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Thursday, January 21, 2010

This Is Only A Question

           Why do you jump on bandwagons?

        .....Or do you?  In some cases we all do unless we're just totally antisocial, and even then we are emulating somebody elses behavior or maybe even rejecting the behavior of the norm. None of us have been born and are living in a vacuum.  We all are influenced by others and in turn have influence upon others.  It's called society and that's where we live.


           Before I go any further I should establish the definition of the idiom "jumping on a bandwagon" in case there are any readers who are not familiar with the saying.  What it means is to follow a trend, a fad, or an ideology that many others are following.  It is following the crowd and doing what we perceive to be popular or is what "everyone else is doing".  And in today's society there are so many bandwagons to jump onto.


          The "bandwagon" may be a politcal movement, a popular culture fad, a favorite sports team or athlete, a dietary fad, or any other mass social movement that amasses a following.  Sometimes following the crowd makes sense.  Cheering the local sports team during playoffs or supporting your country when threatened by enemies are understandable inclinations.  Joining up with others who share your just cause makes sense because there is strength in numbers  and the more the merrier (to use a couple of cliches).

          However there are some movements that I really question what kind of critical thinking has been involved.  Recently, Pat Robertson was almost universally condemned for his statement about Haiti having been cursed because of choices the people of the nation had made over the years.  Immediately angry voices began assailing Robertson for his saying that God had brought the earthquake as a judgement upon Haiti. Did I miss something here?  Is that what he said?  Or did Robertson's timing in stating something he could have said a month ago just create another convenient reason to criticize him and Christians in general?  What I found sad is that many people who should be defending the cause of Christianity, jumped on this bandwagon to join in on the condemnation of Pat Robertson.

        Another example of movement joining where I really question judgement is some of the fads that take hold.  Often younger people will join in on a faddish movement so as not to be left out of whatever group by whom they want to be accepted.  Dress styles and musical tastes are typical ways that people use to identify what they represent.  One fad that I question is tattooing.  Where is the practicality involved in tattooing?  I know that some people whom I love very dearly have tattoos so if you are reading this please don't take offense--you probably already know that I don't like the tattoos but I love you.  I just want to know what purpose there is to paying money to mark your skin with a tattoo.  Who do you want to impress?  Who are they following?

         Is it really so important to have to conform to a particular standard to be accepted by a particular group?  And here I am refering to traditonal conformity as well as untraditional non-conformity.  I include anything from cowboy boots to business suits.  What bandwagons to you feel obligated to jump on?  How do you dare to be different?   Do you feel weird when you stand out in a crowd or do you embrace your uniqueness?

12 comments:

  1. Well, since nowadays there seems to be a bandwagon for everything, it's almost impossible NOT to jump on one. That said, I try and jump on the good ones: writing, editing, querying, blogging, health, etc..

    Not so hot on the pop culture bandwagons. (Reality TV? Gah!)

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  2. I always try to follow me. If I believe in what others are doing or saying then I might be seen to be following, but in truth I have merely met some fellow travelers. If I don't agree I have a choice to make: say what I think or be quiet and do nothing. The thing is that not everything is worth fighting for. The things that are worth fighting for or about I am happy to stand and fight.

    btw- I can see why that dudes comments about disaster being God's way of punishing people's choices might rile some people up. Even if that is what he truly believes, it is a pretty insensitive thing to say on the back of such pain when so many people have lost loved ones. This is the kind of stuff that makes Christians look like a heartless bunch of do gooders. If it was his family that got killed I think he might have other things to say.... I'm just sayin :)

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  3. Not into tattoos, either. Or body piercing.

    You're right, we all 'go with the flow' ocassionally.

    My uniqueness comes from the fact I'm vegan. Vegetarianism is okay now, but total vegan is still considered weird. And I don't eat chocolate. Yes, I get raised eyebrows and questions. But it's my choice and I've stuck with it for over 20 years now.

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  4. I'm contrary by nature and avoid bandwagons. In college I trained to be a mediator, and in one training exercise all the students and trainers would split into various groups based on facts about ourselves: "Everyone who was born in a foreign country stand on the left side of the room. Now, everyone who knows someone with AIDS stand on the left side of the room. Now, everyone who is an only child stand on the left side of the room..." Etc.

    One of the trainers said afterwards that she hated being in the minority, and that she felt really nervous in the smaller group and couldn't wait until the groups switched up and put her in the majority again. I thought that was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard. Why would you want to be the same as everyone else? It was SO COOL to be one of only 3 people in the group who were born outside the U.S.! I'd much rather stand out.

    As for your specific examples, I obviously think it's insane for someone to say that an entire country made a pact with the devil, and I think it's repugnant to imply that the impoverished children trapped in the rubble of the earthquake "deserve" their current plight because of something other people supposedly did years ago. Am I on a bandwagon? Nope. I just think Pat is deliberately inflammatory, misguided, and is a person I disagree with in pretty much every way.

