7 Takes on Everybody Being Wrong

7 Takes on Everybody Being Wrong November 20, 2020

Ah, well, it’s Friday again, in the usual astonishing occurrence of one week always turning into another one, one after another after another. Let’s see, what do we have?


Just read this long thing. I don’t read much from the NY Times because I can never remember my password and by the time I do, whatever it was is already demode. Anyway, the conversation about Cancel Culture is, of course, ongoing, and this person–Professor Loretta Ross–thinks that instead of “calling out” we should try “calling in,” which is to go to someone personally and privately rather than publically, to tell them they are wrong. She even is doing a course on it for young, terrified college students. There is some serious sanity in the piece, if you can afford to read it:

She doesn’t believe people should be publicly shamed for accidentally misgendering a classmate, which she once did, leading to a Title IX complaint that was later dismissed; for sending a stupid tweet they now regret; or for, say, admitting they once liked a piece of pop culture now viewed in a different light, such as “The Cosby Show.”


“I think this is also related to something I just discovered called doom scrolling,” Professor Ross told the students. “I think we actually sabotage our own happiness with this unrestrained anger. And I have to honestly ask: Why are you making choices to make the world crueler than it needs to be and calling that being ‘woke’?”

To which I say a resounding AMEN. Of course, I don’t completely agree. Aside from how everyone in the world is always borrowing from old Christian practices without knowing that’s what they’re doing (coughMathew18cough) Ross advocates for something called “Reproductive Justice” which is, I am sure, as just as it sounds, and she doesn’t question the assumption that “correcting” people is as useful as we all seem to believe:

“I have no problem calling out politicians who aren’t living up to the oaths that they swore to,” she said. She cited Colin Kaepernick, someone who quite effectively called out a powerful organization, the N.F.L. “The thing I am sharply critical of is punching down, calling out people who have less power than you simply because you can get away with it. But there is a very strategic use of punching up.”


That, I think, is a basic human assumption–if someone is wrong, they have to be told that they are wrong in one way or another–they have to. Like, in this case. Apparently, Mr. Trump has surrounded himself, in some sort of Old Testament charade, with lots of prophets who are always willing to tell him that he will win. So anyway, one of those prophets recently apologized for being wrong about the election:

“I take full responsibility for being wrong. There was no excuse for it. I think it doesn’t make me a false prophet, but it does actually create a credibility gap. A lot of people trust me; trust my ministry. I want to say I am very sorry to everyone who put their trust in me. There was this major, major mistake.

“I want to say I’m sorry and I want to look into the reasons why there was a disconnection there in what I heard. I have always believed that when you make a public declaration; that if you get it wrong, you have to make a public apology.”

But the backlash among the prophet community was so great that he recanted:

Pushback within the movement was swift, and Vallotton quickly reversed himself, removing the video from his account. In a second video, he said he had gotten “thousands” of responses saying he had apologized too soon; that he was naively believing the media or that he was a coward.


I did just start reading The Righteous Mind–I’m not very far so I have no idea how it will go–but I do find myself, as he points out, constantly being irritated with people who are wrong about everything. And because the swirl of news is so polarized, it is impossible to be alive and not come into close personal contact with someone who violently disagrees with me about the essentials of life. Those people are Everywhere. And each item on their lists of reality is of utmost importance, as indeed are mine.


Like here. Hallmark is getting into the diversity business with a new LGBT flick this “holiday season.” The pictures, of course, make it clear that the industry isn’t giving up on the Christmas Throwing Up On Itself Decoration Option, but they will have two men fall in love. It’s going to be so great. In this way they will completely miss the point–like so many. We weren’t watching the same Christmas movie over and over in order to become better and more expansive thinking people, we were doing it to escape. But I digress–back to the point, which is that everyone is wrong about something.


Another case in point–the covid stuff is becoming so deeply entrenched. I know people on both sides who think the other side is wicked–not just wrong or confused or reading different news articles, but wicked.


So, I just want to throw into the pot that which I think is really wicked. Just for treats. The thing I think is most wicked right now are all the ads on Youtube and other places for Etsy and Shutterfly and that gross brand of spices with the red top on the plastic bottle all trying to be cheerful about this “holiday season” and how it’s totes fine that people are having to stay away from each other (I don’t care why), and that we should still just make Shutterfly books before we give 2020 “last looks” (books and looks rhyme, in case you were wondering) as if a global pandemic and political unrest is just fine and not that big of a deal, nor that a lot of people are suffering from various kinds of mental anguish. Oh, sure, you in your house cooking your turkey alone, face timing with all your family, it’ll be fun–It’ll Be Totally Fun–just buy some more stuff. What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, that’s it! TONE DEAF.


No, I’m sorry, stop it with these kinds of ads. Don’t force yourself to be upbeat if you can’t. Likewise, don’t feel the burden of telling people they are wrong. First of all, they may not be–you may be the one that’s gravely mistaken. Except about one thing: this year is completely rotten. The only way to make it better is not to buy more stuff or to spend more time being angry about other people but to fling yourself on the mercy of Christ, who is King, and who can see everything, and who will give you wisdom and compassion for others if you ask him. That’s the only way it will ever get better, and probably not in material terms, but in the darkest corner of your own mind and heart.

Go check out more takes!

Browse Our Archives