It’s ok to be different

July 9, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

I sense a growing aversion to being different and that concerns me.

Of course, it’s nothing new to seek acceptance. We all want to be part of the group of people others trust and respect. But, what about different?

Is it alright to speak differently? To act differently? To think differently?

Are we afraid to celebrate our differences?

Being careful about how we act and what we say makes sense. If our words or actions stray from being constructive, generous, supportive, and helpful, then perhaps they’re going in the wrong direction.

But different? I think it’s good to be different, like the first time I saw Martin Logan defy convention by integrated a woofer and an electrostatic panel I was thrilled. Thrilled because it was different, brave, and bold.

We are each different.

We should celebrate those differences.

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51 comments on “It’s ok to be different”

  1. Vive La Difference!

    It’s definitely good to be different.
    Differences help us to look at things & problem solve from
    different angles; inside & outside ‘the box’.
    I totally agree that differences should be celebrated.
    One glaring example of differences being exceptionally good is international food.
    We can be different & express our differences without being wilfully arrogant
    & obnoxious about it; like one particular contributor here.
    A little humorous ‘ribbing’ or ‘ball-breaking’ can be fun & add some humour to the dialogue without being offensive or objectionable if the other contributors understand that sort of humour; however there is one particular part-time contributor here who likes to be wilfully arrogant & obnoxious by insulting some of the regular contributors & quite frankly I find her demeanour & her superiority complex rather ‘etchy’.

        1. FR , if I may, as one Aussie to another.
          When I was young and in my early days in retail, I was dealing with a very difficult customer who was giving me a really difficult time and was causing me great angst. While this was going on there was a good old customer in the store who was a retired farmer. When the bloke left, this lovely old guy came up to me and said something that I will never forget. “Whether it be a bunch of sheep, goats, cattle or humans, there will always one ba#*+!d! Just let it go”
          Or as the song goes.” Walk away Renee”
          Cheers. T

          1. Best one I ever heard was from a friend who was a parts guy at a dealership dealing with a snaggle cow, who rattled this off before hanging up on her:
            “Look lady, my boss has given me permission to tell ONE customer every ten years to F#%$00F, but I’m NOT gonna waste it on you!”

      1. Hi Neil,
        Yes I’m well aware of that fact; I’m just not sure that ‘CtA’ is.
        I can’t agree with the, “And vice versa” though.

        1. I should have you use the word “usually” when I referred to vice versa. One of my best friends is a psychoanalyst (8 additional years of psychoanalytic training after he became a psychiatrist) and he agreed with me. So, what does that make him correct? I would say yes.

      2. Those of you who think that you know it all are extremely annoying to those of us who actually do. In my profound and much in demand opinion.

        “Mr. Confused, it’s tixzxzxzxzxzxzx


        Nope, putting that stale joke aside for now.

  2. Don’t be too hard on CtA.
    Isn’t it possible we all are too simple-minded to assess the true value of the contributions of this genius ?
    Just asking…

  3. FR makes an interesting point about food.

    There’s an excellent series by Stanley Tucci on CNN about Italy through food – which for a lot of people is what Italy is all about. We’ve stayed in several palazzo where the chef will only cook with ingredients either from their estate or within eyesight. It’s not snobbery, it’s because the products are determined by the local microclimate and that’s what they’re used to. The reason for the great variety in Italian food is the vast range of topography and climate, from the Alps to the temperate northern valleys and the burning heat of the plains of Puglia in the south. You can take a similar view of food from Iceland to Indonesia, ignoring national boundaries. There must be a library of books about it. One of the most wonderful is the transition from the Middle East to Persia, over the Himalaya into northern India.

    Globalisation by definition homogenisies consumer behaviour, but I think local tastes and preferences are hard to erase and that extends to the most mundane of things such as products for listening to music, because of disparities in incomes, property sizes, climate and musical tastes.

    1. The late Anthony Bourdain opined on several occasions on the superiority of Italian cuisine prepared locally from the ingredients acquired in the area. His hypothesis was that, in addition to the freshness of the ingredients and the skills of the born and bred chefs involved, elsewhere there were simply not enough dead Romans in the ground.

      1. He probably had a point.

        I don’t know how Americans cope with Italy because Americans have dinner at 6pm when Italians are only just finishing lunch. I remember going to a restaurant outside of Williamstown, Massachusetts, we arrived at 8:05pm and they’d just closed the doors for the evening.