    I recognize that many people see tattoos as an art form. I'm not into body-modification (didn't get my ears pierced until I was 23 or 24) but I can see why others like it. Is it truly a "fad"? Or is it just something that has become less taboo over the years, and so the people who really want to make part of their skin into a piece of art (or a tribute to a loved one, etc.) are now able to do so in greater numbers because having a tattoo no longer means you're unemployable and a freak?

    And at the end of the day, I always agree with Cicero: "my own conscience means more to me than what the world says." Of course I am influenced by society, it's unavoidable, but I try to be true to myself for the things that really matter.

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  5. I think that it is funny that you talk about bandwagons; I teach the "bandwagon fallacy" to my students. In classes on persuasion, the "bandwagon fallacy" is actually an error in reasoning. It means that you have not actually done the research or made a well thought-out decision...like buying a product because everyone else has it (i.e. the i-pods of the world).


    On the other hand, one of my professors, who is much wiser than I will ever be, states that fallacies work! We have a natural tendency to want to be a part of a group and that is why this fallacy is so effective.

    To me, there is nothing wrong with wanting to identify with others. However, at what cost? Are we doing it because we trust those on the bandwagon? Or is it that we are too lazy to think for ourselves?

    The comments that you make about Haiti seem to come from a different perspective for me. Part of being an effective speaker has everything to do with situation and timing. The speaker's intentions may be good, but timing is everything.

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  6. I've always belonged to the sororiety Me-Fi_Me. I am much too stubborn and different to group up. My spin is usually unique from the perspective of causes I believe in. I am just a hopeless individual.

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  7. Well, rLEE-b, thanks to one of my previous Blog Bits, you already know in great detail what I think about Bandwagon Followers (and if Tattoos aren't a "fad" then there's no such thing as a "fad." Sheesh!)

    The majority of people are afraid to stand out and stand alone, so they follow the "In Crowd" trends. It's kind of ironic that some teenage girl or boy would color their hair purple so that they don't stand out.

    Well, I gotta run. I think I'm gonna get "UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL" tattooed on my neck.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

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  8. Frequently I don't seem to know where the bandwagon is heading! I'm really out of the cultural norms, I think. But I do follow tech trends. :)

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder
    Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

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  9. Like you said in the beginning, we all do! But just because you follow with the majority, doesn't make you a mindless follower. I can still be unique and my own person if I agree with the majorities idea of a fad or an ideology.

    I do think some people have a hard time finding out who they are, what their likes and dislikes are and so it's easier being a bandwagon jumper.

    as for me, I am me, and I do not jump on bandwagons, I follow my heart (and some of the time it may be part of a fad or trend)! I think I intentionally oppose fads and trends, which that in itself can now be considered a bandwagon as well. SOoooo, in conclusion, there's really no answer to your question. LOL

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  10. I never follow the lemmings. I tend to like what I like because I like it. I hate "Popular trends".

    Maybe thats why my style is still stuck in the 70's

    Maybe that was THE bandwagon I jumped on and either never got off, or got run over by it!

    sig

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  11. Thank you all for your comments:

    Simon-- I'm with you (because it's the way I lean too, not because I'm jumping on your bandwagon).

    Tabitha --I hear what your saying.

    L. Diane -- Yikes! No chocolate? I guess I tend to be on the chocolate bandwagon.

    Carrie -- I've said it before and I'll say it again. When you comment, your comments are almost always excellent.

    Diana -- So glad to have you comment again -- now if I can just get you to sign up to follow my blog -- everybody else is signing up and that would be jumping on a bandwagon. I agree that the "bandwagon" persuasive technique is very effective in advertising and starting movements.
    Robertson's timing may seem callous, but who would have paid attention to him if he said it before? On the other hand who actually listened to what he said and used some critical thinking to figure out what he was saying.

    Debra -- It's the "hopeless individuals" that instigate real change in the world.

    Stephen -- You are definately a uniquely hopeless individual.

    Elizabeth --I know where you're coming from.

    Sol --You're right and I think you answered for you and in the way many would think.

    Sig -- Oh yeah! The 70's were where it's at and I'm still there too.

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  12. I am one of the ones you love very dearly even with all the tattoos... I know you never liked tattoos and made it very clear. I definitely think tattoos are trendy, but I would never tattoo myself just because something was "cool" I have been criticized many times for my tattoos, but all i say is that i do it for myself and no one else. If someone doesn't like them than that's their opinion. I have always been scared of giving off the wrong impression, but once you know me it's just a way of expressing myself and something I love to do! Thanks for not judging me daddy!

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Lee