Recent object lessons leading up to my new year’s resolution:
— In one gorgeous, perfectly orchestrated, slow-motion train wreck after another, the show Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy features serialized examples of well-intentioned but ultimately self-righteous individuals moving into other families’ homes with a not-so-hidden agenda to change their world views. The Christian mother wants to “bless the socks off” the Jewish family. The vegan mother wants to convince carniverous bayou-dwellers off meat in a week flat. And so on. In every case, the righteous evangelist encounters not success, but the impenetrability of both their own world-view and that of “the other.” Things seldom end well.
— Red states and blue states (I use this metaphorically; I know we’re all purple). It is still hard for me to understand how a person can have read a daily newspaper for the past four years and still want to reward the actions of Bushco. And yet I know there are lots of sane, loving, and yes, otherwise moral individuals who voted Red this year. What I consider “self-evident” is apparently not self-evident to many. Is my world-view as opaque to them as theirs is to me?
— Forgot where I heard: “The best way to lose an argument is to overstate your case.”
— Through the grapevine: “He doesn’t realize he might actually have a chance of convincing me if he didn’t come off so strident, so convinced that he’s right.”
— From a friend: “You’re just a meatsack like me. We don’t know nothin’.”
My new year’s resolution: I will be less judgmental in 2005. Less sure that “the other” is wrong. Like most new year’s resolutions, this will probably be easier said than done, but I’m going to go for it. I expect that the trick will be to “stay hard” while “going soft.”
Watch me now.