A Glass of Chianti

Sunday, June 05, 2005

On Labels - Not All Alcoholics Drink Gin

I'm involved in an industry (music education - double whammy!) where it is quite unusual to find a conservative. So unusual, in fact, that it is usually assumed by my colleagues that I am a Bush-hating intellectual when political discussions arise. Likewise, my friends from high school will often assume that I feel a certain way on a given issue, knowing my Republican cheer leading in the past, and bend the conversation in that direction. Indeed, when I mention that Atlas Shrugged was a pivotal book in my life, my libertarian-leaning friends think I am a kindred spirit who needs to break free from the shackles of the Republican party.

Now, all of this is a prelude to a (I imagine) recurring posting theme. It's been bubble gum for my brain for a while, and I think this new blog presents the perfect opportunity to go public with it and see where this thought meets its natural end.

I consider labels to be important, unlike a lot of people in my age bracket if you listen to the polls. We all have certain labels that describe us - daughter, Methodist, lawyer, fan, creative punctuationist - they all describe some role that we play or an aspect of our personality. Now, just because one is a mother, for example, doesn't mean that she is just like another woman who is a mother as well. They may have drastically different parenting philosophies. One woman might have become a mother and embraced it as a great blessing while another views her role as a cross to bear.

Not all mothers have sons.
Not all alcoholics drink gin.

I view labels, especially in the political world as seating sections at a baseball game. You can't know much about a man just because he sits in a certain section. You only know that he is sitting there. The important part comes if you can find out he chose that section. Ticket price? View of a favorite player in the outfield? Tradition? Proximity to an exit? In most cases, I imagine, there are a variety of factors that go into the decision. Maybe the man really like the third baseman but view the price of a ticket on the line as more important so he sits further up, but with a good view of his favorite player. In this case, you know what the man will and won't do (as a fan) based on his philosophy. He still has something in common with his section-mates (and more than likely, at least a couple of things) so you can draw a limited picture of the section, but you can't assume that just because a lot of people in his section sit there based solely on access to the snack bar that he did, too.

Inspired by real life events too boring to blog, yet too fascinating to ignore.

And so part one, in an occasional series, ends.