The mindless hum of mindless agreement

On a recent episode of Oprah (forcefully viewed from a waiting room), I heard Gavin de Becker, author of THE GIFT OF FEAR, say: “Men fear that women will laugh at them. Women fear that men will kill them.”

The predominantly female audience nodded in approval, humming their lilting agreement, suddenly beset by this brilliant bit of insight and profundity.

Had I been in the audience, I would have risen from my seat and shouted, “Really? Are you kidding me? Are we going to allow such enormous and ridiculous generalizations to go uncontested?”

Even in the waiting room, I nearly did.

How about this:

More than 80% of all murder victims in the United States are men.

Am I really expected to believe, based upon these statistics, that women universally fear that men will kill them even though they make up less than 20% of all murder victims?

And that men, even though they make up more than 80% of victims, are more concerned with laughter than death?

How about this:

The audience was almost entirely made up of women. How the hell do they  purport know what men fear? Having been a man for my entire life, I can assure you that we have much greater fears than girls laughing at us.

More importantly, as one-dimensional as we may sometimes seem, I can assure you that we don’t all share the same fears. To assert so is blind stupidity.

How about this:

As far as I can tell, every man I know, myself included, goes through life being laughed at constantly, by both women and men. And most of us have learned to deal with it.

In the practical joke world, men are the primary targets. In fact, I cannot remember a time in my life when a woman was the butt of a serious practical joke. But I watch men actively seek out ways to embarrass and ridicule their friends on a daily basis, myself included.

Imagine a dance floor at a wedding:

Who is more likely to be dancing like a fool, unconcerned about the ridiculousness of his or her appearance?

With more than 300 weddings under my belt, I can tell you that I have never seen a woman act like an idiot on the dance floor, attempting some bizarre and unorthodox dance move, but I have seen hundreds of men, both drunk and sober, do the most ridiculous things with their bodies while everyone else is laughing at them.

There are three examples of this male-centered behavior in my wedding video alone.

Am I really expected to assume that men fear the laughter of women?

How about this:

Can we all agree to keep our generalization radars turned on?

Can we all agree to refute ridiculous attempts to generalize whenever they arise?

There’s nothing worse than that audible hum of agreement from an audience of head bobbing morons who would rather be herded like sheep to some ridiculous conclusion rather than stopping and thinking for themselves.