At Least She Asked

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Having been annoyed in the past by both "gifts" that are really suggestions and holiday preaching about recycling, I must confess that the main value I got from a recent Carolyn Hax answer was laughter.

Within the exchange, titled, "Don't Expect a Recycling Miracle on 34th Street," the writer asks, "[C]ould this be perceived as imposing my hippie-dippy ideals on them, or trying to guilt them into recycling?"

Hax replies in part:

Image by Paweł Czerwiński, via Unsplash, license.
It could be perceived that way, yes, because that's exactly what you're doing.

Plus, trying to social-engineer people through housewares you want them to have is not! a! Christmas! gift! It's like buying your spouse a new vacuum cleaner to make them better at doing chores for you. It's coal in their stocking with a side of superiority -- and, ironically, extra plastic, steel or other resources.
It was also funny to read Hax explain that many "recycling" programs send the trash to landfills.

The reply could have been better, had Hax not implicitly accepted the premise that municipal recycling (as it is envisioned today) is a good thing rather than a waste.

With that out of my system, I was glad to see that etiquette isn't quite dead: The letter-writer deserves some credit for considering how her contemplated gesture would have come across, and Hax for displaying a genuine (if implicit) recognition of the value of civility -- and not the virtue-signaling, fake kind.

The latter is evident from the fact that it would be good advice even if, for the sake of argument, recycling really were a good thing to do: Basically accusing someone of being obdurate or lazy will definitely not entice that person to consider an opinion that is being used as grounds for such a charge. Nor is doing such a thing a great way to maintain or improve a relationship over time. Those of us who got a chuckle out of the bargain can also afford to think about that.

-- CAV

No comments: