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Mpls, MN, United States

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Taking a stand

As the rather flamboyant ARC worker was loudly describing to his mousy friend all the awful plot twists of his current sci-fi read, I got sympathetic eye-rolls and smirks from both Dusty and Jeff as they did their copying and hastily escaped the cacophony. I wasn't too distracted by the inane blow-by-blow, but when, several minutes later, a magazine image prompted an, "Is that Bono?" the discussion turned uncomfortable.

The worker began a rant against Bono and U2, claiming alternately that he was a "superhero" but not political, that none of U2's songs had ever been political, and that the only reason they sold was that they were so f'king (pronounced just like that) catchy. I don't put much faith in loud, self-absorbed soliloquies as it is, but the speaker's credibility is especially undermined if he can't even pronounce the name of the artist against whom he is purporting to rail: it's not BOE-no, genius.

Now, I'm biased. U2 is one of my favorite bands and their show in Chicago last year was probably the best concert I've ever seen. My favorite T-shirt is from that show, and I named my car (Bullet the Blue Sky) after a U2 song. I like U2 a lot.

But I didn't say anything. I didn't even get up and leave. The conver- sation (thankfully) ended, and when his friend left, the worker, silenced by his lack of an audience, turned back to his novel. But I was left thinking about the exchange.

Was it my place to correct loud undergrads who were clearly under-informed and over-intoxicated with their own voices? Does the fact of decibel level alone free me from the charge of eavesdropping? Would I have stepped in had they been trashing a personal friend, and not just a favorite celebrity?

I was at church last weekend when the pastor made a disparaging remark about a church of another denomination in a neighboring town. I should have stood up and left, as it was already a bad sermon... but I didn't.

These two things have me wondering about my ethical backbone. Am I polite, or just a pansy? Children are admonished to "stand up for what's right," but do I waffle because things are less clear-cut in the adult world or because I'm gutless? What do you think?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

dag-yo I didn't know you liked U2, you just went up a knotch in my book Ceri! I just saw them in Omaha with Ellen a couple months ago, mad good.

Cerise said...

Ellen, did I know about that concert? Or did I just forget? I even looked back through e-mails just now and didn't find anything.

Angela said...

i think the lines are shady because we were told, not taught to stand up for what is right. even though the anonymous "they", consisting of pathfinders and sabbath school lessons, told us what to do, very few people showed us how to appropriately do it. maybe it's just scarier when you're grown-up. sometimes it's just plain discouraging too. i find that i want to stand up a lot here, but when i do there's often a hand pushing me down, telling me to sit.

but we have to try. we can do many things!^^

Ellen said...

um yeah, i went with karen to a U2 concert...pretty great seats, i wrote about it on my blog and even posted a picture of the ticket.

i had to sit by a guy who played air guitar through the whole thing.