Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Misperceptions: Looking at Things in a Roundabout Way

Listening to and reading the recent monologues about American politics - and other issues around the world - is exasperating. Not necessarily because I don't like the way things are going (it's a mixed bag) but more because of the way the media and social media posters seem to come at every topic with a preconceived bias.

I say monologues because I see very few people having a true dialogue. Most are talking past each other and not bothering to listen to any view that may even slightly disagree with the conclusions they have leaped to.

As we were driving to the beach today, a small caravan in front of us suddenly turned left, going the wrong way around the roundabout. Unbadged road patrol that I am, I immediately started to object, and had I been the car behind him I probably would have mashed the horn. (In the interests of safety, of course.) But as the caravan cleared the roundabout, I saw beyond the reason the driver had taken this seemingly illegal and perilous course: there was construction on the far side of the roundabout which precluded him for going the right way round. Sheepishly, I ended up doing the same thing as he, then noticed the temporary traffic light that I had missed entirely.

Seems to me that's what most folks are doing these days. They see a photo or video or comment, immediately apply their hate filter, and offer an interpretation that may or may not be supported by the complete reality of the circumstance. The media selects a few facts that fit their desired narrative, and ignore other facts (not alternative facts but inconvenient ones which don't fit for them). Drudge posts a click-bait headline which turns out either unsupported by the linked story or is some minor scene in the story.

If I happen to challenge some biased story or post, I am labeled as a Trump supporter and therefore an object of scorn by more liberal friends. (I am not a DJT fan, as those who read more than one of my posts will know.) If I say something against the Donald, my conservative friends think I have gone off the deep European socialist end. (I haven't, but living in Europe has certainly broadened my world view.)

My overriding interest is challenging unsupported bias and attempting to interject some balance into the discussion. I know ... hopeless quest.

And then, sometimes I just like to stir things up.

For another roundabout view, read Donna-Lane's dueling blog: http://theexpatwriter.blogspot.fr/2017/01/judgment.html

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