2004/07/26

Everything? Really?

J likes to watch Fox & Friends in the morning while we get dressed and ready for work.  Background noise to me for the most part, because I drive 54 miles every morning to work.  I don't have a whole lot of time in the mornings.  However, sometimes little snippits catch my attention.  Today's eye-grabber was some group of wealthy people telling me why I should vote donk.  In the middle of this blather was good old Danny Glover, everybody's favorite ex-spokesman.  He made the somewhat startling (to me, anyway) statement that "Everything you do is a political act."

Wow. I received my undergraduate degree at one of the hotbeds of liberalism in Texas, (yes, there are a few), so I'm not unfamiliar with the old bromide that "the personal is political".  But everything?  That's a pretty broad range.  I was unaware that the entirety of my existence is a political act.  That set me to thinking about the vast array of activities that a person might engage in during the course of the day.

So with this in mind, I have a few acts that I would like some clarification about.  I realize that the PoMo crowd will argue meaning is contextual and must be read in the correct idiom with an eye to the appropriate power relationships involved.  Great.  I'd still like to know what possible political meaning is conveyed by the following:
  • Sneezing.
  • Picking one's nose.
  • Masturbating.
  • Urinating.
  • Defecating.
  • Burping.
  • Sleeping.
  • Smoking a cigarette.
  • Eating.

Really, people.  Not everything is a political act, anymore than everything is a form of communication.  I realize my list is the reductio ad absurdum of Mr. Glover's statement, but the statement is so absurd it doesn't need much help.  All other things aside, you do yourself, your argument, and by extension, your side no favors when you make ridiculous statements.  Nobody is going to focus on your argument when they can spend time mocking you for acting like an idiot.  Well, somebody might, but I won't.

For a case study of this effect, I reccommend the Libertarian Party at all levels.  The LP comes across as a bunch of loons, so no one ever pays attention.  (And the disaster that has been LP foreign policy since 9/11 isn't helping.)  Presentation matters, almost as much as actual content.  You have to get people to look at your content before they can be persuaded.  When you immediately come across as a jackass or a buffoon, they tune you out and go on with life. 

2 Comments:

Blogger maudy said...

my teacher in high school taught me that political act is an act that human does in purpose. everything human does has its own purpose. so my teacher thinks that yes, everything human does is a political act. well, i'm just telling u what my teacher said. i, myself, am with u :)

2:11 PM  
Blogger J said...

Hmmm...I'm thinking that every time I take a crap or pick my nose, I'm producing another potential voter for the Democrat party.

3:55 PM  

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