Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Little Late for Lent

It never ceases to amaze me just how common it is for those who feel put upon by other people's beliefs to turn around and spew their beliefs in such a way that causes others to feel put upon. It's a disturbing phenomenon. A chain reaction of sorts that I can't claim to have never participated in, but one that nevertheless leaves me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. No one likes to feel as though something is being shoved down their throat be it an idea, a belief or hot dog... so why do we as a species continue to converse in such an intentionally antagonistic manner? It almost seems as though there is an invisible scoring system by which people are awarded points based on their effectiveness in getting under the skin of those around them, dividing and separating people further into categories to validate their "us vs. them" tactics, slinging sarcastic under-the-radar insults and doing so in such a way that any response on the part of the attacked automatically comes off as defensive, petty and/or unintelligent.

 This rant of course was inspired in part by the discourse I witnessed online surrounding Sunday's holiday... one which my family joyously observed. It is however a much more widespread problem that rears it's ugly head much more frequently than the occasional religious holiday.

 So what do we do? I don't know about you but I'm going to start by doing my best to cut out the sarcasm as much as I can... yes, it's funny and often intended light-heartedly but the humor is derived from undercutting someone else's confidence in their own intellect (etc.) 9 times out of 10. Honestly I don't know how to be even mildly funny without it. Sarcasm has become a crutch for me, and I suspect that's true for many others as well. If I can just get in a funny jab right off the bat then I won't be found out, my [fill in prized trait] won't be up for question.

Maybe that's just me.

Either way, I doubt a little more vulnerability and a little less defensiveness could hurt. It may be uncomfortable, sure... in fact I'm almost certain it will be. But the point I'm getting at is that in terms of feeding or starving the proverbial fire a lack of sarcasm will tip the scales in the right direction. Is it the cure? Doubt it.

Any ideas from you all out there in the interwebs? I'm open to suggestions.

In the mean time I'll be posting here and there about my ventures in letting go of my one and only claim to a sense of humor... a sort of post-Lent pledge to bite my tongue. I'm hoping it goes half as well as it did for Lauren over at Salon


  1. Just headed over to Salon. yes some of my older relatives are much better at simply listening to what people are saying then giving their opinion that jumping on people. Think its important for everyone to be heard but many now to not want to listen.

  2. Cat, I absolutely can NOT get enough of your blog. You inspire me to do better in mine and I lvoe being able to capture your feelings while reading. Awesome, awesome work!

  3. @ridingonadream Thank you so much, I'm really glad to hear that!!

    @About Last Weekend Excellent point! There needs to be a balance between listening... you know what they say about having one mouth and two earsa being and indication of how they should be used (proportionality).


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