May 21st, 2003

flavored with age


I'm sort of fascinated by the idea that people (myself included, of course) construct this world where they attribute to people these motivations those people may not have in the real world. It's a fascinating demonstration of the power of prejudicial thinking.

Just in the last 24 hours, I have had people burden me with a number motivations and ideas -- personal, political, critical -- that they seem to have invented out of whole cloth. An anonymous e-mailer accused me of racism based on a misreading of a piece I wrote a long time ago and which they found, out of context, in a Google search. A guy I know personally claimed a particular critical stance for me which I do not possess, based on my general intellectual interests. Someone I know only online attributed a motivation to my critical position on a particular movie to a critique of the director with which, though it's in common currency, I do not agree. And a political leader in my home state made a comment about people who opposed the Iraq war that could not be more at odds with my own experience.

I'm not really upset about these things; they're no more bullshit than any of a number of other shorthands we use in what passes for everyday thought. And, as I say, I do these things myself to greater or lesser degrees, as I imagine everyone does. Hardly a day passes where I don't analyze my own behavior based on what I think other people might think of it, or make a judgment of someone based on a very imperfect composite of personality traits I think they may possess. But I think it's fascinating, and it really hammers home the idea that what we consider the reality of our social relationships is almost entirely a fiction that we've authored inside our individual heads based on an assumptive reading of other people's fictions.
flavored with age

I'm callin' you out, Comcast

In non-bizarre-musings news, we have a new cable company, and they seem to be in the habit of shutting our service off without warning, either intentionally or accidentally. The old cable company seemed to be able to rectify service problems by fixing a switch, but Comcast apparently keeps their control mechanisms in Toronto, Canada and doesn't own a car, because it takes them 4 days to fix any problems that arise.

This is the third time this year that our cable company has changed, and it has gotten worse every time. Of course, I am assured by wise economic minds that the consolidation of owndership in media companies will ultimately benefit the consumer the most, so I have faith in the perfection of the market that the service will get much, much better any day now.