Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I Like What I Like 'Cause I Like It

So there's this thing that keeps happening, across a broad spectrum of my pursuits.

For example, I may be trying to have a critical discussion of a recognized classic, and become the butt of a sneer along the lines of: "Well, I refuse to be impressed with all you Shakespeare-reading posers." (I don't expect you to be impressed; I expect you to skip conversations about Shakespeare if you don't enjoy Shakespeare and let me and the other people who do like it talk about how to pronounce the puns if we want to.)

Or a game may (okay, probably will) be undergoing an edition war (in which players of the new edition and players of an older edition square off and insult each other's taste in game mechanics) when the next edition comes out; at which point some player of the new edition will say something like "Oh, so now all you hipsters who play 1E will have to move on to 2E in order to remain remotely relevant, while the rest of us move on to 3E." (Relevant to whom?)

Or I may say "No, thanks, have you got anything low-sodium and vegetarian" and be pounced on with a diatribe about how hypocritical I am, pretending to be better than the speaker. (I don't like meat and it gives me health crap, all right? You're the one injecting a moral dimension into my food choices.)

All of this comes down to the same thing: people who do things, not because they're right or fun or interesting or healthy or what they happen to feel like doing, but out of an expectation that other people will react to them a certain way for doing those things, and assume that this is the only reason anybody does anything.

We judge others by ourselves. Only once we accept that can we see other people's points of view and write them as rounded characters, or accept them as full human beings and learn to phrase what we wish to say to them in ways that they will be able to hear and understand, rather than both of us talking past each other.

Bear it in mind next time someone does this to you, or you hear yourself doing it to someone else. It's disturbing, and annoying, but it's also interesting.

And all is grist that comes to the mill.

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