Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Judging the judgmental.

People often claim to be nonjudgmental. This is a bunch of hogwash.

I have never met anyone who is truly nonjudgmental. I will admit it. I judge people. I don't tolerate stupidity or covert racism disguised as economics and politics (this is far more insidious, in my view, than overt racism). I can't deal with people who would prefer to sacrifice civil rights in the name of public safety. And I can't stand those who judge people.

Hypocritical, I know.

Still, I have a hard time judging someone for being a drug addict. I cannot judge someone who has racked up an extensive criminal record because he has not been afforded equal opportunity or education (those who grow up in the 'hood have never learned that it is not "normal" to steal or use drugs -- these notions don't exist for people who have no role models that haven't served prison time). There are many issues on which reasonable people can disagree, and for the most part, I tend to leave these people alone. As long as folks aren't hurting others, I could give a rat's patootie how they live their lives.

But what irks me are those with highfalutin ideals who feel people should follow suit. I recently encountered the music videos of someone I went to high school with. I will ignore, for a moment, how grating her voice is and her two-dimensional-yet-trying-hard-t0-be-evocative lyrics. I will discuss, instead, the "message" she attempts to send.

In one song, she talks disparagingly about those who get by on their good looks and who are vain. What she seems to fail to understand is that not everyone in this world is smart. Not everyone can go to college or get an advanced degree. Not everyone, like her, came from White suburbia where knowledge and education were valued. And so, people are forced to get by on what they have. If someone has nothing more than good looks, what's wrong with getting by on them? Getting by on good looks is probably safer than turning tricks for crack in a back alley (which many of my and my husband's clients have done). If a person wants plastic surgery and can afford to get it, why should she give a fuck? Why should she care that people don't concentrate on expanding their minds? Some people honestly don't have that much of a mind to expand. There should be no shame in being intellectually average or less-than-average. If you got it, work it. Do what works for you.

In another song, this singer/songwriter talks about how she was called a "human Barbie doll" in high school because she was so delicate and slender. Oh, horrors of horrors! I wonder if anyone ever called her "fattie." Or "kike dyke." Or "retard." I got all of those, and yet I don't lament about it over a decade later. In the same song, she states how she was "hurt" and "irked" (newsflash: these words don't fucking rhyme, Ms. Not Getting By On Her Looks But Using Her Mind) when boys told her that cheerleading wasn't a sport. And then she states how she was a cheerleader because she "didn't know better."

I have several friends who were cheerleaders when they were younger. Perhaps they didn't know better, either. But they are damned good people now. The self-deprecation regarding cheerleading status is interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the fact that the worst thing that apparently ever happened to this girl was being called a "human Barbie doll." Lady, if that's the worst thing that's ever happened in your life, consider yourself lucky. You are wholly judgmental.

But so am I. I'm just not so fucking self-righteous about it. And I don't pretend it's something it's not. It's judgment.