This post is in response to a re-blog that I did a few days ago, about “responsible self-promotion.” https://genderate.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/responsible-self-promotion
One of the countless things my children find annoying about me is that I so easily slip into “Lecture Mode,” as they call it. I admit it, and add that I often want to butt-in to random conversations at times…in restaurants, at the Mall, in grocery store check-out lines, holiday dinners, on airplanes, in waiting rooms.
I know in my heart that when I over-hear someone say “I wonder where these bluejeans REALLY come from?” or “Why is there a U. S. military base on Guantanamo?” The asker does not really want to know the answers to those questions. They don’t want a stranger sharing information about Cuba being part of the spoils in the Spanish American War, or that there was a lease ending in 1999 that would have returned the land to the Cubans. They don’t want to hear about the Cuban Missile Crisis and how my husband was in the army at the time and how scared I was that the crisis would end in a war with the Soviet Union. They especially don’t want to hear about how I was waiting in the car at a convenience store when the news broadcast announced the start of the Cuban Revolution.
Back to the bluejean question…they don’t want to hear about the maquiladora (factory in Chiapas, Mexico where workers stand on tile floors for hours on end, manufacturing sweaters and other garments for the likes of Tommy Hilfeger, The Gap, and other high-end manufacturers who employ cheap labor at horrendous conditions. They especially don’t care that I actually saw those people in that factory with my own eyes.—and have photos of them.
“Is that poison ivy?” They don’t want to hear about the agonies of poison ivy, how it is contacted by humans, how long it lasts, or that it isn’t contagious per se. They don’t care that I had it so bad I almost rubbed my skin raw because of the itching …but my baby daughter didn’t get it at all. I hear them asking other people, who shrug and say “I don’t know…but don’t toucth ME!”
My favorite is the wide-spread use of photos of the MAYA pyramid at Chichen Itza, mis-identified as AZTEC. No matter how many times this error is committed…it is never corrected. Ditto that the Aztec Sun Stone, or Aztec Calendar, is NOT the “Mayan Calendar.” They don’t give two hoots or a holler that the Ancient Maya and the Aztecs were not contemporaries, lived in different locations, or that they were separate and not-even-close in culture.
So what? It just seemed appropriate to discuss “informed comments.”
Is it ever proper to interrupt a conversation between strangers (or anyone) to correct some non-fact: “Look! There’s Bob Dole!” NO, it’s Jeb Bush!
What are the moral implications of not correcting two women who walk by you, arguing loudly about something that supposedly happened at a school board meeting, and YOU were there and know exactly what happened, and YOU were personally involved?
Does being informed about something give the right (or obligation) to interject information without being asked? (Not counting the implied moral responsibility to warn of an impending car crash!)
If stranger is talking to someone—not ME—and asks a direct question, should I butt-in without being asked? In fact—does the stranger have a moral obligation to heed contributed conversation?