May 30, 2013 by themommahen
I don’t watch The Voice, but I couldn’t miss hearing about it everywhere I looked today. Apparently, Adam Levine of Maroon 5 muttered in frustration under his breath, “I hate this country,” after two members of his team were eliminated. He’s now being heavily scrutinized, if not skewered and grilled, for those words. I don’t care one way or the other about Adam Levine. But I care a great deal about common sense and civil discourse.
As The Husband would say, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Frustration sometimes is simply frustration and not an obscure reference to a plot to overthrow any government or plan some major coup. Are we so sensitive now that what someone says on a bad day directly impacts and offends us? I’m guilty of this. (The Husband will also tell you this.) I sometimes infer or interpret other people’s words (or lack thereof) as a direct attack on me or something I hold dear when in fact, they’re just trying to have a conversation, albeit an impassioned or enthusiastic one.
The real problem as I see it, and I could be wrong here, is that more and more we talk to others in a way that leaves absolutely no room for any other opinion or viewpoint. Or we make it clear that any other perspective is wrong. Add to this that our discourse often devolves into name-calling, mud-slinging and finger-pointing tirades punctuated with 10-cent words that inflame rather than bridge, and well, I guess it only makes sense that lately it seems like we only want to have conversations with people or listen to others if they agree with what we say and say what we agree with. Add to that the anonymity factor of social media and multiply it by mistaken context, tone and meaning that all contribute to people not wanting to listen to anyone or anything anymore, and we have a serious problem with dialogue.
Maybe some of us are too sensitive and thin-skinned. Maybe some of us are too insensitive and brash. Maybe both. While we all say we can agree to disagree, our own words and actions seem to say that we can only disagree to agree on anything.