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N, Nuance

N, Nuance

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0Day 14, A to Z Blog Challenge


Nuance makes a comeback.

Not exactly a comeback, more a resurgence in the sense that sound bites and exaggeration may have taken a back seat to, well, truth. Not naming any names. After all, truth is nuanced. And I mean nuanced in that there’s perspective and social constructivism to consider. You get the idea.

Yes, nuanced means more words. When life gets busy, I feel as if I’m swimming in too many words. I want to skim the state of things from the frothy film of headlines and sound bites. But truth requires deep sea diving in the Ocean of Nuance. True understanding means fishing with a line, not a net.

This article on Social Justice Bullies was posted on the ‘book by an impressive Millennial I know. I read the entire article, solely because it was full of nuance, and nuance deserves one’s undivided attention. The article is about ‘Identity Politics’, about millennial social justice advocates (and social justice bullies), about the ‘increasing balkanization of identities’. A nuanced article such as this one should not be paraphrased or broken into sound bites. It should be digested with all of its nuances intact. However, I’m going to give you this sound bite

The opposite of hatred is not hatred in the opposite direction. 

because it rocks.

But it’s only meaningful after reading its preceding article. Here’s the paragraph to which it belongs:

To view everything through a particular theoretical viewpoint (that is, feminist, Marxist, post-colonialist, etc.) is an intellectual limiting exercise that works only in a vacuum. The world is more than one viewpoint. The ostricization of those who hold alternate viewpoints is not any way conducive to social progress. The opposite of hatred is not hatred in the opposite direction. There is no excuse — none — for being a bad person toward another on the basis of their identity.


With nuance on my mind, I checked out via the Safeway Express Lane, purchase: undisclosed snacks. The prompt on checkout screen read, “Do you want to save a starving child?” I turned to the checker.

“Excuse me, I’m about to click ‘no’ on this question, although this question is not a yes or no question by the way, and I’d like you to know that I have previously donated several times, that of course I want to save a starving child with my one dollar, two dollar or five dollar donation, but this day I choose not to donate because I feel emotionally blackmailed by this question, however I want to be abundantly, abundantly clear that I am the kind of person who wants to save starving children wherever they be, and in answering no, it in no way implies that I want anything other than for these children not to starve.”

We stared at each other for a long minute.

“It’s just yes or no, Ma’am.”

“Oh screw it, what’s five dollars!”


© Robyn T. Murphy 


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