The Seagull Move

Join Our Community Subscribe to Paul's Posts

Oh, how we love our labels. It is endlessly fascinating to watch how people can change meaning by attaching a label then passing judgment. We see labels in politics all the time: liberal, conservative, them, us, immigrant, enemy (assign whatever judgment you wish).

And we see it in audio too. I recently posted my thoughts on ABX testing on the PS Audio channel. Of course, this is going to fuel up a whole bunch of emotions as people line up on each side of Opinion Street. I don’t for a moment think I will sway any person one way or the other. That’s never been my intent. What I am trying to do is educate in the hopes of shedding a ray of light on the undecided. That’s a worthwhile goal, in my opinion.

I love watching how we first categorize, then label, then pass judgment on an idea. We can think of this as the Seagull Move. Fly in, form an opinion, take a shit, fly away. Others can deal with it.

Here’s a great example. Viewer Robert Calvo performed the Seagull Move with perfection.

The “I need to be relaxed!” excuse. Hilarious.

Brilliant execution, really. And, in all fairness to Robert, I believe his intentions were completely above board. He was doing his best to compartmentalize his feelings in one succinct statement and I applaud him for his work.

Let’s dissect what Robert did and learn how the move works. First, the label “I need to be relaxed” is presented as a thing or a routine. Next, we need to pass judgment on the label. In Robert’s great example, he gets in two bonus points. First, he passes judgment on the label by slipping in “excuse”. Next, he makes his definitive judgment: Hilarious.

You see? In one “swell foop” Robert has demeaned the entire 9 minute explanation and he can then move on, having done his business. Truly fascinating.

Perhaps even more fascinating is what I just did. I too created a label. The Seagull Move. Now we can put this in a box and apply it as we see fit. Fascinating, right? (the only difference between my label and his is that mine is accompanied by a lengthy explanation which enhances meaning).

My only word of caution is this. Once you see someone using the Seagull Move, try your best to look beyond the label just a little or search for a detailed explanation. We’re all subject to its power.

Tomorrow we’re back to op-amps.