12 January 2009

Vol. 1, Issue 4 | Definitions, Part 1

[originally written 14 March 2006, 3:54pm]

The following definitions are from Dictionary.com:

sacred cow: A person or thing immune to criticism or questioning.

cow tipping: A somewhat mean-spirited activity whereby one knocks over a sleeping cow (which sleeps standing up) by pushing on its side.

For this year (and presumably the rest of my life), I have decided to combine the terms, thus creating a clear definition for a practice (that some people are already participating in) I highly recommend to everyone:
sacred cow tipping

The practice of criticizing or questioning (i.e. tipping over, figuratively) a person(s) or thing(s) widely believed to be immune to such criticism or questioning. This practice works best when 1) a level of respect for the ‘sacred cow’ in question is still exhibited, especially during the actual ‘tipping’; and 2) the tipper is prepared to also become the tippee, since that is inevitable. This can also be referred to as ‘Developing a Sense of Humor.’

Why the caveats? you may ask. Because I don’t believe that you must be mean-spirited or hateful in order to effectively question the unquestionable. Doesn’t mean you have to be nice either, but you must have an understanding of what it is that you wish to criticize, else you’re just all sound and fury signifying nothing. And we’ve plenty of that already. Earlier this year, I said I’m not interested in espousing hate anymore, hence the column title change, and I still mean it.

As for the other caveat... the one about the inevitability of having your own sacred cows tipped... that particular rhubarb has been an object lesson for me as of late. You’ve listened to me spout off about the V for Vendetta film adaptation, and how I intend to walk out during the viewing, regardless. It’s taken the juxtaposition of my active participation in sacred cow tipping and having one of my few sacred cow’s knocked on it’s side for me to realize how quickly & easily you will end up on the receiving end. I recognize that I can and should have a sense of humor about this, and I am allowing for the possibility that someone else can read the same story and get an entirely different meaning from it than I had, and that my way isn’t always the right way.

This is the lesson of sacred cow tipping, boys and girls. In the grand scheme of things, we take some things too seriously. Lighten up. Laugh at yourself. Help others learn to do the same. Remember, there is no Them. Just Us. So go tip them cows.

Oh, and mind the manure.
Portlandia Prevails.

No comments:

Post a Comment