"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Monday, 27 June 2016

Each Act is New


I want to some interesting quotes I found online recently.

"He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future."

I feel this is quite accurate and intelligent. In each generation, whatever the youth believes or holds dear becomes the norm, and then that norm becomes the against which the next generation rallies.

"It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge."

Again, this seems like a very intelligent observation. Someone who deals in facts and logic can be convinced of their own inaccuracy. Someone who reasons with belief suddenly starts to ignore contradicting facts and fight harder for that belief.

"Words build bridges into unexplored regions."

As a writer (a blog writer but it still counts), I'm a firm believer in the power of words. The right choice of words can convey any idea and can literally change mankind.

All three of these quotes are wise and profound, and they all came from the same person.

Who was the person?

Adolf Hitler.

This is an example of how our own biases colour new information. If I'd presented the above information as "Here are three things that Adolf Hitler said" and then listed the quotes, they would have seemed much more dark and foreboding. The quotes would have been given less relevance simply because "it's Hitler". This attitude happens a lot. I hear from many people who no longer think Bill Cosby is funny and in some sort of 1984-esque mind trick are convinced that he never was. I see the same thing with Mike Tyson - they can't enjoy his appearances in films etc because they know he was once convicted of rape. I'm not exactly saying this attitude is wrong, but it's not how I choose to look at the world.

In the Australian legal system (and I presume those of other western countries), once you've paid your punishment for a crime, you're given a clean slate. In the eyes of the law, that crime is independent of the rest of your life and is only brought up again if you commit another crime. That's more how I look at people. As an example, I generally consider Donald Trump a bad person (as many do). But each new thing he says, I view independently of the other unrelated things he's said in the past. If I agree with something he says, I admit it. If he announces a policy I support, I like him a little more.

There was a recent incident in Australia where Matchbox 20 lead singer Rob Thomas said something at one of his concerts that was racist and frankly just fucking stupid. But when I saw the footage of it, I just thought "Oh man, I hope this doesn't ruin his life." He did a very, very dumb thing, but if you put it on the graph of good and bad things he's done in his life, it would be an outlier. I'd hate to hear people say "That Rob Thomas, what a racist ass-hole. Did you see what he said at that concert in Sydney?" Same with Michael Richards - I believe him when he claims he's not racist. I just think he made a very dumb mistake while trying to be funny. I know I'd hate to have done something stupid and then for that mistake to define me.

It happens on a much, much smaller scale too. I've seen it happen where someone says something and if the people around them like them, they laugh or agree. If the person is disliked by those around them, the exact same comment is seen as weird or unfunny. I try to view it the other way. I try not to let my opinion of an action be coloured by my overall opinion of the person who committed the act. Each act is new in my eyes.

10 comments:

  1. I completely agree with you. People can say something dumb, especially when they think they're being amusing, but it doesn't necessarily define who they actually are.

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    Replies
    1. I know I've said some pretty dumb things before.

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  2. We forget people are the sum of their parts and not just one thing.

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    Replies
    1. It's really easy to think of people in two-dimensional terms. I do it all the time.

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  3. Yes sometimes a person will say something stupid it doesn't have to define who that person is it was stupid but it doesn't make them a bad person it makes them a person who spoke without thinking

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    Replies
    1. Or maybe even they did think and they stand by it, and we just don't agree with them (Trump).

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  4. Who of us hasn't said a stupid thing? Several stupid things? I hope that they don't define us.

    ReplyDelete

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