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The Madera Tribune

How we seek status from labels

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webmaster | 04/26/13

In the Thursday Wall Street Journal “Pepper and Salt” cartoon, a woman says to a man, “I’m one of those vegetarians who eat meat.” That seems funny for a couple of reasons. First, it is in our nature to want to wear certain labels, but it’s not always in our nature to do the things meant to justify those labels. Second, we aren’t always honest with ourselves or others.

Some people, for example, will buy cheap watches that mimic the look of expensive watches, ones with lots of bling. Both watches will keep time, but before long, the cheap ones will give out or break. For example, a Swiss-made Patek Philippe watch can cost $20,000 or more. On the other hand (or wrist), a Patrick Phillippe watch, which looks fairly nice, can be had for as little as $88. Wearing the latter watch makes you one of those expensive-watch fans who wears cheap knock-offs.

Which does not make you a bad person, just one not to be trusted necessarily in all things.

The same might be said of Republicans for Obama or Democrats for Romney. Who are they, really?

Providing fake college degrees for people who want degrees but didn’t get them has become a thriving business on line. I remember reading about a college dean who didn’t have a degree. He was one of those educators who didn’t believe in education.

You hear about doctors who never get a physical and who abuse pills. They are doctors who don’t believe in medicine.

And so it goes.

Perhaps a lot of us fall into those categories. We seek status from a label rather than accepting status as a result of what we’ve done.

There aren’t any vegetarians who eat meat, by the way. If you eat meat, you can’t call yourself anything but an omnivore.


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