succumbing to peer pressure

Monday, January 30, 2006

I have to stop talking so much in class. Second class and I'm already That Annoying Girl. But it's public health law class and a) I know next to nothing about law, so half the times I raise my hand it's a question and b) today we talked about ethics! Totally impossible to keep my mouth shut.

Which moves nicely to something I've been pondering - am I becoming Toby Ziegler? I mean, I've always felt like I have a strong sense of personal ethics, but Toby is frequently my least favorite West Wing character, often because I find his principled stands unstomachable. But lately I've noticed that not only am I hard on myself when it comes to these things, but I'm starting to be hard on other people too...I'm not sure how I feel about that. I've gotten frustrated with and judgemental about students who I didn't think lived up to a certain amount of personal responsibility, politicians who aren't willing to stand up for their so-called ideals, I'm becoming less forgiving and understanding of people who lack the moxy to speak 'truth to power' (in whatever context), etc. etc.

And a personal code of ethics brings us to Sid, to whom I have to give a little shout out. He left a comment here a while ago describing something I wrote as eloquent. Now, because I can't take a compliment, of course I feel compelled to disagree, but I also have to say that if I am ever eloquent, it is at least in part thanks to Sid. Although he often drives me nuts with his devil's advocacy, I honed my debating skills at case arguing with Sid, among others. And it's served me well. I learned to really think through my positions and look up facts to back them up. And what do you know? I've actually changed a couple of people's minds about things (which is, in a way, scary. I often forget that people listen when I speak. Mostly I just run off at the mouth for my own edification. Pretty much from when I learned to form words and sentences teachers would send home report cards that said, "Good student. Talks too much." which brings us to a nice conceptual circle, so I'm done.).


Blogger A White Bear said...

Baby, ain't nobody I know ever said you talk too much. You have the good fortune of being simultaneously humble, well-informed, and probing. If we were all guilty as adults of the habits we had as children, my graduate school report cards would read, "Good student. Picks underwear out of butt compulsively."

You have the good sense to know what you believe is worth fighting for. Your ethical sensibility isn't easily set off, nor is it pompous. You know how to pick your battles... which is more than I can say for yrs trly.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Shelby said...

I enjoy feeling a kinship with Toby, but mostly when he says things like, "I agree with Josh, and I agree with CJ, and I agree with Sam. And you know how that makes me crazy," "Thank you all for coming around to the self-evident point I made five minutes ago," or "You're gonna be confronted by the instinct to drink a lot; trust that instinct."

Yay, Toby!

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Although he often drives me nuts"

Oh, admit it-- you love me.

I do tend to play Devil's advocate a lot, and thank you for indulging me in it. Listening to you (or someone else) argue my particular values and trying to find holes in it makes me feel more secure in believing what I believe. As my father would say, 'Discourse is the basis of democracy, and thus of freedom'. Plus, when you look like Quasimodo, frequently you need to debate girls into taking you home!

And you are eloquent at times. Take a frickin' compliment.

~El Syd

5:09 PM  

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