Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Am Right...& You're Stupid!

Recently I have encountered a few things on social media and in real conversations that have made me scratch my head and say, "Really?" These were not the usual outlandish religious views or political posturing, but just things that were said that seemed totally outside of my own experience. Here are a few classic examples...

  • On my wife's Facebook I saw where one of her friends made the following post: Can someone please explain the Beatles to me? I just don't get it. You mean aside from the great music, the cultural impact and being the single biggest influence on popular music of the 20th century? Those Beatles? Maybe they are just a fad. Or maybe they matter because my son's grandchildren will still be listening to them!!!
  • A dear friend of mine (who is a bit memory impaired when it comes to names) sent me a random text the other night asking me if I knew that "Neil Patrick...someone...was gay?" I laughed for 5 solid minutes, literally falling out of my chair. Partly because Neil Patrick Someone is a great name, and partly because it seemed impossible to me that there was anyone on the planet who didn't know NPH is gay. But she really didn't. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • And speaking of Seinfeld... I read a blog post the other day that said the show was never funny because all of the characters were jerks. I give that one two big DUHS. Of course they were jerks. They were supposed to be- it was what made their take on life interesting! And the fact that they knew the characters were total a-holes is what made the much dissed finale ABSOLUTELY PERFECT! Seinfeld not funny? Geez. I guess next I'll hear that Chuck Norris is a mere mortal.
  • A link I saw on Twitter last week took me to a blog form a "Disney Specialist" entitled 10 Must-Do Attractions at the Magic Kingdom. It was a fine list, I guess, but I found the whole thing to be irrelevant because they did not mention Pirates of the Caribbean! It may as well have been a list of top 10 pizza toppings with no mention of cheese, or of ice cream flavors with chocolate left off. Not only is Pirates a must-do, it's what you must-do first!!!
  • I was telling the Neil Patrick Someone story to a young adult friend, thinking they would get a big laugh out of the tale. Instead, I was stunned to discover that she had no idea who NPH was. None. I think the word I am searching for is "flabbergasted."
  • I saw a list of all-time movie franchises based on the personal opinion of the writer through a link on Twitter the other day. The list was a good one for the most part, until I got near the top. They had the Twilight series ranked ahead of Star Wars. I thought my head would explode. Shiny vampires and shirtless werewolves over Darth Vader and Hans Solo? Even Jar-Jar knows better than that. "Me no thinks so!"
  • If I see one more tweet proclaiming LeBron James the greatest basketball player of all-time I may just go postal. That's just stupid. Actually, calling that stupid is an insult to stupid people! The name they are searching for is Michael Jeffrey Jordan. End of story.
And there are more...but I will spare you. These things seemed beyond belief to me, that people could go through life so uninformed, no ignorant, so wrong and so...not me. It hit me that the real problem with all of the things I listed is that they are all simply my opinion. None of them really matter in the big picture of life, but all of them are important to me. And when they aren't important to other people, I get frustrated. I lash out. I defend my turf. And unfortunately, that is a reflection of the society we live in. We don't understand why people don't see things our way, and when they don't, it is our tendency to pronounce them WRONG instead of different. More and more individuals in our USAmerican society are seeking to proclaim things as black and white- but only by their definition of black and white. One political party is always right, the other always wrong. My way of doing communion is always right, and yours is always wrong. Downton Abbey fans see no possible reason anyone would ever watch The Walking Dead, and vice-versa. And I watch neither of them! As a result of this stubbornness, there is no longer any rational debate in our country about much of anything. I state my opinion, you state yours, and then we argue- with absolutely no chance of either of us ever admitting we are wrong, being willing to compromise or giving in to any form of enlightenment.

This best description of this attitude I have heard comes from the world's current greatest TV show, How I Met Your Mother (If you don't agree then we have nothing to talk about...oops...see what I mean?). The character of Robin, who is Canadian, is about to take her U.S. citizenship test, and Barney (played by Neil Patrick Someone) has been tutoring her- albeit about things no one really needs to know. He finally pronounces her ready, and then says he has one more question. The following conversation ensues:
Barney: Last question. Who is this?
[Holds up picture of Jim Varney]
Robin: That is the fine actor best known for the Hey Vern series of films. And his name is Jeff Foxworthy.
Barney: Wrong. It's Jim Varney.
Robin: It's Jeff Foxworthy, you idiot!
Barney: Robin, not only were you wrong, but you stubbornly stuck to your guns and insulted me in the process.
Barney: Congratulations, you ARE an American!

I am afraid that more and more that scene describes who we are becoming. When people disagree with us we grow angry, loud and defensive. It seems that far too often people choose arguing their point, their position and their opinions over seeking the truth. And if by some off chance someone can prove us wrong- well, there's always someone else to blame, isn't there?

I cannot fix this problem. I can, however, resolve to live with the understanding that there are many people who do not live, think or act the way I do. And that's perfectly okay. Everyone is not like me- and I thank God for that! Everyone has their own take on the issues of the day, both important and trivial. There is much to be learned from people who are different from me. We seem to have come to the conclusion that we are somehow tasked with making everyone believe the things we believe and enjoy the things we enjoy. Christians may be more guilty than most. My job, as a follower of Jesus, is not to change everyone I meet- it's to love them. And it's hard to love someone when you can only think of them as wrong. 

So to all of those people I felt superior to because they don't care about the same things I care about, I apologize. Except for the Twilight/Star Wars thing. I mean C'mon, man!

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous2/12/2014

    I can tell it's a great post, because I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's just so true. And I can't BELIEVE you don't watch The Walking Dead! ~ Chris Cooper

    1. Thanks, Chris. I also never saw a single episode of Breaking Bad. So I know I am on the "Stupid List" of millions!

    2. Anonymous2/12/2014

      You've never seen The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad? What are you- Quaker? Oh wait... ~CC

  2. You mean Dr. Doogie Howser is gay?! Great post and Jordan should have gone to Duke. Love ya friend.

    1. Thanks, Robert. And MJ at Dook = Dogs & Cats living together, mass hysteria, total chaos! It's just an evil thought, my brother!

  3. Anonymous2/12/2014

    A friend told me about this post. I am a first time visitor and I will be back. This is brilliantly written- both funny and poignant. And so very true, I am afraid. The loudest voice "wins" in our world today. Keep writing! - Elana Monterro

    1. Thank you for stopping by and for the kind words, Elana. Come back anytime!

  4. Jeremy2/12/2014

    Yes indeed. We always ride Pirates first.

    1. And Mr. Toad last. At least in the old days!

  5. I would have thought the same thing when they asked you about NPH! But you are so right about how we now view our opinions. I can't remember if I heard this from my pastor or from Pete Wilson, but one of them said the best thing you can ever say is "You may be right," when in an argument with someone.

    1. Amy, I often say the same thing but from the other direction. I remind myself in every situation that it is entirely possible that I may be wrong!


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