La La How The Life Goes On

Pants on Fire

Posted on: December 12, 2011

Folks, I have a bee in my bonnet. ( I am trying to use fewer “vulgar” as my mom says, metaphors). My particular pet peeve is not only rampant in our society, it is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE! Friends, I’m having an ongoing hissy fit about intellectual dishonesty, otherwise known as inconsistency or hypocrisy.

It all begins with Bambina bellyaching about some girl at school she deems “bossy” and “always wanting to be the mom when we play Families and everyone else has to be the kids or babies.” think of it what you will, but “bossy” is a damning indictment among the second grade set. So now that Bossy Girl has been so named, everything she does irritates Bambina. Everything. Even stuff Bambina and her friends do on a minute to minute basis is an unconscionable act of moral turpitude when committed by Bossy Girl. So, in the interests of not raising a queen bee bitch, I not so gently point out this inconsistency to Bambina. No takers. “it’s not the same!”. She also talks trash about spoiled kids and in the same breath gasps with outrage that she can’t get a third American Girl doll. It got so bad for a time that I simply started saying, “all right, Veruca darling” in my best British accent whenever she’d bring the hypocrisy. She’d flip out at me, and then I’d explain how sometimes when you don’t like someone or are irritated with someone, every single normal thing they do is further proof that they are exactly the monster you think them to be. And yet we often put up with bad behaviors in people we like–including ourselves–because, well, we like them. If we are honest, we all do it. But I don’t want my daughter to do it unless she’s prepared to acknowledge the internal dishonesty it takes to maintain the practice. Either “spoiled” exists or it does not. Either “bossy” exists or it does not. Bambina’s gotta choose.

Think I’m a hardass? Well, you’re right. But just look around you and see the effects of this behavior on our larger civil society if not our personal relationships. Consider the intolerance we have for people we don’t like because they are not like us or they don’t think like us. Note the rapid shift in our political discourse from, “I disagree with every policy that guy has” to “he is a traitor, a liar, a despicable human being.” Or very honestly ask yourself why you create a terrible backstory in your head about the guy who just cut you off rather than assuming he made a mistake or wasn’t paying attention. If we cut someone off in traffic were all, “oops!” but if we get cut off, we are certain the person (insert ethnicity different from your own here) is a fucking moron who woke up today so he could wreck your commute.

So on a general level, we have stopped giving other humans the benefit of the doubt, and on a more specific level, it’s because we as individuals and a culture have succumbed to the lazy thinking on which intellectual dishonesty thrives. Why is it class warfare if we are aiming the remarks at rich people, but it’s just Newt Gingrich tellin’ the truth when he is aiming his remarks at poor people? Class warfare either exists or it does not. Believing in one but not the other is inconsistent, and please believe you’ll get grounded at Chez Jones for your intellectual laziness. Do the Obamas have too many Christmas trees at the White House because they don’t care about suffering Americans–or are they godless liberals who hate the Baby Jesus and therefore minimize the celebration of His birth at our nation’s home? Do we as a nation revere our military members and their families? Or do we dislike homosexuals regardless of their vocation? Do we truly believe WWJD or do we just like to wear bracelets while we talk smack about the poor, the hungry and the leper? Do we believe that a patriotic American believes in the precepts of our Constitution? Or do we think those opposed to prayer in school are unAmerican?

Our entire political and social landscape now seems to be predicated upon assuming the worst of others–and contorting ourselves to maintain our “beliefs” in the face of all evidence or examples to the contrary, even among those people we like. Well, I’m trying to do my small part to right the ship, simply by forcing myself and my family to get honest–or get mocked. Because the last thing America needs is one more spoiled, bossy citizen who yells “asshole!” at fellow motorists. Right, Veruca darling?

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