Broad Generalizations

Published by NateSean in the blog NateSean's blog. Views: 100

I don't want to get too descriptive about where this post comes from, as it might give someone the wrong idea.

But, the root of this issue has been a thorn in my side all my life really.

One thing my mother always tried to beat into my skull (and when she wasn't using her hands, her constant nagging voice was just as painful) is that broad generalizations make you sound arrogant.

Mind you, with her, there was no middle ground. Generalizations were wrong. Period.

I feel I'm a bit more liberal in my thinking. There's nothing wrong with feeling like you were the first or only person to do something. Sure, more people than Alexander Graham Bell had a hand int he creation of the telephone, but he got to the patent office first.

Columbus didn't discover America and he didn't discover that the world was round, but in Kindergarten he gets the credit for both.

So, from a very young age, the idea that only one person has ever done anything significant is embedded into our psyche until we are taught the idea of a big picture. That the unvierse is not so black and white and that X does not in fact mark the spot.

When we're a little older and capable of seeing the big picture, yes, generalizations can be a little arrogant. But if it's earned, I say go for it.

When Broad Generalizations get my goat, it's usually because someone has made a baseless assumption based on...well, nothing. Nothing except their own apparent bias.

People in employment agencies who refuse to show me a job listing because I don't drive, and by their assumption people who don't drive are clearly incapable of getting anywhere that is not on the bus line, for example.

It just irritates me when people make such black and white judgments. Not thinking for five seconds that maybe, just maybe, people are not card board cutouts and that just because you personally do not think a certain way, doesn't mean that other people might not.

They do the same thing when reading other people's stories. Take Sonny from A Series of Unfortunate Events for example.

I've only seen the movie, but the books follow the same principal that the baby, Sonny, speaks in baby language. We, the reader, and the brother and sister understand her perfectly but everyone else doesn't.

Some have criticized this as being unbelievable, or unrealistic. Again, a generalization by people who assume rather than having or presenting any basis for their reasoning. On the other hand, anyone who has lived with a baby long enough knows that while a baby may be speaking gobbeldigook, the people closes to her will understand what she wants.

The author (who does not look like Jude Law, btw) simply took that concept and expanded on it. And it's a children's series at any rate.

So if it's acceptable that a bunch of eleven year olds can go to a school where they learn how to turn their pets into goblets but not reading, writing and math, then Sonny and her siblings being Chewbaca and Han Solo is all right with me.

But then, I don't live with a constant case of tunnel vision.
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