A little local blog defines itself as follows:
“This blog is about promoting Morris schools, businesses, churches and traditional family values. People are sick and tired of all the negative news reports of scandal, murder, disease, death and War. We cannot read a newspaper or watch a newscast without this kind of negative reporting. Morris is a good Christian community, but gossip and rumor run rampant; this is contrary to our Christian teachings. Let’s turn the corner and put a stop to it by participating in this little community blog.” (note: spelling errors/typos fixed by me)
Now, I could get myself all worked up over violations of the Bill of Rights inherent in this wee speck on the fringes of cyberspace, I really could. I could laugh heartily about the irony of looking for more fluff in an already 90% fluff newspaper, which is what we have here, or even hold forth about the astounding percentage of our community’s children who are serving in this war and how their parents deserve to be able to read about it in the paper.
One thing that strikes me as particularly hilariously oblivious is the remark about traditional family values. I think we all know that’s code for a great many right wing abuses, but I don’t think the blog owner realizes that. He/she also seems to have completely ignored the recent local stats on our 120% divorce rate. Traditional values, indeed.
Nope, I’ve found that I can get along best here in Stepford-on-the-a**-edge-of-oblivion by remembering two things:
1. If I were single and had a trust fund, I would not even be able to find this place on a map, let alone live here. Neither of those things is the case, so I have to make the best of it that I can, which I do by holding true to my own values and teaching my children to think rationally and critically. It’s also extremely useful to remember my favorite quotation, which is thing two:
2. “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.”
In truth, I think no. 2 is one of the best pieces of advice around for defusing temper and outrage. I honestly believe that most people are ignorant of whatever right or standard I might think they’re treading on, and I mean ignorant in the sense of “oblivious, and not by choice”. I’ve found that, especially in working with school districts on rights for the disabled, it puts me in a position of unimpeachable grace, so to speak, if I continually assume that they don’t know what I know.
I can offer information, I can write to their supervising organizations and ask for assistance on behalf of the ignorant; I can write to the feds and ask for them to clarify things for the district in question, and at no point do I ever wind up telling them what to do, nor am I oblivious or demanding, just implacable.
I happily and promptly provide citations, quotations, additional photocopies, and a paper trail a mile wide, all in favor of the point I may be making. If they were honestly ignorant, I have been honorably helpful. If they were feigning ignorance in order to frustrate me, they are the ones who wind up frustrated and shown for the shammers and scammers that they are.
And similarly, I think that the blogger with his militant declaration of Christian positivity is going to wind up shooting himself in the foot without any help from me at all. Irony will out; it’s already starting, so I can just sit back and watch, if I have a couple of minutes to spare, and if I remember. You can, too.
Meanwhile, tune in to:
Fact or Fiction?: A Cockroach Can Live without Its Head
A nuclear war may not trouble them, but does decapitation?
By Charles Choi
For some laugh-out-loud one-liners by charmingly oblivious geeks speaking full-bore “scientist”, and some morbidly interesting data on roaches. Yuk.