Fat Cat, Red Headed, Lumpy Chested, Speccy Four Eyed Lawyer

Blimey – Twitter has been on fire this weekend!

The subjects have been the law, lawyers and the police.

I have a vested interest in all three: the first enables me, the second is my job description and the third is the ‘state’ I live in (I am married to the job).

I have however spent an unacceptably high amount of time discussing and pondering on just how inflammatory remarks can be when they are used against a group of people.  If I am part of the group targeted by the word and image and object to the remarks I think its own natural to want to set myself apart from the brush covered in tar; to explain why I may not be part of or linked to that behaviour.  It doesn’t mean, in taking that step, that I am condoning the behaviour of others.

My education and upbringing shapes me.  I was taught that I should be bold enough to refer to myself rather than seek comfort in the ‘we’.  To be accountable for my own behaviour and to avoid standing as a spokesperson unless others have asked me to (I may well regularly fail on that point).  I was also taught that if I want to reference behaviour to a group to be sure that I wanted every member of that group to be covered by my words.  If not, qualify it with a “every *insert employment group etc* that I have dealt with…” or make it clear who or what situation I was talking about.  I try to run to my rules and avoid sweeping statements as they offend and can result in prejudice.

With this background in mind my first reaction to sweeping statements, especially barbed ones, is to try to work out why somebody would use them.  Whats the baseline they are working from?  Whats the benefit to be achieved?  Are they just prejudiced and should be discounted or do they have something worthwhile to say?

And I suppose that is where I got to.  To me, the value of what the individuals may have wanted to say or prove got lost in the manner of publication, the words used or by reference back to their bio.  By attacking a group of individuals the context, if indeed there was one, or impact was lost to many of the readers.

I really rather dislike all types of name calling or group generalisation maybe its because I was bullied at school or because I am a “fat cat, red headed, lumpy chested, speccy four eyes lawyer” or maybe its that I’ve just started to rather like evidence based discussion and debate.

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