Friday, March 2, 2012
Is it more important to be kind or to be right?
To be kind or to be right?
For example, when your friend exclaims to you, "Wow, I sure loved that movie...expecially the part where the two dolphins played lawn darts," how do you respond?
Do you reply, "'Expecially' isn't a word, you simpleton, it's pronounced 'especially.' Now please rephrase your sentence using grammar appropriate to your third-grade-level command of the King's English."
Or do you say, "Yeah, those dolphins were so talented. I also loved it when they killed all those clowns."
Let's hope you choose the latter method, since, while you may assert your correctness in the pronunciation of a word, you'll also prevail as an elitist ass hat whose brilliance renders his friend's self esteem a bloody pulp.
This morning, I finished a book entitled "Wonder," by R.J. Palacio. It's the tale of August, a boy born with profound facial birth defects and his introduction to mainstream education at age ten.
Recommended by my sister who's read every book written since the age of papyrus, this novel is aimed at middle grade readers, yet it gobsmacked this so-called adult like a punch in the trachea.
It's not only the story of a young man faced with massive physical and social obstacles, it also addresses the challenges to those around him who must choose between kindness and the all-too-familiar fear of middle school ostracization.
In other words, there are consequences to befriending a "freak," that kindness is not cool for school.
It was a timely lesson in light of a few comments made yesterday by Rush Limbaugh. He opined on the testimony of third-year Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, who stated during an unofficial congressional hearing that her private Jesuit university's health plan does not provide free contraception, but should since public institutions already do.
Conservative commentator Limbaugh, addressing her assertions that fellow students pay as much as a thousand dollars a year for birth control, stated, "She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute."
Whether or not you agree with the politics of this issue... he called her a slut.
I've often heard this guy referred to as an entertainer, that this shock is his shtick.
That he invites this controversy because it gets us talking and attracts listeners to his radio show and readers to his books.
That he's not really like this personally.
Well, here's the thing: I don't care if he secretly donates millions of dollars a year to Planned Parenthood; his vitriol and misogyny cause real damage. He incites hatred, blame and division in an era when sensationalism, bullying, name calling, ratings and dollars trump reason.
When they smother kindness.
Rush Limbaugh should be the last guy to hurl such insults when he's toting more baggage than a Real Housewife on a weekend trip to Sedona.
So, so many epithets could boomerang right back in his face, like that he's a gooey, racist, thrice-divorced hillbilly heroin addict who can only get it up with the help of a pharmaceutical Genie Lift after he pries it, panting heavily, from its inverted position in the sweaty subterranean regions of his overlapping ab flaps.
But I won't say that. I'm too kind.