A couple of years ago, an episode of South Park mocked the superiority complex some people projected after purchasing the then-fairly-new hybrid cars. In order to get his friend's family to return to the town of South Park, Colorado, from San Francisco, the character of Stan writes a song to encourage everyone in town to buy hybrid cars. As people begin to buy the cars en masse, those who own the hybrids brag about how environmentally aware they are compared to the rest of the townspeople. Their attitudes create a "cloud of smug" that threatens to blend with a cloud of smug traveling from San Francisco to create a weather phenomenon they dubbed, "The Perfect Storm of Self Satisfaction." My husband and I laughingly refer back to this episode once in a while, attempting to keep ourselves from becoming too self-righteous.
It does not escape me, however, that this blog potentially smacks of self-righteousness. I have the same problem at work, I think. My coworkers haven't accused me of being smug, but I get the distinct impression that no one cares about my opinions on the environment, or better business practices, or any of my other favorite topics. If anything, the fear of sounding smug has made me self-conscious. How do I advocate within this blog for what I believe is right and even necessary without sounding like Bill O'Reilly? Setting the tone: this is my goal.
No one, as my husband reminded me today, likes to have someone point out when he or she is wrong or doesn't know something. Just like most bloggers, though, I spend a great deal of word work attempting to convince people that I've looked at the world, carefully considered what I saw, and this opinion here: it's worth reading! Therefore, while I acknowledge all of our tendencies to read things that reinforce our beliefs, I hope people with a variety of opinions read this and engage in the discussion. Questioning our own ideas will only help us come up with better ideas. Stretching our brains is like stretching our bodies: sometimes it's invigorating, sometimes it's exhausting, but it creates agility that keeps life interesting.
It sucks to be right child, at least most of the time. People don't always want to listen to you because it makes them uncomfortable. Knowing they're wrong is acceptable. Correcting what is wrong is not. Too much work. Keep on keepin' on! People may not want to change, but making them uncomfortable is a good start.
I didn't know O'Reilly was perceived as smug. I'm aware that people find me sometimes condescending. I can show respect to someone whether their politics or interests differ from my own but where I see something as factual, I always have to address it. I know that nobody likes to feel like they are being schooled but, I don't understand why it has such bad implications. I like Dr. Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory when he says,"How else are they going to learn?" When I'm corrected, I'm relieved to be better educated. I question whose more smug, the educator or the person who takes offense to being corrected?
I guess that would be "who's". :) See? Nobody's perfect!!
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