        1. As a solo retired person, I pretty much do things according to my own timetable, or the lack there of. It is occasionally inconvenient when personal whim and establishments with regular schedules do not coincide, but such is the nature of reality. Even in this less cosmopolitan part of Middle American (Lincoln, Nebraska; Google Maps it if so inclined), [“but hey, it’s home.”] there were a few more than adequately good places to dine or purchase needed supplies that were open 24/7. However, since The Scourge, most places have cut back their hours of operation or closed their doors entirely, perhaps forever.

          Things are doing much better in this relatively well vaccinated locale, but even a casual look at the news reveals that this is far from being over in this not-so-wide world. It’s not yet time to let down one’s guard. The situation can go sideways so quickly. And not just in regards to the pandemic.

  4. From where I sit, differences are only to be celebrated (in society) if you’re a member of what is deemed a certified oppressed group.

    In the world of technology or marketing difference is a good thing. Rewards are to be had if you stand out from the rest.

    Regarding the on going differences between our version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s…
    Pick a side and be entertained. When one of them crosses “the line” for you slap ‘em down. If you can’t get enough of them, then turn on reality TV (between listening sessions) and watch….

  5. Being different can reap big benefits. I recall reading about a famous US advertisement for the very different VW Beetle: ‘Think small.’
    People did.

  6. “We should celebrate those differences.”
    This is what got us into the Transgender mess and many others.
    Paul seems to be bouncing us around like a ping pong ball !!
    Celebrating a hardware change is just plain dumb, my 2 cents.

  7. Tsk – tut tut Paul – you may as well have called it
    “Light the blue touch paper” or
    “Stir the hornet nest with a stick”
    Have a great day folks ; )

    1. Kuchleffe {sp}.Paul may know this Yiddish word. It was used to describe a person who inserts themselves into a heated discussion and “stirs the pot” to get everybody even more agitated.

      We should all be nice to everyone who means us no harm.

      No offense intended Paul.

  8. I am going to put a stick in the hornets nest, I hope no one gets stung.

    I am all for differences in all kinds of things even if I prefer my personal life to have minimal change and to be rather boring in the eyes of some. I have, however, become very concerned that in an attempt to celebrate and uplift societal differences that the demands to be politically correct and ultra polite in practically everything we do and say ( especially here in NY ) has begun to erode one of our most basic freedoms. I found this online and since I cannot say it any better, I am simply going to post it as is.

    ‘While lovers of liberty in all lands have urged the necessity of freedom of speech, none put the case more pointedly than the French philosopher Voltaire when he said: “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” ‘

    1. Nicely said Tony!

      The rub is, as you eluded to, is there is a whole growing segment of society who want their right to say what they want when they want, but if they disapprove of what you or I say ( or worse, think) they want us banished, or at the very minimum full indoctrination into their beliefs until we conform….

      1. Yes. I would characterize it as an over reaction to how insensitive we as a society have been in the past. It’s kind of the way the pendulum always swings hard making a course correction.

        When I was growing up it was ok to laugh at hurtful racial jokes and slurs or gay bashing. That was never ok to those on the other side of the fence, we just never saw it or thought about it. Then, they stood up and said “enough”. Now that I know how hurtful and insensitive I was I am more than good erasing that from my vocabulary and thought process.

        The pendulum rarely swings in the middle so now those of us having made the course corrections must endure the inevitable backlash. Hysteresis.

        Patience. I am having to deal with much of this personally and I get it. Believe me. But using logic and “fair play” doesn’t work. The pendulum must first swing back and for that….sigh.

        1. No disagreement with what you say Paul. The only problem with the pendulum analogy is that if it works in a space of zero friction or loss of momentum then it constantly moves from one extreme to the other.

          I don’t struggle anymore. I’m comfortable in my own skin (like you said 🙂 a while back) I try to be cognizant of others feelings and their perceptions of societal correctness. It obvious many don’t share those thoughts or ideas. I think the big difference between the ‘camps’ is the approach and the demands of conforming to someone else’s ideals.

          As a human group we like to gather in likeminded gatherings and then preach.

          Maybe if people spent more time actually listening to both sides things would change for the better.

