Inside Objecting

Some ado about somethings

What genre fiction is not….

It seems to me that there is an embracing within the world of letters towards the marketing dynamics called Genre Fiction.  While I understand the concept of marketing novels into genres such as Mysteries, Romances, Fantasy, and Science Fiction, I think this does these works a disservice and slights the authors who write and then have novels published in these genres.

I think that it is acceptable that a book publisher and a book store should choose to market a novel within a genre.  This aids the consumer in finding and selecting works that they may wish to purchase and read.  However, for authors to self identify their works or their style within these genres is perhaps counterproductive to the writing process.  I wonder why they would seek the solace of a genre and then the question becomes if there is Genre Fiction, as opposed to what?  Some other kind of Fiction?  Is that meant to be Literature?  Is what is being said that Genre Fiction is not Literature or what is actually being said when we say Genre Fiction? An adjective divides the world into what something is versus what something is not.  A red car is red. Many things we do not know about this car, but one thing we know for certain is that the red car is NOT the blue car.  So, what is Genre Fiction not?

General Labels

No, General Labels isn’t yet another General wrapped up in the Pentagon sex scandal.

I was listening to a program today, recording a few weeks ago before the election, on the differences in thinking between folks from “Red” states vs “Blue States”. While there are many substantive issues that separate these people, they have one major thing in common.

They generalize and label the others as “out of touch”, or “not open minded”, or in a strange corner case, both sides compare the others to Nazis. Now, neither of them are Nazis, of course. But the similarity in both sides is that they don’t want to think about the substantive and quantifiable differences. Rather they label the other side and in this generalizing and labelling can keep the people at an arm’s length and not have to even consider their positions.

Why is this ok to do? or better yet, why do thinking, reasoning people think that this is ok? Do they not realize what they are doing?

I was helping someone I work with recently with some email communications with another party that they needed to forward some things to that were being transitioned from one group to another. The receiving party was struggling with what they were getting. Not understanding what was expected or needed and getting frustrated. When it came down to it, it was because the person sending it was including instructions – orders, if you will – on *what* was to be done with them. I’m sure the sending party did this to be helpful – but it wasn’t. So, I counselled them to refrain from using any verbs in the email. So, send the information, give some context and background, but refrain from telling people what to do.

In thinking about the Red state/Blue state issue, when you hear people being described by the verb “to be” – as in Liberals ARE this that or the other – or Conservatives ARE something or another. Then this is a generization and these should be shunned in any form of communication. Generalizations of this sort are bad. And that’s the truth.

Reaching across the aisle

When we say that we want politicians who can reach across the aisle, what do we really mean?

Reach across the aisle and do what?

I think perhaps this second question is the one that gets asked with the least frequency. Not even to ourselves so that we don’t even really understand what we mean by this expression of bi-partisanship.

In thinking about this I think what some people think reaching across the aisle means is that you have strong skills in reaching out to your political opponents and convincing them of *your* position. Meaning you have strong skills in persuasion.

What I think some people *don’t* think this means is that you reach across the aisle and in the spirit of give-and-take you meet your opponent somewhere in the middle. Thus you will agree to positions that you don’t normally agree to in the process of getting your opponent to agree to positions that they don’t normally agree to. Neither of you get all of what you want – and some of what you end up you don’t like- but you have reached across the aisle and met them in the middle.

What happens, I think, is that people think that they want this to happen until their leader agrees to something in the spirit of bi-partisanship that violates one of their own litmus tests. Perhaps abortion (pro-choice or anti-abortion) is your own litmus test. You are “for” your politician reaching across the aisle as long as they don’t violate your position on abortion – then it is very *not* OK. It is ok to reach across the aisle to try to convince your opponent to agree with your position – but it is not OK to meet them half way. There is no halfway in abortion – or whatever the issue might be.

What happens then is that politicians are less likely to reach across the aisle because in doing so they will violate *someone’s* litmus test and then they will have a bunch of negative ads or be accused of a being a flip-flopper or not a true conservative (or liberal).

