I am frequently brought to feelings of frustration and sadness when people believe, do, or say things that are everyday and simply not true. In this article, I address seven of these.
1. Recycling clothing, paper, plastic, and so on is good for the environment and something we must all help with.
In reality, like much, it depends. Recycling also pollutes the environment. Have you thought about the pollution caused by that diesel truck that picks up the items in your recycling bin? What about the energy consumed by that factory that processes the recycled goods? In at least some case, it can be more environmental to deposit such items in the regular trash. Especially in the case of paper, which biodegrades in a matter of mere weeks! In the case of clothes, as I learned by watching The True Cost, the majority of clothing we donate to charities or Good Will-like stores ends up in very poor countries (think Haiti) and causes people to lose much needed jobs, while forcing them to also buy unknown bulks of clothing.
So, to be clear, I am very concerned about the environment. I just want people to think more critically about “garbage” vs “recycle” and how to best allow for a healthy world.
2. Watering my yard helps it grow and look green.
Again, it depends. I do get frustrated when I see people watering on a hot summer day or even after sunset because when it is really hot–like we are really experiencing in Texas right now–none of that water will be absorbed. When it is that hot almost all of the water from the sprinkler evaporates before it even hits the ground! Not only is it ineffective, it is wasteful. The most effective time to water is at the coldest time of each day, which is the hour before sunrise (unless there is a cold front or something). So, reset the timer on those automatic sprinklers!
3. Satanism promotes worship of the Devil.
In reality, Satanism rejects all notions of higher powers (or “lower powers” in this case!), and simply, it promotes equality and free thinking. People involved with Satanism or the so-named Church of Satan have helped lead many important cases regarding free speech and separation of Church and State. This group’s Seven Tenets are not that different than texts such as the Declaration of Independence or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Seven Tenets include:
-One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
-Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
-People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
4. Professors are paid high wages.
Sadly, the vasty majority of professors in the United States, something like 80% (!!) make wages that are at or below the poverty level. I have even had the unfortunate experience of having what amounted to a 30% pay cut (i.e., a $1000 loss) because not enough students signed up for one of my classes – this was a required class for several students and I taught the only section of this class. Most professors are not paid for their planning, grading, or time meeting with students – they are only paid for the 40-45 hours the class actually meets face-to-face. As a result, most professors actually make less than minimum wage. But, many of us love learning and teaching and have devoted years to becoming experts and long to use our talents.
5. Botox is taken by those wanting to look younger.
True, some people–especially celebrities it seems–take Botox to look younger. There is also an important segment of the population that relies on Botox and/or its sister substances to help control neurological conditions ranging from headaches to Parkinson’s Disease to blepharospasms. Insurance companies, of course, are frequently stubborn and don’t want to accept the expertise of doctors, and the insurance companies deny this much-needed care to some patients.
6. People under 30 are computer literate.
This one receives some attention but still deserves mentioning. I don’t say this to be negative, but I am constantly surprised and re-reminded that the majority of my students are almost computer illiterate. Students know how to use some aspects of social media websites, but when it comes to creating and converting files, to changing settings, to “figuring it out,” or to downloading software, for example, most are at a near loss. Regardless, 90 percent have far less knowledge of computers than most people assume they have.
7. The word “queer” is offensive.
Out of all the words currently used by academics, “queer” is one of the most powerful and versatile words. We can analyze the “queerness” of a text, we can “queer” a text, we can provide a “queered” reading of a text, we can discussing the importance of queering a text, we can talk about queer people and the many, many different identities they take. Therefore,
Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence. “Queer,” then, demarcates not a positivity but a positionality vis-à-vis the normative.
“Queer” and all of its forms, simply, refers to that which is not part of the default and privileged.
Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda