“He could have been a professor, a journalist, a lawyer…”

17 Sep

It’s amazing how your word choice tells so much about you. The simple way you speak can tell me where you’re from, how you were raised, and how you see the world. It also makes me judge you far quicker than I should.

So the phrase I titled this post came from a commercial for a podcast. (beat) Yeah, that’s weird, but talking about this murder victim, this man’s voice comes in saying, “He could have been a professor, a journalist, a lawyer…” That struck me as odd. Notice the word choice and the order. Professor is obviously the first thought on what our murder victim could have been – he was that smart, is the implication.

Okay – let’s take that phrase further. His next two choices are journalist, then lawyer. Gee… what do these three jobs have in common? They’re all liberal professions. For those who prefer the “exception disproves the rule,” let me say conservative professors go to conservative universities (Texas A&M for example), conservative journalists work for Fox News, and… okay, there are plenty of conservative lawyers. However, I’m instantly judging them.

Is that fair? No. This was a five second clip. He could have been talking about the victim’s personality, not his own. But can we help it? Based on our experience, we make quick decisions based on people, on situations, and honestly… we might get it right. Most of the time we don’t have the time or inclination to find out the full story.

This got me in trouble recently. Often when we speed through life we’re going to make a mistake. In the case of a commercial, prejudging is going to do nothing apart from turn me off from the podcast (which I wasn’t going to listen to anyway because I’m not a fan of true crime). In the case of my wife, I took an honest request for help as a demand, and that hurt.

Have you run into problems with judging things too quickly? Do you think that it’s necessary or unavoidable? Let me know in the comments below!

5 Responses to ““He could have been a professor, a journalist, a lawyer…””

  1. Silk Cords September 17, 2020 at 7:05 pm #

    85 likes and no comments… Makes yah wonder who’s reading. Same deal at my blog though, lol.

    Judging: I think anybody who said they’ve never been guilty of rushing to judgment or had it blow up on them is… Taking creative liberties with the truth shall we say?

    In my experience, sometimes we’re wrong, and just as much (if not a little more) the indignity we see is really about “how dare you call me on my BS”.

    Yes, I judge all the time. I’m also a trained observer though; I notice style of dress, body language, speech patterns, tonality, etc… more than most people. I also try to remind myself that those impressions may be off because the person could be having a bad day, etc… so I don’t cling to them as tightly as most people.

    Being willing to be proven wrong I think is the important part.

    And as a side note; IMO, the exception doesn’t disprove the rule despite what those others say. It just means you can’t neatly lump any group blindly together. All groups have good and bad in them.

    • albigensia September 17, 2020 at 7:46 pm #

      It’s not the easiest topic to reply to… And as political as I’m willing to get on my blog. Other topics get more comments.

  2. SirNolen September 17, 2020 at 9:52 pm #

    Judgements are necessary and unavoidable. In a world of seven billion people, we can’t judge every single person we ever meet on their merits and failures as a unique individual – we simply don’t have the time to get to know the gas station cashier that well, especially when we’re already late for work.

    Also, judgements are partly how we avoid potentially dangerous people – we notice “red flags”, anti-social cues, etc.

  3. earthwalking13 September 18, 2020 at 7:59 am #

    I was reminded of not judging vividly this summer when I met some rather amazing people in a place I thought would be very backward – good lesson


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    […] used “Double L” as my perfect example. As previously mentioned, I listen to two or three terrestrial radio shows, only one of which I listen to live. I get that […]

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