Thursday, July 12, 2018

"Genus Envy - Part Two"

I spoke yesterday about a duo of pollsters who, in the course of a series of interviews, discovered that Trump supporters (“Genus Extremicus”whose votes were widely believed to have been fueled by partisan emotion, had instead, it turned out, made a rational choice, selecting the candidate they believed most likely to win, and, having done so, to then push through their conservative agenda.
Though I have, as yet, not mentioned this alternate perspective to people I dearly love and respect (invariably “Genus Extremicus ”on the other side of the spectrum) I can predict they will respond, as they do at any allusion to their ideological “polar opposites”,

“They’re racists.  And if they’re not, they’re frickin’ idiots.” (And they wouldn’t say, “frickin’”.)

Leaving me wondering,

“Hey, guys!  What happened to, ‘All you need is love… brup, buh buh-buh-buh’?”

When I perceive the two sides,  

I see passion.  

I see unity.  

I see molten anger.

I do notsee civility.

I do not see opens minds.

And I do not see,

“I’m proud to be me
But I also see
You’re just as proud to be you.”

Being able to accommodate the legitimate possibility of “Two sides”, I feel better than the people who don’t.  (Don’t worry.  Humbling Comeuppance:  To Come.) This revelation concerning the Trump voters being practical rather than emotional? – I enjoyed hearing about that.  Learning something I had never considered before, the illumination widened my perspective.  It occurred to me, that, maybe, like Fagin in Oliver! (though without the singing soliloquy),

“I think I better think it out again.”

Now maybe I’m too malleable. Just because random pollsters said something on television does not automatically mean it’s a “breakthrough.”  It couldbe an issue of inadequate “sampling.”  Perhaps the interviewees were an unrepresentative sliver of outliers the pollsters wrongly inflated into a “Pronouncement.”

don’t know what’s correct.  

But my natural impulse is to listen.

And go “Hm” when I hear something new.

Nevertheless, I confess to a soupcon of envy for the extremes, because they invariably have certainty.  And company.  I have questioning doubts.  And less company.  But what can I tell you?  I was not cut out for the “Passionate Extremes.”


Because I am congenitally “Medium.”  

My shirts are all “Mediums.”  I like my steaks cooked “Medium.”  Though show business is a big risk, I took “medium” risks once I got there.   I do “moderate” exercise. 

Just this morning, I drove Dr. M to the airport.  Coming out, I was unsure of which way I would have to turn.  I naturally gravitated to the middle lane.  And it worked out just fine.

That’s me.

Always “The Middle Path.” (Including writing for network TV, where, at least in my day, the troubling extremes were comfortably unavailable.)

Any argument – I quickly identify with both sides.  I have philosophical preferences.  But no unwavering certainty.  (Exception:  “Capital Punishment.”  No!)

I feel virtuous, wielding an uncertain mind, ever open to view-altering adjustments.  I find that a praiseworthy characteristic.

If it were true.

(We now welcome “The Turn.”)

At a recent doctor’s appointment, seeking anything to forestall the possible announcement of “bad news”, the conversation meandered to the murky business of “Conspiracy Theories”, which he encouraged me to take seriously and I summarily dismissed.

And there you have it.

A reflexive reaction to the position I’m not, my knee-jerk rejection of the untrusted “Extreme.”  

Who does that remind me of?

Oh yeah.

Everyone I claim to be better than.


Let me be clear on this. I still champion the ever-flexible “open mind.”  There’re just signs I don’t have one.

Could I, in fact, be the most judgmental of the bunch?  I can imagine who probably thinks so.  It’s quite likely my “moral inferiors” hold their ideological polar opposites in (begrudging) higher regard than they hold me.

“They’re dead wrong. But at least they’re something.”

Where does that leave me?

“Genus Moderaticus.”

Maybe right.  But aloneicus.

“Indecisive”, say some.

To extremists, he’s numb.

Could this man be a “Phonus Bolonicus”?


JED said...

Isn't it strange that you do have to consider the source when you hear about a poll. Why should that be? And it's the same with scientific research. We are told to look out for research funded by certain industries. If the coal companies fund research on global warming, you have to be wary. Do the scientists involved in those studies really skew the facts or do they just take the results and spin them? I though judges were supposed to be impartial. Good luck with that. We need to be vigilant about who is in charge of any the institutions we trust. It didn't just start. This has been building for a long time. But it's up to the moderates to keep a handle on this. If we lose the center, all is lost.

FFS said...

I think we are wired to lean left or right. How else to explain Alex P. Keaton.

I lean left and cannot imagine anything able to change that. Ditto for those leaning the other way.

There is no hope.