Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

TO LIKE OR NOT TO LIKE [W, 11-22-17]

 I worry these days about saying I “like” something, because I no longer know what “like” means.

There is a lot of football coming up, so football commentators are predicting which team will win by saying they “like” the team. “I like Alabama.” None of them ever says she likes Indiana, which is too bad, because I think IU is quite likeable. Apparently, though, football commentators just don’t like you if they think you can’t win.

At least in football, “liking” is linked to effectiveness. In other areas of life, “liking” is not tantamount to competence. I have noticed that often when people say, “We like our pastor,” it means the pastor is not very good at her job, but they like him anyway.

I accompanied granddaughter Brigid to her high school freshman orientation gathering and picnic since her parents were both working at the time. Many of her classmates went out of their way to speak to her. I said, “They must really like you.” “No,” she said, “they respect me.”

She was right. There is a difference between liking and respect. For instance, I like Sarah Palin.

When she was running for vice-president, I heard many people say, “I’m going to vote for her because I like her.” I said, “I like her, too, but liking a person is not enough reason to vote for her.” Much more important than likability is ability.

I blame it on Facebook. There “liking” does not necessarily mean liking. It’s just phatic communication, an acknowledgement that a fellow Facebooker has seen that stupid cat video you posted. [Although, I do like cat videos.]

But I like you, for being kind and patient enough to read what I write.


I tweet occasionally as yooper1721.

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