Exploring the Social Imagination

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Social Imagination Asks ~ Why do we 'Badmouth' people?

Why do people say bad things about other people? Why do we, in the social imagination, badmouth? What does that mean anyway? According to the dictionary definition, it means to drag someone through the mud. It means to defame using certain words that do public harm to someone's character and to do it with malicious intent which means that whatever is being said is not true or not proven to be true.

Well, sadly people badmouth other people to gain attention/money/position for themselves. They want to make themselves look good or better in the public arena than those around them. They do it to sell themselves as righteous or to sell a product that they will benefit from or an agenda that will move them up in social status; and, they can do it even using nice words.

For instance, they can use a 'tag question'. He or she should/could have been nicer to me,  right? That insinuates that someone isn't nice after all. If someone says this in 'mixed company' at the office i.e. then social animosity toward someone has been stirred up unfairly. Women are really keen on this kind of tactic but men are not excluded nor any other gender for that matter. We all do it and for the reasons just given above.

It sounds nice to say, "I think she's lost weight, hasn't she?" That insinuates someone was fatter than they are now. You can insert anything you like to gain attention for yourself. "I think he has put on weight don't you?" In this way, you look thinner just for saying that someone else looks fatter. "I don't think they will get that promotion, do you?" Now you have insulted someone's ability to move up on the career ladder because you think it should have been you.

"They can't afford that house/car/vacation, you know?" Or, "He could have found someone better looking, don't you think?" "We all live and learn, right?" Which really means that you made a mistake not someone else; you point out this 'social pitfall' in order to remind people the world is to blame.

"Why don't you leave him/her?" That means you are judging someone. "Why don't they like what I am doing?" Judging again. "Why can't they leave me alone?" Judging again... And, "If they/you don't like what I do/or how I live, then they should just go away or find someone else." Again, judging!

"I can't stand that man/woman, they are so intolerant"... judging. And, ironically, we think that our judging, virtue signally, is for the 'right' reasons. We think that what we say is for someone's own good so that they will improve, come over to our side and our 'right' thinking, because our social imagination is the right one! Really?

Yes, we badmouth people to make ourselves look better or to make ourselves feel better about the sin we commit... take the log from your own eye before you talk about the stick in someone else's eye [Luke 6:42].

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