Thursday, November 13, 2008

Here is Where I Disagree

I used to be a much more disagreeable person, but as I have ever-so-slightly matured, I have slowly realized that life is just a little bit easier if I work on reducing my disagreeable characteristics, and instead replace them with discussion and understanding. I continue to have a tendency to say the wrong thing or react inappropriately when my emotions get the best of me, and because I am tall and loud and (I'd like to think) quick with a clever insult, this can often result in an unfortunate and not entirely intended form of bullying. This is probably one of those things that I will have to regularly work to overcome so that I don't drive away both of the people who like to be around me.

That said, there is this one consistent theme that has been popping up around me in the last couple of days in particular. In today's connected world, there are millions of news outlets and everyone, everywhere has an opinion about something. That is the reason why I have this blog as my outlet and you are patient and kind enough to take your time to read these words. Because of this, I think it is easy for anyone with the opportunity to share his/her opinion with the world discounts to nothing the potential impact of thoughts and words. There is such a scatter shot of people with different opinions, than why would any one person's opinion count or impact anything? This kind of thinking gives someone the opportunity to develop and express an unsupported/fallacious and possibly damaging point of view without any concern for the repercussions. This is particularly damaging when varying opinions converge or become "accepted truths", and these accepted truths do not accurately represent reality.

Best example I can think of right now- the argument "Detroit doesn't produce cars people want to buy" is, I genuinely believe, self-fulfilling. Someone says it on CNBC, a blogger continues on with this thread somewhere, a newspaper editorial carries the story saying that the biggest problem is that they're not producing what people want, and in the end, a potential consumer will not even consider a set of possible products because the accepted truth is that there is no way they would want to buy a particular product. Only an IDIOT would buy this or that, because these are cars that NO ONE WANTS TO BUY. I am taking a simplistic approach to the spread of opinions here, and unfortunately for us, these opinions have been formed from years of disappointment. What product or products would convince the public that Detroit does produce cars people want to buy? Looking for a great small car purchase? Consider the relatively new Ford Focus - well-regarded by the press, owners, and the Microsoft Sync technology is a massive hit. Looking for a competitive midsize car? The Chevy Malibu is a great vehicle produced by GM. What about an American alternative to a BMW? The newish Cadillac CTS has won raves from everyone, everywhere, including overseas press.

Despite this progress, though, the accepted truth is that Detroit produces absolutely nothing that anyone "would want to buy." I do not know what can or will create the necessary massive sea change in opinion, it could be too late, and there are lots of other problems to fix. There is a difficult problem when a mantra becomes truth, and everyone carries forward the flag of Detroit not producing products people want to buy. Why is that true? Because you said it. Because everyone said it. It has to be true because everyone knows it's true.

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