So many issues in life are not simply black and white.
Our society is incredibly and beautifully complex, and it’s not always possible, or even preferable, to divide things into two clean columns. Whether you’re deciding on the moral decency of the death penalty, debating nature vs. nurture, or ranking the deliciousness level of a queso, the truth is almost always broader, richer, and “grayer” than we give it credit for.
On the other hand, a lot of things in life really are dichotomous.
Call me divisive, but I do think that some issues can be split into black/white, either/or categories, and there’s simply no room for “happy mediums” or shades of gray.
Things such as:
• The Friendliness of Squirrels
All squirrels are either lovely woodland creatures straight from Snow White who come up to you with their tiny little squirrel faces, and are so cute that you just want to put a couple of them in the pocket of your sweatshirt and take them home and make them your babies and live happily ever after, and they’re totally worth writing a rambling run-on sentence for because they’re just THAT adorable,
or they’re mutant beasts who block your path and glare at you with murder in their eyes. There is no in-between.
• My Manners at Walmart
I dread ALL trips to the grocery store, but my ability to conceal this feeling varies from trip to trip. Sometimes, I am the epitome of grocery store etiquette: I smile at everyone, I offer to reach things that the height-challenged folks can’t get to, and I graciously allow others to go by when it’s really my right of way.
If I’m feeling jazzy, I’ll even throw in an “after you, fine sir!” for good measure.
Other times, my grocery cart becomes a weapon that I use during a fit of road rage. I dash down the aisles like a madwoman, and obnoxiously careen around people who dare get in front of me on my way to the lunchmeat. If I come close to genuinely running someone over, I shoot them semi-apologetic eyes. But I don’t slow down.
• People’s Opinions about Cilantro
No other herb is as polarizing as cilantro. Hell, possibly no other thing on Earth is as polarizing. I’m in the camp of people who love it and gleefully add it to tacos and other dishes, but lots and lots of people seem to really, really HATE it. They loathe the stuff with a passion that is almost admirable.
No one, no one, feels just “meh” about cilantro.
• People’s Opinions about Texas
There are some strong feelings out there about the good ol’ Lone Star State. Find any Internet article about anything happening in Texas, and scroll down to the comments section to feast your eyes on the contrasting opinions. People either express great fondness and pride for the food, friendliness, and fun…
…or they absolutely detest what they perceive as a lack of education and open-mindedness. And/or they hate the gun culture. And the unpredictable weather. And the fact that other people love it so much.
People in this group are basically crossing their fingers that the entire state will just fall into the Gulf.
• All Things Australian
One thing I’ve learned through reading countless Reddit discussions and Buzzfeed articles is that the world really doesn’t like the Kardashians. But on a more relevant note, I’ve also learned that that every single thing in Australia is either amazingly wondrous…
… or it wants to kill you in a slow, torturous, painful way. There is no gray area in that place.
And the last true black and white issue:
• The Accuracy of Those “Psychological Facts” that Circulate the Internet
We’ve all seen them. Those colorful squares that display sweet and interesting statements about the human brain, feelings, and relationships. Their messages vary, but they almost always include the words “science” or “psychologists” or “fact,” as though that automatically validates their accuracy.
Even people who are usually skilled at thinking and discerning get sucked into the heart-tugging statements, because they so badly want them to be true.
To be fair, some of those “facts” really are accurate, as they come from ACTUAL research studies that have been replicated a zillion times.
Unfortunately, most of the statements are wildly and bewilderingly false.
I may have gotten a bit carried away with the examples, but that’s okay, because it’s a scientific fact that getting carried away on projects is a sign of genius-level intelligence. See what I did there?
Anyway, where do YOU stand on these controversial issues? Have you actually come across a squirrel that was neither friendly nor terrifying? Or perhaps you don’t have strong feelings (good or bad) about cilantro?
What issues are black and white for you?