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Posts Tagged ‘communication’

 
How about this bit of human interest news? According to a front page story in the New York Times, teenagers now use a hug to say hello, enveloping even those they may not know wellkidshug. Everyone’s hugging – boys, girls, BFFs, casual acquaintances, even groups. 

What’s up with that? Are the hugs the leading edge of ever more casual interaction between people. Is it a teen reaction to the sterile isolation of virtual communication – e-mail, text, IM and Twitter? Are young people looking for connection in an uncertain world? Are they trying to make the geeks and the squeamish and the Christina Ricci Goth girl types who are ChristinaRicciuncomfortable with human contact feel even more out of it? Or is this simply another way for teens to defy convention and push defensive school administrators worried about inappropriate contact between students even further to the wall? Maybe all of the above.  

No matter; everybody’s doing it in high school. If it’s subversive, it’s cleverly so. I mean, who doesn’t love hugs? So warm, so fuzzy so fraught with meaning.hug frog

Somewhere back in the nineties, I read something about human beings needing fourteen hugs a day in order to feel well-adjusted. I was not about to depend on my exhausted, hard-working husband to deliver all fourteen so I settled for three or four and a shot at being moderately well-adjusted. At the time, I was married but working from home, thus somewhat socially isolated. My husband didn’t seem to worry at all, bless his well-adjusted soul. 

Now that I’m on my own and have a huggable little dog, I don’t feel as if I need physical contact with everyone and anyone I run into. I’m worried, in fact, that this ritual greeting might become a common cultural convention in social and business settings.menHugs I wouldn’t like that. I don’t want to hug my clients. I like my mailman Willy well enough. Hell, we  went through the anthrax scare together (Willie still wears a glove, kind of like Michael Jackson).  I tip him at Christmastime. But I don’t want a hug from him. Nor do I want the saleslady from Ann Taylor to accompany her enthusiastic “Those pants are so you!” with a hug. My doctor? No. My neighbor? Definitely not.  The cute guy who walks his dogs at the same time I walk mine? Okay, you got me there.

soloHugI am all in favor of shrinking our carbon footprints and trying to use up fewer resources but for better or for worse, I have managed to create my own space and I, for one, would appreciate it if no one would invade it uninvited.

 

 

 

How about this bit of human interest news? According to a front page story in the New York Times, teenagers now use a hug to say hello, enveloping even those they may not know well. What’s up with that? Are they the leading edge of ever more casual interaction between people. Is it a reaction to the sterile isolation of virtual communication – e-mail, text, IM and Twitter? Are teens looking for connection in an uncertain world? Is this designed to make the geeks and the squeamish and the Christina Ricci Goth girl types who are uncomfortable with human contact feel even more out of it? Or is this simply another way for teens to defy convention and push defensive school administrators worried about inappropriate contact between students even further to the wall? Maybe all of the above.
No matter; everybody’s doing it in high school, apparently – across gender and racial lines and including group hugs. If it’s subversive, it’s cleverly so. I mean, who doesn’t love hugs? So warm, so fuzzy so fraught with meaning. 
Somewhere back in the nineties, I read something about human beings needing fourteen hugs a day in order to feel well-adjusted. I was not about to depend on my exhausted, hard-working husband to deliver all fourteen so I settled for three or four and a shot at being moderately well-adjusted. At the time, I was married but working from home, thus somewhat socially isolated. My husband didn’t seem to worry at all, bless his well-adjusted soul.
Now that I’m on my own and have a huggable little dog, I don’t feel as if I need physical contact with everyone and anyone I run into. I’m worried, in fact, that this ritual greeting might become a cultural convention. I mean, I like my mailman Willy. Hell, we  went through the anthrax scare together (Willie still wears a glove, kind of like Michael Jackson).  I tip him at Christmastime. But I don’t want a hug from him. Nor do I want the saleslady from Ann Tailor to accompany her enthusiastic “Those pants are so you!” with a hug. My doctor? No. My neighbor? Definitely not.  The cute guy who walks his dogs at the same time I walk mine? Okay, you got me there.
I am all in favor of shrinking our carbon footprints and trying to use up fewer resources but for better or for worse, I have managed to create my own space and I, for one, would appreciate it if no one would invade it uninvited. 

 

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People are not stupid. Nor (and I’m going out on a limb here) are they willfully ignorant. In fact, if this protracted political campaign season gives me hope about anything, it’s that more people than ever appear to be trying to stay informed.

Still, people, I’m worried. Negativity is finding new and subversive ways of showing its ugly face. Radio and TV talking heads, not to mention on and off-line journalists of all stripes, are salivating over opportunities to trip up the candidates and their surrogates. The political opposition is in full collusion mode. What did he mean by that comment, hmm? What about the way she phrased that last remark, eh? Sexist? Racist? Atheist? Unpatriotic? Un-American?

It’s one thing to legitimately want to understand a candidate’s position on the issues. It’s another to believe there’s a hidden agenda and sinister intent behind every single utterance a punch-drunk and sleep-deprived campaigner makes. Some of the advisors, frustrated by the rise of nuance-free news, have played right into the microphones of conflict-seeking reporters. Hello, are you nuts? There is no such thing as off the record. Others speak their minds without considering that what makes sense to one group will be anathema to another. Then again, they’re not the ones running for President. 

Words mean something, yes they do. That’s why we are trying to listen to (not just hear) what the candidates are saying. Sure, we care about who their advisors are and what advice they’re receiving. But let’s keep our eye on the prize. We’re not electing their preacher or teacher or spouse or elderly mother. We’re not going to get distracted by the mind-games the minions are playing on each other, fully egged on by a media mostly bent on stirring things up. We’re better than that, right, people?

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