Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"If They'd Only Listen"

I have been playing “Peek-A-Boo” with a serious thought lately, which I cannot quite reel in. The idea momentarily materializes. Then, in a slippery flash – if there issuch a thing – it frustratingly darts away. 

Today’s offering is a peripheral relative to the conceptual “Moby-Dick” that elusively escapes capture, and which I am therefore unable to deliver, hewing to the dictum:

“There shall be no blog post before its time.”

In a recent post written by Ken Levine (bykenlevine), Ken mentioned the vituperative flak he received when he announced that he would not be watching the newly resuscitated Roseanneshow.  And I thought, as I have thought of equally trivial matters before,

“Why make a big fuss about that?”

That’s the general arena I’ve been struggling with.  What is it that leads people to explode when somebody else disagrees with them?  There is no definitive “right and wrong” about an opinion.  Why blow a damn fuse about it?  Why not simply… and peacefully… disagree?

And then I thought about how I react when myopinions are opposed.

As you may have noticed, I have many opinions, some of them powerfully held.  For example, I currently believe that all “certainty” is wrong.

And I am absolutely certain about that.

(Do you see the logical difficulty there?  But that’s for anotherblog post.)

I have examined my emotions when my opinions are confronted. And not just about the big stuff.”  

“Is this shirt blue or is it gray?”  

THEM:  “Gray.” 

ME:  “Blue.”  

And before you know it, inside me, it’s an Armageddonish ” RED ALERT!”  

“How dare you, sir (or madam)”, I can sense myself feeling, an eye-blink away from producing a face-slapping white glove and challenging them to a duel.

And that’sjust about shirt colors.

Plucking a single example from my stack of accumulated grumps and grievances, I have assembled a list concerning, I don’t know, cultural “labeling” issues, my compiled list delineating ones I believe they conspicuously did wrong.  

This is not about conflicting ideology; we are in perfect agreement on these matters.  It is significantly about CLARITY!  (Sorry about the capitalization.  I am susceptible to Strangelovianoutbursts.)

My imaginary opponents in this dispute wish these labels to be memorably “catchy.”   

And I– though there is no more scrupulous scanner than myself – more importantly, want them to be accurate.

My View on the Matter:  Careless labeling leads to unnecessary conflicts accuratelabeling would avoid.

I have chronicled this example before – a frequently trotted-out quote by the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan:

“You are entitled to your own opinions.  But you are notentitled to your own facts.” 

I understand the inherent sentiment of that statement.

But it’s wrong.

What’s right

“You are entitled to your own opinions.  But you are not entitled to your own fabricated facts.”  

(“Your own facts” is just a competing selection of supporting evidence.) 

My version’s more accurate.  

Theirs is more quotable.

“You didn’t build that.”

Rather than

“You didn’t build that alone.”


“Black lives matter.”

Rather than

“Black lives matter as well.”

I readily concede that from a purely rhythmicperspective, 

My quotes are less “snappy.”

But I believe my lumpy “bump-in-the-beat” makes a meaningful difference.

And when I am scoffingly dismissed – or at least feel “scoffingly dismissed” – which may just simply mean "dismissed" – or I am "aggressively contradicted" – which may just simply mean "contradicted" – 

I do not care for it one bit!

I have, embarrassingly, fantasized standing up to President Obama at a meeting in the White House, where, after trying desperately to hold my tongue, I impulsively blurt out,

“Mr. President. Though it may cost me my job, I really believe it should be ‘You didn’t build that alone!’

That’s how insistently adamant I was.  I was willing to sacrifice my lofty position.  Only later to remember that I had never met President Obama, and I did nothave a lofty position.

But if I did, I’d have definitely sp… 

Yeah, maybe I wouldn’t have.

But you can be darn sure I’d have feltit.

Truth be told, although we undoubted live in adversarial times, I must confess that I have alwaysbeen this way.

Although in quieter moments I secretly wonder…

What the heck’s the big deal?

1 comment:

Wendy M. Grossman said...

In Ken's case, I think part of the flak was frustration because many of us wanted to read the review he'd write if he did watch it. :)