I don’t really see the spirit of our congress getting to be more bi-partisan until we stop penalizing them for doing so.

Mastering the Test

How do you deal with test anxiety? Does being anxious make you better at a test or worse? Is test anxiety part of the fight/flight behaviour?

I don’t really know – I’m sure there is tons of research on it as well as volumes of self-help books – but at the end of the day, we must all find a way to be our own best teachers. To internalize and integrate into our lives the lessons that we have understood.

I continue to learn and consequently to not internalize and integrate the knowledge that my anxiety about testing makes me perform at less than peak possible progress. I passed the practical part (driving) of my UK driver’s license exam today. I passed with 4 minor faults – I think you can have up to 15 minor faults and still pass. So, 4 is pretty good. Not flawless – but reasonable for someone who has been driving for 31 years.

However, this is the second time I took the test. I failed the first time.

I failed with the same number of faults, 4. Three were minor and one was a serious fault that required failure of the test. It was not a dangerous situation – but was clearly (even to me) a serious fault. But rather than dwell on why I failed, I’d rather think now on why I passed – or even why I didn’t pass before? (nb: this is a different view from why I failed)

I relaxed. I allowed myself the liberty of taking my time (within reason) and didn’t try to force anything or rush though it. As a consequence, I got the same number of faults – as i am still the same driver – but none were serious. So, why do I still need to remind myself to relax? Why are we not taught from an early age how to test? To master the test?

When I was in college first, I did poorly – even by my standards as I didn’t put enough effort into it and as such couldn’t make hide nor hair of the tests. I dropped out and went back to college 6 years later. I still didn’t put enough effort into my classes – but – I did much better on the tests. For at least this kind of testing, I had figured it out to some extent. I had learned how to listen and be aware of what was likely to be asked of me (“Is this going to be on the test?|”). If you have to ask that, you will surely fail.

Do we ever learn this? Is there perhaps a benefit to subjecting our children to battery after battery of standardized tests only because it gives them test taking skills that they will need in this life where we are constantly, throughout life, measuring ourselves in one test or another. I guess we just have to get used to it.

Irksome things

One of the things that I find irksome is when I’ve spent numerous hours, well many hours, ok some hours, fine….a few minutes thinking of some concept that seems that no one has ever thought about something this way before only to find out that not only has some one already thought of it, but there is actually a word for it and it was commonly discussed in the 19th century. I’m catching up, I guess, at least I’m not reinventing ideas formulated by Irish monks in the 11th century.
The idea is that primarily there are two kinds of people in the world – much like Sherman Alexie posits – and they are those that think life and human life are two (or more) things – that is a body and a mind, a body and a soul, man and god – and those that understand that existence is really just one thing. A spectrum surely but not a duality but a monistic (as in single) view of the world.
Falling into the latter camp I find it equally irksome that people who are dualists don’t even understand that they are different in this fundamental way from the rest of us. The fact that there is a body and a soul is a given to them and they think the argument is just about which god(s) control the various bits of our dual existence. I find it irksome that they are so – and that there was a whole school of thought called Monism that I had never heard of and thought I invented myself.

Binder full of women

What would you do with a binder full of women? Is that even the correct plural of that? A murder of crows, a flock of seagulls, and a binder full of women. I’m sure I read that somewhere.

If that remark was meant to sway female voters, does it really hit the target? I think perhaps not. People can generally understand when they are being pandered to. So, it must be for men who might be swayed by not wanting to vote for him, but this lets them salve their consciences that he isn’t that bad kind of man. The truth is probably somewhere in between. If he wins, he probably will do little to advance equal rights – but probably won’t do much to remove the areas that have been addressed so far. His concern is really about money and whatever will make his handlers more. Equal rights is neutral to these economic concerns and is really just him pandering to the religious right. Why they do not see this is a mystery. Or perhaps they do, but don’t really care.

Restarting Blog

Here I am restarting this blog again. Not sure what I want to write about or share with the world, but I guess I’ll figure it out as I go along. Like most things.