Saturday, September 29, 2007

Phrases I don't understand, Part 3

We end the “Phrases I don’t understand” series with one of my personal favorites: “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Seriously? REM says: what a beautiful refrain! There are so many issues with this phrase, I don’t even know where to begin. So let’s begin.

One (You’re like a dream come true…). When people say judge not lest blah blah blah, they don’t really mean judge not lest blah blah blah. What they really mean is, “Judge not negatively lest ye be judged negatively.” When I say “She's a really pretty girl” (and she is) or “That kid has a really cool blog” (and he does), that’s a judgment. And we’re all cool with it. It’s only when I start putting them down that suddenly everyone has a problem.

Two (Just wanna be with you…). I’ll be perfectly honest here. I’m really pretty okay with other people judging me. Especially if it means I get to judge them, too! I guess that’s catty, but as a gay friend of mine once said, "The day isn’t complete until I’ve judged someone," and I want my day to be complete. I generally find that the people I like like me, so I’m really not too concerned what Other People think. You think I’m an arrogant prick? That’s cool. I think you smell bad. Ziiiinnnnngggg!

Three (‘Cause it’s plain to see…). Sort of related to #2 here. I guess the idea with this phrase is really to foster a utopia where nobody is judged. Isn’t that nice? “If I don’t judge people, maybe they won’t judge me!” It’s a little Gandhi for you.* But here’s my point. There are always going to be people in the world who judge others. There’s always going to be people who judge YOU, whether you judge them or not. So you might as well go ahead and judge them. You don’t want to be that one sucker who’s not judging anyone while they’re all out judging you. Get a couple of your own punches in. Atta boy.

* BARTLET: “You must be the change” - is that it? “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Sounds too much like Eastern philosophy.
WILL: Well, it was bound to, sir.
BARTLET: 'Cause Gandhi lived in India?
WILL: Yeah.

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