowing there are no certified guarantees.”
NEWBORN’S MOTHER: “You can be a ‘good enough mother’ without knowing all the ‘answers’.’”
A Sometimes Forgotten Reality: It is the rare baby who doesn’t make it to adulthood no matter whatyou do.
My Consequent Non-expert Prescription: (In this regard, though it applies elsewhere as well.)
Listen patiently to the “They.”
Check out other“Theys” for relevant alternateperspectives.
Take a comforting deep breath…
And then decide what to do for yourselves.
Knowing that, within recognizable reason,
You cannot ultimately do it wrong.
(Forget Law & Order’s “Negligent Homicide.” It’s only a television show.)