Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Just Like The Real Thing

I have had some interesting conversations in the past with some people who can't tell the difference between something real and something that's "just like it".

I had one conversation one time with a lady who told me that having one boy call another boy a "sissy" in a movie was violence against women. Astonished, I asked her a few questions to clarify her position:
Me: So you're saying that if a boy calls another boy a sissy, that's the same as if a woman was hit in the face?
Her: Yes.
Me: No difference whatsoever?
Her: No difference.
Me: Is the name calling just like violence, comparable or analogous to violence; or is it actually violence?
Her: It's actually violence.

I had a neighbor once whose husband beat her. She came out of her house with a face made of ground beef and her nightgown on inside out screaming "Call the cops!" The husband had already woken us up by throwing his wife against the wall between our apartments. We heard her hit it and slide down it. I wonder if she would prefer that treatment, or being called a "sissy". Because, for this woman I was talking to, it'd be sixes. (Oddly enough, though, the woman was able to tell the difference between word problems on her math homework and real life problems.)

Everybody needs a world view, a way to organize all the information that comes flooding in through our eyes and minds. But if your world view throws name calling in the same mental basket with actual violence (and not even on different sides of the same basket either), there is something seriously wrong with it. Even the law distinguishes between violent acts and the threat of violent acts. Hell, even kids can make a distinction between actually hitting someone and playing a video game. Why, then, does the world contain numbers of people who can't tell the difference between violence and things that are only comparable or analogous to violence? Do these same people not make brand distinctions because generic grape juice is "just like" brand name grape juice (if you ignore the sediment in the bottom)? Do they wear rags because one shirt is just as good as another? Do they drive at all, because a car is a bike is a nice long walk? Or is their inability to make a distinction limited solely to politically correct and/or feminist doctrines?