          In my opinion society needs a common goal to full unite. Usually that takes some monumental catastrophe or worse…

          Thanks for the discussion….

    2. Well said. When I owned my retail stores in New York City I told my employees, “bend over backwards for every customer but don’t bend over for them”.

      I consider myself a nice guy but I have a very short fuse when it comes to certain people mostly people who think that the world owes them everything.

      I didn’t know you reside in New York. Every day I think of moving back to New York from Florida, every day.

        1. Small world Tony, I lived in Chappaqua for 25 years. Loved it there and when I say I want to go back I really do. The woods,the nature and the culture are so different from South Florida. I also had a second home in Narragansett Rhode Island,15 minutes from the center of Newport. I used to crew on former America’s Cup winners that were in retirement out of Newport. So, for me I had the best of everything, The woods and the ocean less than 2 1/2 hours apart.

          1. stimp2, I know what you mean, I live on a heavily wooded lot myself. I do not want to ruin your dream by telling you what I pay in property taxes which I know are about the same as in Chappaqua these days.

        2. This is a wonderfully educational place, or perhaps a place to display my ignorance. Being in the U.K. I had always thought Pleasantville was a fictional place after the film of the same name, possibly even twinned with Smallville. Thanks to Tony and Mr Google I now know they are peppered across many of the American states. Everyday is a school day, love it 🙂

          1. There are places called Holland, Walton, Syracuse, Crete, Milford and Dorchester, all of which I’ve visited, except not the Holland, Walton, Syracuse, Crete, Milford and Dorchester in the environs of Confused Steven’s home town of Lincoln, Nebraska. I also found Nebraska on the map for the first time today, so we all learn something.

    3. Politically correct is one way of limiting free speech by the free speech police. Essentially by labeling something politically correct it’s off limits to criticism without violating the First amendment because people just won’t talk about it or question it without being ridiculed for it. Free speech and the first amendment is about allowing people to say things that you or the government don’t agree with, not allowing you to say things that you agree with. With limitations of course. You can say it but you also accept responsibility for it. Example you cannot shout fire in a crowded theater if there is no fire without accepting the consequences of your words. You might be free to falsely say something about someone but they are free to sue you for slander too. Section 230 has allowed social media sites to not be sued for things said on their websites because they are protected by that law in return they cannot censor you for say your political views thus becoming a publisher. Newspapers and the mainstream media can be sued thus they are allowed to censor and be a publisher and limit what they allow. Social media sites have taken advantage of their exemption provided by Section 230 and have become publishers especially when going after political views that are in opposition to their own. Can you imagine the phone company listening in on your phone calls and suspending and shutting off your phone for 30 days because you said something they didn’t agree with? That is basically what the social media sites are doing specifically to Conservatives who have a target on their backs by the liberal media. They call themselves the arbiters of truth even though their fact checkers have been proven wrong numerous times. So they are abusing their Section 230 exemption for being sued for what is said on their websites.

      1. Rights come from God not the government. The Constitution was not written by the government allowing us those Rights. That would be a privilege that they can take away. There’s a big difference between privileges and Rights. The Bill of rights and the Constitution were written by we the people telling the government what they cannot do to us. If the government breaks that agreement it could lead to another revolution or another letter written to those who tried to take those rights for us a long time ago. The Kings and Queens and dictators we escaped from when we formed this country.

  9. It’s fun being weird.
    It’s fun being weird.
    It’s fun being weird.
    You should try it sometime.

    Just letting my inner child run amok for a bit.

    1. LOL. Agreed. Just ask weird Al Yankovic. He seems to be having a lot of fun. So much fun he tours the world with his weird show and makes a lot of money doing it. I love freedom to be what you want to be.

  10. Has anyone considered that Paul’s post on “different” might be prepping us for the introduction of his new
    FR 30 speaker at RMAF?

  11. My wife, Diane, is the extrovert in our family and loves being with people and conversation. I would say I am more of an introvert and have no issues being alone and just reading and/or listening to music. I do not find that I feel lonely as the music is company and the reading makes me think deeply about things.

    I am now into Jordan B. Peterson’s: The 12 Rules for Life. this may take me two reads as there is a lot to digest. I love his Youtube videos and chats. One very smart fellow.

  12. Robert Frost’s discussion of being different in ‘The Road not Taken’ is a reflection on being true to yourself. A wonderful poem.

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