An other short article I wrote many years ago but which I am going to rescue from lost-blogsville and give some modern beauty treatment to.
Oddly enough, many of you might see some of my inspiration for this piece right away, others maybe not as quickly…
I look out on the world today at times, I read the papers, watch the news, surf the ‘net, take my hound for a drag and do anything which involves seeing and meeting people and I often wander if we see the person anymore, or do we see the label? Imagine one of those old fashioned brown paper parcel labels, tied at the corner with string, but man-sized, woman-sized, child-sized, covered in what we are and what we perceived as being.
I am a big brown paper parcel label with words writ upon me, carrying my own identity, my colour, my race, my preferences, the opinions of myself and others. Sometimes others will approach me and scribble or scrawl upon my surface their thoughts – Liberal, Foreign, Poet, Writer, Animal Lover, Nutter, Crazy, Fun, Mad, Straight, Gay?, Posh, Poor, rival, unimportant, Not Required – so on and so on and so on.
But who am I really? What makes me tick, what ties all of my label together? There is a writer’s joke I may just have made up (but how will you know); there are two kinds of book; there are those where words are thrown randomly together and somehow make vaguely interesting reading when one is bored and there are dictionaries. To be serious, though, what kind of story can you make without at least making some attempt to take all fo your scattered words and arrange them into some sort of order? A story is no good without a structure right? So a label just covered in random words….how would that work? Basing me on just what my label says wouldn’t come close to explaining who I really am would it? Maybe if it did, a lot of possible misunderstandings could be avoided… Let’s be honest here; we are very good at being superficial as a species. Of doing just the most basic flying browse of people’s labels, based on the largest or scariest words there recorded, words we are told about but may not adequately understand. Words like Moslem. Chrisitian. Socialism. Universal Healthcare. Freedom. Peace. Nazi. Fascist. Gay. Straight. We understand all of these badly most of the time. Seems we really don’t like to read the dictionary in order to form up a decent narrative doesn’t it?
Those words we have listed above are some of the most misunderstood words in the English language today. Most people are told what they mean and don’t even bother to check in the dictionary for themselves. We truly are in the Lazy Ages aren’t we? People prefer to do their research by proxy yet they sit there all smug and self-important like they came up with the idea all by themselves. My advice; do your research and then come back to me when you are better informed. Use the intelligence God gave to you!
So look, I am supposed to be a Christian because I believe in Yeshua ben Josua (aka Jesus Christ), God and the Bible (although I’m perfectly ready to accept said book is full of confusion, inconsistencies, plot holes, and terrible editing work). However I don’t believe in the need to attend a certain building or to belong to a group of hypocritical people who like to make things up which are not in aforementioned Bible. Techncially I am a Christian but what am I actually? See? Someone might have heard I write about Jesus occasionally and put the same thing on my label as might apear on the label of one of those American Fundie nutters who hate everyone who isn’t white, overweight and seriously into badly designed sweaters.
It’s easy to generalise, right? It’s also an awful thing to do because it leads to a lot of misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts. Compare the two following “labels”; this one for America itself. Two different people wrote about the same thing but how different are the words they used? Am I my label and what it says about me? Do I introduce myself to new people or do i stand there quietly while they read? Do I check what’s written or do I refuse to read and just say what I know?
Hmmmm interesting? What happens if I edit my label myself? What would happen were I to write down what I myself think and pay no regard for what others might say? Now that’s dangerous…deliciously dangerous perhaps? What complicates it even more is that different people read what is written in different ways……to some I am a good person, to others a nut, to some I am attractive, to others well… To some I am a kindred spirit, to others and enemy or an opposite……How am I to keep track of all of these things? I could edit my label maybe? I could correct some of the entries and set the record straight? How long would that take? So the appearance of my label changes over time anyway, the string gets longer or maybe frayed, perhaps it needs changing – maybe the style of the pen changes, from crayon, fibre tips, magic marker, biro, fountain pen(!) and back again……
All this creates the overall, the image….Sometimes people look at the style and look of the label and don’t even bother to read what is on it……How could I keep up? Should I wipe my label clean, change it for one of the nice shiny plastic ones I see here and there, upgrade? It does seem like the cultural nazis on either side of the great political divide want me to live my life one way or another…independant thought is not encouraged but conformity is….you have to freedom to express your individuality within preset templates.
Next I’m sure I’ll be accused of immorality because I let my dog parade around naked and will of course be responsible, in no small part, for the moral decline of some nation or another……Maybe I need a teflon label? Nothing seems to stick to those, I think there are politicians out there that use them……Io what to do with my label? Upgrade? Recycle? Repurpose? Edit? Translate? Update? Too late? Or should I take my label, hold it firmly in both hands and carefully, methodically, tear it into tiny, tiny little shreds?
#Labels #Label #stereotype #thoughts #social #philosophy #writers #outofthebox