Monday, August 23, 2010

The constant disclaimer

It all began when I was going to focus on someone for my latest blog post. I was going to put up a link to their site, when suddenly I realized that I didn’t always agree with everything that this person said or did. In fact, there were a few things this person said that I didn’t like at all. So I considered putting up a “disclaimer”- basically something explaining that I didn’t endorse everything that the person said or did. Simple idea, right? You’ve seen disclaimers before. They are basically there to keep people from being sued.

But then I realized that if I really wanted to be complete, I would need to put a disclaimer on just about every link and post in this blog. Because there’s not ANY one thing here that completely expresses my views. Even if I totally agree with a post, there’s almost always more to tell. I think that may be one reason it can be so difficult to share your political or religious views with someone. There are “too many howevers”, as Charles Schulz once said. And it’s easy to be misunderstood by those who aren’t very imaginative, and think that every cowboy has to ride a horse. Even to say something simple like “I am a man” can carry with it a bad connotation for those who seek to find faults with someone. “You’re a man? That must mean you’re brutish and uncaring.” “No, that’s not true at all!” “Then why point out that you’re a man? Why not just keep your mouth shut so I can continue to believe my prejudices?”

The following story is true, but the names have been changed to protect the stupid: I once listened in on two people talking with each other about another person who is (reportedly) gay. Friend number one said, in complete seriousness, “I knew he had to be gay because he liked Barbara Streisand.” Friend number two nodded in agreement. I felt like throwing up. That’s called prejudice. To state what must be obvious (to everyone but my friends), not every Barbara Streisand fan is gay! What do you suppose statements like that do to all the straight guys who like Barbara Streisand? They’re going to keep it a secret because they don’t want to be misunderstood.

Let’s suppose that you know two people who have been hanging out together quite a bit. Does that mean they’re sexually intimate? Folks, we don’t have enough information, so we just can’t say that for sure. They might be intimate, but we just don’t know. I’m not going to say that they are intimate if I don’t know the answer. I’m not going to jump to conclusions. That’s kind of the point- prejudice is assuming that everyone falls into a neat little cubbyhole, and that every Republican believes the same thing as every other Republican. That’s not true. That’s as foolish as saying that every Barbara Streisand fan is gay. That’s as foolish as saying that everyone who hangs out together must be intimate. Wouldn't it be foolish to let your prejudices keep you from enjoying or learning from someone else?

I’m not against trying to be polite, or politically correct. But if I REALLY wanted to not offend anyone. . .then I probably shouldn’t have been born, and neither should you have been born. Because all it takes is two people. I’ll never be you, and you’ll never be me. Be patient with me and I will try to be patient with you. Understand that I will make mistakes and you will, too. Please don’t jump to conclusions about me based on anything here you don't like. I'm definitely not trying to offend, but sometimes it just happens. Don't let prejudice keep you from enjoying or learning from others.


A JOYFUL NOISE: Sometimes as you listen to & collect music, you learn about artists that you had never heard of before, and you begin to appreciate their work. This post is about a case of that. I’ve never considered the trumpet and trombone to be the best-suited instruments for “easy listening,” but I was forgetting about the soft tones that can be produced by an expert in the field like Bill Pearce was. I had never heard of him either. But sometimes a person’s influence is greater than you realize, and that seems to be the case with Bill.

Bill, who passed away earlier this year, was a member of the “Melody Four” and “16 Singing Men.” If you are interested in Christian music from the 1950s on up, you have hopefully heard of those groups. For some reason, the “16 Singing Men” are among the hottest-selling (and hardest to find) Christian artists whose work is out of print. One of their out-of-print CDs routinely sells for over $100. That’s out of my league, and it’s unfortunate that it’s so hard to find work by those guys that the average guy can afford to buy.

Bill also hosted his own radio show (“Nightsounds”) heard nationally, and was arguably the most important trombone player in Christian music. At least he was well-known enough that a popular trombone website featured an in-depth interview with him. The interview reveals a man who deeply loves the Lord and wanted to serve him. He certainly succeeded as far as I can see - two popular Christian groups AND your own radio show, offering comfort to listeners? Sounds like success to me. Again, I hadn’t heard of Bill before, but I’m sure the Lord knew him. I look forward to meeting him one day.


ON YOUTUBE: YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW. One of my favorite "lost skits" from Sesame Street is available on YouTube (and on the Sesame Street website) for our viewing pleasure. The song was available on the old "Stars come out on Sesame Street" album, but now the video has resurfaced, and I'm glad to see it again. You can find it in the favorites folder on my YouTube page, the link to which is in the links section.