We stereotype every day all the time. One glance and I already know all about you — it’s called stereotypes. We have a great deal of information to process on a minute-by-minute basis, and as humans we often create quick categories to drop people into just to make the day a little easier. That is normal and ﬁne, as long as it stays in your head or in a journal entry. Once you begin describing people on paper, more work and research is required.
A woman in the Chanel suit alights from the Lexus SUV in front of Saks Fifth Avenue.
What do you think about her? Is she a good person? Is she someone with whom you can be friends?
Stereotypes work in our heads, they do not work in ﬁction, non-ﬁction or God help you, business or marketing. Many stereotypes come from assumptions based on your own local experiences either from direct contact or assumptions passed down from family and neighbors. Assumptions based on “the members of this group always behave this way” or “the members of that group always look that way.” “Those people” — an especially nasty phrase when uttered by a political candidate — can be of a different nationality, creed, color or just shop at a different store. (By the way, does anyone know what is “different creed?” Is it a bad credo that rhymes with Speedo?) You already know about the perils of judging a person by the color of their skin, got that. The new challenge in stereotypes is assumptions about a person’s socioeconomic and job status. Can we discern to a great extent, what a person is like and what their socioeconomic background is just by looking at their clothes, car and hair? Sometimes we can — and sometimes our assumptions meet with dismal failure.
The boy wearing sandals and an old Burning Man tee shirt, what kind of person is he? He could be here to deliver the mail or he could exist solely for
comic relief. Nope. He is actually the CEO of a start-up company. The woman dressed like a bag lady? Nope, she is not here to get her com-
plimentary bag of food from the food bank; she is a famous author notorious for resembling a bag lady.
People do wear uniforms to help others discern who they are and what they can do for you, while they wear that uniform — ﬁreﬁghters, police ofﬁcers, store clerks, maintenance workers, cowboys, tour guides. But many don’t. Socially we are better at pushing past stereotypes, in writing it takes a bit
Dolly Parton was once asked if all those blond jokes insulted her. “They would,” she replied. “If I were a real blond.”
Write about a place you’ve never been to. Don’t research the place first. Pick a location and write a fictional or even non-fictionesque (totally not a word but it sounds good) style story about this place. Maybe do some research after and compare! See how close, or how far off you really were.
Bring Our Your Dead:
Dee Solberg: http://ramble-inn.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/angus-and-lilly-2-revised.html
Angus and Lilly 2-revised
Angus was lying naked, bruised, and bleeding in a ditch the first time I saw him. His emaciated, huddled form lay beneath the rags the angry mobs had left him in and he shivered violently. With the cart stopped, I slowly approached him. Anyone else would have left him there because the mobs were downright deadly.
If I were anyone else, they would mount our heads on a spike. I am safe though. I run the last boarding house and a supply stop before pilgrims embark on their journey to the Promised Lands. Angus flinched and cowered as I slowly, cautiously approached. It was obvious by his build that he was a former ‘clysm war soldier. It was the only reason a mob would have been out for his blood. I started talking to him soft and low, as if coaxing an abused stray.
“I’m not here to hurt you. I’m trying to save you,” I told him softly. My voice rasped over the tears clogging my throat.
“You’re risking your life, just leave me, I’m broken.”
“I’m a coward. No one will hurt me, or there will be no final outpost before the Promised Lands.”
“Why help me? I’m a ‘clysm soldier!”
“I was part of the med team that discovered the government’s drug induced treachery regarding your team. I know you are innocent of intent; that you didn’t know they pumped you full of a drug that destabilized you. I’m helping you in hopes maybe you will decide to help me at the boarding house when you’ve healed.”
He looked at me for a moment as though judging my intent though never met my gaze, “I’ll need help getting into that cart.” Then Angus rose, half stumbled into my arms, and snuck into my heart.
Word of the week
When summer comes or charity fund-raising is involved, English pub games often veer from mere eccentricity towards total lunacy. These are the days of marrow dangling, passing the splod, Portuguese sardine racing, conger cuddling, rhubarb thrashing, and dwile flonking.
The game is officially played by two teams of twelve players, though there is great flexibility in numbers (the terminology and rules also vary from place to place). The fielding team gathers in a circle, called a girter, enclosing a member of the other team, the flonker. He holds a broom handle (usually called the driveller), on top of which is a beer-soaked rag, the dwile or dwyle.
At a signal, the girter dances around the flonker in a circle. He must flick (or flonk) the dwile with the driveller so it hits a girter team member. His score depends on which part of the body he hits — the usual scoring is three points for a hit on the head (a wanton), two for a hit on the body, (a marther), and just one for a leg strike (a ripple). If after two shots the flonker hasn’t scored he is swadged, or potted, which means he has to drink a quantity of beer from a chamber pot within a given time. After all the members of one team have flonked, the other team is put in. The winner is the team with the most points after two innings, usually the one with more members still upright.
Ash and Chris- A big congratulations on their wedding.