Aug. 12th, 2017

dogriver: (Default)
Twitter is a very interesting vehicle for opinion-expressers. Like the radio talk show host who hides behind his or her microphone, Twitter allows people spit out opinions in real time that they might well not say to a person's face because they're hiding behind their keyboard with the illusion of anonymity.

I, too, am an active Twitter user, and I must confess to also being very opinionative, often to my detriment. I have an opinion, I tell myself, it's world-changing, and I must, must, must share it or the world will be deprived. Or something like that.

As I read the tweets of others doing the same, or others who are using Twitter in a variety of ways to express themselves, I tend to react. And, not infrequently, such reaction is critical in nature. I see someone behaving in a certain way, and it annoys me, annoys me greatly, annoys me disproportionately. People shouldn't behave in such an annoying way, I tell myself. Darn right they shouldn't, I answer myself in a show of solidarity. I agree with me completely. And so, backed by that unanimous show of support, I am outraged.

Often, I'll tell my wife Caroline about my outrage. This can be a mistake, because she has this nasty habit of listening to what I'm actually saying. No good can come of that, surely.

So, maybe hours, maybe days, maybe weeks later, when I find myself doing the same thing that outraged me in the behavior of others, she gently reminds me of this.

And this brings home an important truth: We often get outraged by the behavior of others as a mechanism to hide from ourselves the reality that we do the exact same things. It's just easier to get mad at the other guy than it is to recognize a need for change in our own behaviors and attitudes. And when we finally do realize that we need to change those behaviors and attitude, when we finally do point the finger to our chests and say to ourselves, "Physician, heal thyself", it's humbling.

Of course, I'm not the first person to figure this out. Back in 1945, the Jack Benny radio program, in a successful attempt to boost ratings, sponsored an "I Can't Stand Jack Benny Because" contest. Amid all the hilarity sparked by the contest, the winning entry summed up what I've been saying in this commentary. It was written by Carroll P. Craig, and reads:

He fills the air
With boasts and brags
And obsolete
Obnoxious gags.
The way he plays
His violin
Is music’s most
Obnoxious sin.
His cowardice
Alone, indeed,
Is matched by his
Obnoxious greed.
And all the things
That he portrays
Show up my own
Obnoxious ways.

Yup, that about sums it up, and also reveals something which I need to keep remembering as I get hit, so frequently, by the criticism boomerang.

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dogriver: (Default)
Bruce Toews

August 2017

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