This is a post belonging to a new blogging project — the title is pretty much self-explanatory, I think; the project’s introductory post can be found HERE. Credit for the idea: BeetleyPete.
As always, the only thing linking the two items mentioned in this post in my mind is that they both start with the same letter of the alphabet.
(Image sources: here and here.)
Seriously, people, I tell you — Linus has got it exactly right. Is there anything that says “comfort” and “cozy” more obviously than a blanket? You can snuggle up (preferably with a pet, if available) in winter and be warm; you can use it as a lighter alternative to a “real” comforter in summer; if you don’t mind it getting dirty you can take it outside for a picnic and / or sunbathing (though personally I mostly use beach towels for that purpose); you can take it to outdoor cultural / entertainment or sports events; and let’s face it, even if not in use, it just adds something to the aura of any room it’s in. I already own more blankets than I can possibly use at any one time, but I’m still tempted to get more whenever I see another one that seems to have my name on it! (And, well — one of my favorites actually does.)
As should become fairly obvious the more this project progresses (if you don’t know this about me already), I’m not much of a person for joining crowds, anyway, but IMHO there’s something particularly detestable about blindly following an “influencer”, “opinion leader” or trend — which is what bandwagons are for the most part: They don’t grow to magnitude on the strength of people who think about the issue at hand and actually make a rational and well-informed decision to join — by which I don’t mean that such people don’t exist (and more power to anybody who actually does try to make rational and well-informed choices at least most of the time), or that on an individual basis, someone having brought due critical thought to a given matter might never (for whatever reasons) come to agree with a bandwagon issue. But bandwagons chiefly feed either on those who just want to be part of the “in” crowd, or whose default mode is “if everybody else is for / against it, they’re probably right”, as well as on those whose emotional responses (typically, fears) are triggered by the bandwagon issue, to an extent sufficient to override their critical thinking. And from internet sh*tstorms. lynch mobs and other forms of mobbing, both off- and online, to anti-vaxxers, COVID deniers and populist politics, bandwagons are invariably hurtful: to those sitting on them (when they’ve been conned into harming themselves) or to someone else; namely, the target whom to hit they have been created in the first place or, for example in the event of populist politics and other mass movements, even to the community at large.
Bandwagons, like most commercials for food rich in sugar and fat, capitalize on a part of our biological makeup that goes all the way back to our Stone Age ancestors. Moreover, bandwagons typically work because those sitting on them suffer either from the start or eventually end up suffering from the cognitive dissonance described in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave; i.e., that it’s them — who have been blinded and led up the garden path — who are actually in the best of all places that nobody should ever want to leave in the first place; and that it’s those who are not sitting on the bandwagon who are just too blind or stupid to recognize this (and must therefore be ridiculed, forcibly converted or, at worst, eliminated). It is therefore extremely unlikely that we’ll ever get rid of them entirely — in fact, they unfortunately seem to have grown in importance again recently — but the simple truth is that over the course of history, a huge number of bad decisions, both by and for the people making them and for their communities, have been products of bandwagons … which is why I’m doing my best to give them as wide a berth as I can once I’ve recognized them for what they are. And I hope and pray that, despite my best efforts to avoid them, I’ll never catch myself sitting on one after all.
(Image sources: here, here, here, here, and here.)
11 thoughts on “An Alphabet of My Likes and Dislikes: “B””
I’m with you on the Bandwagons (although, let’s not inadvertantly make it its own bandwagon – ha!). I think the Cave’s cognitive dissonance is a byproduct of our world getting smaller; the internet and media shrinking our world and introducing too many variables, while our populations get ever larger. Momentum requires mass, and it’s part of what makes me want to move to a small town, which presents its own paradox. :p
That’s one of the reasons why I’m happy where I am … (comparatively) small town with most big city amenities and a sufficiently international and academic outlook to make it attractive to people unlikely to get caught in Plato’s cave. — I also think in part the reemergence of the bandwagon train is due to the fact that fewer and fewer people remember WWII and the Cold War, though. Horrible as those years were (WWII especially, of course), apparently there is something to be said for the warning effect of always having the example of those horrors right before one’s eyes (or as much “before one’s eyes” as the media could convey them, if one was lucky enough not to be living in one of the countries more directly concerned).
I like this series. I wasn’t so sure after just your “A” how it would go, but seeing it slowly coming out, I see potential.
This just might be the thing for me to fill up this year with. Hmmmmm..
Considering how much you wrote about bandwagons, I guess you REALLY don’t like them 😀
ps, I’ll try not to mention this again, but I still am getting the “invalid security token” from your site. I’m leaving this comment from the reader….
Sigh. Yes, I know, I haven’t had a time to take another stab at the https thing yet. (Might be a while, too, before I get around to it.)
I’m glad to see this thing is off to a popular start! 🙂 And btw, I really wrote the topics down as they occurred to me when first setting this up, so it’s a total coincidence that both “likes” and “dislikes” started with a food item; but when I took a look at the complete lists, I also thought maybe it’s not a bad thing to be starting with something less controversial than some of the other things that are bound to come up later. (I’ll try to stay away from party politics — that’s bound to engender the sort of fights that nobody needs, least of all I on my own blog — but “bandwagons” isn’t going to remain the only social / political topic.)
Anyway, if you decide to do these as well, I’m obviously going to be looking forward to them! 🙂
I’m actually in the middle of trying to figure a Project Name and a Project Picture to make this a blog series. This is a real blessing 😀
Good luck staying away from controversy, hahahahaha 😀
Lol. I didn’t say (or at least I didn’t mean) I’m hoping to stay away from any and all controversy … in fact, this blog series is where I’m knowingly skirting those edges than I do in other blog posts. I just hope I’ll be able to stay away from specific party politics. 🙂
Maybe spare a word of thanks for BeetleyPete, too — he came up with the idea in the first place; I just stole it from him in turn! 🙂