My Blog Week: May 3 to May 9
A Word on the Week
This has happened to me, maybe to you. That weird thing of someone responding to an innocent conversational remark, or asking you a strange question, or being strange altogether in tone of voice, body language, etc., as though in their minds they weren’t speaking to you at all…but rather, to an invented person whose attitude, background, beliefs, are not yours. One of the basic rules of social interaction is the same as a basic rule of law. No one should be punished for an offense they haven’t been formally charged with. If you are too dainty to broach a subject with the one it most closely concerns, you should not be so vulgar as to broach it with everyone else.
Communication is in a poor state these days. Think about the push to blame China for the spread of the coronavirus. What was done and what should have been done may be investigated and determined, and we may learn something for future pandemics. But that can’t excuse incompetence and sloth in answering the threat. If an employee of the president, or any of his wealthy supporters, were injured on the job, what would the lawyers do? They’d hammer on the extent to which the employee could have avoided the accident…if the shoes had five-inch heels, if the earbuds were in the ears… If the safety manual recommendations had been ignored.
Excess, irrational anger, is a byproduct of scapegoating. Giving self-permission to bypass the individual, by assigning her to a group, then assigning the group to a category, creates a wider playing field; an absurdity promoted on broad terms seems more probable, because the proposal that it could be so, that somewhere, at some point, it’s been done, is essentially true. Decide the media (a large undefined category) hates Trump, and the lone person being interviewed about the loss of her husband gets labeled a tool of the media conspiracy (assumed). As a tool, she’s dehumanized. We’ve seen the cruelest of the right attack victims and accuse them of playing roles. We’ve seen the highly indignant when colleges discipline professors for insensitive speech, become murderously angry when they can’t get their nails done for a few weeks. Is it worse to be a snowflake than a strip mall sybarite?
What about the fatalists who want to say the economy matters so much that the risk of causing more deaths by opening too soon should just be borne? Where is this sort of argument when anti-vaxxers grow thuggish over having to play the (small) odds the vaccine will cause harm?
Meanwhile, maybe our culture can pick up an important clue from personal experience. With so many people reporting they can’t tell what day of the week it is, so many who don’t feel like dressing up, or even showering (or even getting out of bed), when they have no rules to abide by…
Isn’t it time the retired elderly stop being terrorized over what-if-it’s-Alzheimer’s; and people whose lifestyles allow individuality (writers and artists among them), or people who are individual regardless, are no longer bully-diagnosed, just because the internet is full of unlicensed psychologists-at-large?
On Monday, the fifth German Spy episode from The Folly, Fiona first aware of the danger in Falco. Tuesday, a reissue from Rattus, “Brother Mouse”. Wednesday, part four of “The Blue Bird”, and the world normalizing in peculiar ways. Thursday, Frédéric Boutet’s “The Bargain”, a late enlightenment not helpful to an old man. Friday, a new Totem-Maker, part ten of “The Recalcitrant One”, in which the character discovers an arranged meeting. Saturday, “Sacred Science”, treats the ease with which systems can be invented by guru figures.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: May 3 to May 9