Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This ain't no novel

People are jaded. People are jaded by thoughts they've formed without all the information they needed to form them. That's one thing I have learned since starting to write for Community Free Press - Midweek, and believe me, I've learned a lot (thanks, Mert).

There are a lot of things I thought I knew that I didn't know at all, but let me explain something else, too. People can also be jaded by talking to the very people they report on, or maybe jaded isn't the right word, more like impressed, swayed, biased or shmoozed, something like that. At least I am susceptible to being schmoozed because I really want to like people and I suspect a lot of reporters grapple with that issue every day.

I heard somebody on the Vincent David Jericho program on KSGF this morning make the statement that we should be suspicious of government but not cynical, that becoming cynical can do more harm than good (or something like that). I think that deserves a bit of thought. Suspicion is the:

1. act of suspecting; imagination of the existence of guilt, fault, falsity, defect, or the like, on slight evidence or without evidence. Source: my American College Dictionary, Random House - New York, copyright, 1947.

To be a cynic is to be:

1. a sneering faultfinder; one who doubts or denies the goodness of human motives, and who often displays his attitude by sneers, sarcasm, etc. Source: same as above (I love my old dusty dictionary).

I think being suspicious might be suspecting someone but being willing to accept the facts if they don't line up with one's suspicions. Being a cynic, I think, might be an unwillingness to accept the facts at all if they don't support what one wants to believe, which, apparently, is always the worst. I surely wouldn't want to develop the nasty habit of being a cynic. A cynic doesn't seem like a very attractive thing to be.

The fact is: I like people and I like to think the best of them. I like to think that people can disagree and people can do ill advised things for honorable reasons or, if the things they do are simply inexcusable, out of ignorance and that when they know better they'll want to do the right thing, but, in all honesty, that isn't always the case. Sometimes people choose not to do the right thing for less than honorable reasons. I could give some examples where I suspect that has happened in this very city with people in high positions but I'd prefer to just enjoy this little exercise in a more general sense and save the rest of it for sometime when I have real facts instead of suspicions.

So, now you think about it. Do you have a suspicious mind or are you a cynic? I wouldn't wish being a cynic on anyone, that seems like it would be a very unhappy attitude.

I think we should probably all give each other a chance until we can prove our suspicions are more than just suspicions.

...and sorry, maybe this was boring. I was just thinkin' and didn't want anyone to get the impression I was working on my next novel. ;)


Дж. Хьюз said...

Funny you should mention this. I was just discussing Michelle Obama's "pride" statement over at Jason's blog. Stupid, yes. But indicative of the entire Obama campaign's mindset? I couldn't be that cynical - and I didn't even vote for the guy. I'm sad to say one of the interlocutors over there disagrees pretty emphatically with me. Which, in the end, is his or her problem. Not mine.

Jason said...

Exactly. It may be Michelle Obama's mindset...after all, she said it...but you can't take what she said and say it's automatically what the entire campaign believes.

There are a lot of cynics in Springfield. We need more people who are curious. I don't really want to say suspicious because that implies you think something's not right. Curious...wanting to be informed...that's a good place to be.

Jacke M. said...

Can you imagine being in the position that some people are in? Worrying about every single word they say? I'm not excusing Michele Obama, stupid words, but you know, who hasn't said stupid words at some point in their lives?

One thing that such scrutiny does is cause people to say a whole lot less and not be so "off the cuff," and maybe that's not a bad thing, words are important and can bear great consequences so thought needs to be given to them, but I hate thinking I have that effect on people. Now, I find I'm under the same scrutiny from them and so, it DOES have the effect of causing me to post a lot less than I used to and though I used to worry about everything I posted I worry even more now.

Today, at the council luncheon a council member made the comment that they'd probably get "hate mail" for saying something and glanced back my way! Geesh, do you think what I write is the same as "hate mail???!" Oh my gosh. Or has this council member gotten hate mail or other council members gotten hate mail because of something I have written???! I find either scenario hard to believe. Am I naive?

Jacke M. said...

Jason, that's what was surprising to me to have that Council member glance back my way. I usually form things as questions at my blog BECAUSE I am curious and I understand that being curious goes hand in hand with suspicion but when did asking questions constitute "hate mail?" That is, if the member meant ME, I'm considering calling to find out what THAT was about.

Jason said...

Maybe that council member had received hate mail from someone who saw something on your blog and took it too far. I could see someone reading a post about some upcoming event, add their own biases and opinions and then send a rant saying "I saw on JackeHammer that..."

It would have anything to do with you per se.

Jacke M. said...

I don't really think it's something I'm going to spend a whole lot of time worrying about.

I guess it goes with the territory, huh?

Дж. Хьюз said...

Jason, I agree that curiosity is a more accurate term for what Jacke is talking about. I would guess that either or both of you could be counted on to cancel every vote I have taken since moving here, but you were both on my first blogroll ever because you can both argue your points and listen to others' points. There are bloggers with opinions close to mine whom I have not blogrolled because of their inability to listen.

Jacke M. said...

"you can both argue your points and listen to others' points."

Hey! You tryin' to schmooze me, boy??? ;)