Aug 18, 2009

Young Mr. Noah started kindergarten yesterday. When I spoke with him yesterday afternoon, he was very excited about his first day. This morning his uncle Tim took him to school because Daughter Sneed is teaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays at a local college. Noah was decidedly unenthusiastic about going to school for a second day, apparently believing that one day of education should be enough for anyone. His mom picked him up early at school for his doctor's appointment and she reported that he didn't want to leave, so that's a good sign. I'm reading a book called, In Praise of Doubt. It is about how modern mass communication and living in a plural society makes us question the "certainties" that we thought were true. And how that is a good thing. Every one of us who has every been a bigot or has been close to a bigot knows that, "All {fill in the group} are {fill in the negative attribute}. That is except the people from that group that we know. They are the exception to our stereotype. From a religious perspective, it is easy to see why churches use the themes like the only "true church" or the "only true God" to reinforce their particular brand of belief. And why they decry the ills of modern society and the threat it represents. It is a very thought-provoking book. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

8 comments:

Barbara said...

Stereotyping, subscribing to absolutes, and looking down one's nose usually lead to trouble. Sounds like an interesting book. Maybe it should be required reading for a large segment of our society?

I hope young Noah loves kindergarten as much as I did.

Kurt said...

My rule is that you can only stereotype a group if you see two people from that group exhibit a behavior. Then you can say they all do it.

Megan said...

I will have to check out that book.

Congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Noah.

Reya Mellicker said...

The book sounds really interesting. I think media, etc. have created both doubt and zealous certainty. There are many folks who read only sites that are in total alignment with what they already believe, and then become extra zealous. I cite the "boycott Whole Foods" campaign on FB recently. Only one person I spoke with had actually read the editorial that caused all the furor. They just saw something on the internet about it, picked up their torches and got ready to riot.

Such a weird moment in history. I miss Walter Cronkite.

Steve said...

I think Reya is right -- the media is partly responsible for zealotry, by simplistically reporting "both sides" of an issue (as if there are only two sides, rather than unending varieties of perspectives) and limiting their coverage to simple stories that are easily told, preferably with video ("if it bleeds, it leads"). The media is not big on nuance.

Personally, I think doubt and skepticism are always healthy. There's an old axiom in the newspaper industry: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out."

Annie Ha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie Ha said...

I know Kurt won't acknowledge my existence, and that's okay, but I gotta say, that was a pretty funny comment there, Kurt!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

ah so many books, so little time....

thanks for the head's up on "in praise of doubt".... just checked out who wrote the book and see it's co-authored by peter berger - I'm happy to learn berger is still writing. his book "the social construction of reality" was my personal theoretical 'bible' when I was in graduate school.

out of curiosity, how long a day is kindergarten there in hooterville - half day or full day?