Opinion: ‘Mean Girls’
“Nine out of Ten Dentists Agree” shouts at us from the packaging on one box from the wall of toothpaste choices. If all of these folks agree that this is the VERY best product, why are there so many choices that are lesser? And, if someone asserts that “reasonable people agree” does that mean that if we don’t that we must be the lone one who is unreasonable? The rhetoric of inclusion (or perhaps better said – exclusion) is a highly powerful sales tool. And, it serves well to oppress dissenting points of view.
Which clothes have we upon our backs? Which lunch table is where we consume our daily calories? Which means of conveyance gets us back and forth to which occupation? All of these are being judged by someone. Okay, humans categorize other humans. But what is it in us that urges criticism of those who make choices, benign to us, that are different from our own? When hours of Thanksgiving televised football with my sons was derailed by Brighthouse, we found ourselves with a big screen, plenty of snacks and no sports. While killing time for the promised return of the games, we wondered upon the 2004 hit movie “Mean Girls.” Therein a nice girl is ostracized because she challenged the prevailing hierarchy. When she resisted, it got nasty. How dare she think on her own!
In our boredom, I guess, it spawned a conversation about peer pressure – especially of the negative kind – and about our unwillingness to stand-up when we believe the assertions of “reasonableness” is grossly overstated! Do nine of 10 dentists agree that we should buy Brand X? Probably not. Yet, a publically asserted and undefended falsehood often becomes the perceived truth. Is it factual? No. Does it matter? Not unless we say so.