I Did Stop Getting Spammed

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Purse strings resemble those that control a marionette in more ways than one. (Image by Icons8 Team, via Unsplash, license.)
Way back in grad school, I knew a leftist architecture student who would occasionally spam me with political email. This ended shortly after an email she sent me in an effort to prevent de-funding of some government art sponsorship program by the new Republican congressional majority. I usually ignore email like this, but something about this one caused me to realize I had a teachable moment on my hands, so I wrote her a short note, something like: "Government funding of the arts means government control of the arts."

Did I change her mind?

Only on the issue of whether it would serve her purposes to spam me, or so it would seem.

Knowing what I know now, I can entertain a faint hope -- that, yes, I should have kindled a bit at the time -- that my note precipitated the first step of a journey towards a better understanding of the corrupt bargain too many of us make by accepting government funding.

All I am likely to know about the matter, though, is to try to do better next time.

-- CAV


Dinwar said...

I had a somewhat similar experience in college. I held the door for a young woman, because I was raised to be polite. She went on a tirade about how she didn't need a MAN to open a door for her, she was perfectly capable of opening one herself, and on and on. I quietly waited as a man came up (outside this woman's field of vision), and when he came up I opened the door for him. The woman stopped mid-sentence and said "You open the door for everyone, not just females, don't you?"

Like you, I cherish a faint hope that my action opened her eyes to the fact that what she thought was education is in fact propaganda. I have no way of knowing--I never even learned the woman's name--but that look in her eyes when she realized her error does give me some hope.

Gus Van Horn said...


You caused me to think: At worst, perhaps each of us contributed to the other person gaining what I have come to call perspective in my own mind, as I have observed people (including myself) become less prone to jumping to conclusions and making snap judgements of others as we age.

Based on my own reflection, I think what we did might at least have helped cause the other person to consider the idea that other people might act for reasons their own preconceptions don't account for. He's a nice guy who opens doors for everyone. or Not everyone wants to hear my views out of the blue, no matter how passionate about them I am. Even we didn't help someone see the error of opinions we would regard as wrong, there is a decent chance we have humanized the "other" they had been so quick to suppose their opponents to be.

That is something.