Insidious Danger!!! Tread carefully lest you fall into the Reputation Trap!

Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.
Iago, Othello

Sometimes I wonder if people value external proprieties over naked honesty….

I planned on writing about this subject at some point, but the hi-jinks at work on Tuesday pushed this topic to the front of the queue.

So I sat in the canteen, in the presence of the female member of management, listening to another workmate talk about the “player” antics of his flatmate. Seems as if Paulie-boy’s lodge mate likes to keep the ladies on rotation! Skipping the details, he pontificated whether or not one of the girls – travelling from abroad out of love for Mr Manwhore – should know the truth of what awaited her.

It’s at this point that Ms. Manager bulldozes into the convo, her moral indignation locked and loaded, arguing (quite soundly): “It’s one thing to be a player but to say you care about someone and do all that!?”

Things get kinda awkward at this point – a pet peeve of mine remains listening to someone pausing and stuttering around for a euphemism when directness does the job more than adequately – and my conflicted colleague showed signs of slipping into such a state. “He says he likes her, yet he’s with her..and her…and…..”

In a prime display of MRDAness I cut through the red tape: “He just wants pussy!” I exclaimed, slaying any semblance of conversation that previously existed – and inadvertently awakening the PC peon in both my colleagues – particularly Ms Manager!

“I never expected you to say that,” she gasped, pulling a face which almost suggested the resurgence of her McDonald’s apple pie; she followed this up later in the day with a Shocked & Appalled(TM) “I’ve completely changed my opinion of you!”

Well, gee – so sorry to induce a cognitive rupture in your pre-packaged preconception – I’ll get the eggshells out next time, shall I?

“You don’t talk like that around girls, ” Paul said.


“You just don’t! Trust me,” came the response.

The moral of this story? Lick some metaphorical mu— I mean vagina in order to get a chance at licking some tangible twa– whoops, vagina! Cos all women operate on the same schematic, it seems….

Sorry, but Political Correctness (TM) does not a hard-on induce! Eloquence perhaps… .Eloquent vulgarity certainly! But Political Correctness (TM) in a woman? Neuro-Linguistic anti-Viagra!

Besides I grow sick and fucking tired of having these fucking “nice guy”,”gentleman,” or “goody-goody” templates superimposed over me by those who really know fuck-all. Yes I can be eloquent, polite etc; other times, I choose to be vulgar and uncouth; in my best moments I attain a synthesis of the two approaches, such as in this-here-journal of mine. At any time, I act these for my satisfaction and certainly not to live up to your incomplete, PG-13 opinion of me!

“Boohoo! You’re supposed to be _______!!!!” they cry…

… to which the appropriate response would be: “I never said I was _______ , now did I?”

Many people pride themselves on “their good reputation” or even for having a “notorious” reputation – they play up to these external opinions, lending them more in the way of power and weight. Other times, people imprint a first impression/ casual acquaintance/power relation/ utilitarian interactive perception of the Other into their memory as the first and final truth about said person – before inflicting said misguided view onto their target! Their esteem of Other then revolves around how well Other fits in the cage plays the role mentally assigned by the perceiver(s).

And if you rattle the perceiver’s cage you can be sure you’ll hear about it! En masse if you’re real unfortunate…..

….which leads me to wonder if people would much rather interact with types and templates than multi-faceted authentic individuals….

Robert Anton Wilson stresses, in Prometheus Rising, that perception and reality more often then not do not equate; yet it seems a lot of people prefer to interact according to what they see with their blurry mind-sight…..

Truly reputation is the cage instinct in the free man… (yes, and the free woman too!)


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15 Responses to Insidious Danger!!! Tread carefully lest you fall into the Reputation Trap!

  1. rinku says:

    Still, shouldn’t one respect the sensitivity of particular people to particular words, or anything else? For example, if someone smokes and has a friend who does not, it makes sense that the smoker would choose not to smoke around that person. Likewise if you have a cat and have a friend who is allergic to cats, do you bring your cat over to their house when you visit them, or wear cat-hair infested clothes to their house? Likewise if someone is vulgar but has friends who find that language unpleasant to hear, the vulgar person can temporarily avoid those words for the sake of the friendship. Think of people who do not curse and find it unpleasant, such as myself, as being handicapped or allergic, no different from someone allergic to cats.

    • aliasjack says:

      That only matters as the relationship does. In the case presented here, he obviously didn’t care enough about the relationship enough to take either party’s sensitivity into consideration, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The only other case I’d argue for is when the perception of you held by the party in question could be important to your survival, like say you’re living in the house of a bunch of crazy-as-shit Christians who would throw you out if they knew you were a vulgar atheist and you have nothing to fall back on should that happen.
      But, generally, social rules are really only as important as one’s desire to participate in a society.

      • rinku says:

        True; I hadn’t read the entry in enough depth to gauge his relation to these people, but on re-reading they seem to just be acquintances rather than friends as I had assumed.

      • MRDA says:

        “But, generally, social rules are really only as important as one’s desire to participate in a society.”
        Well put!

  2. funwithrage says:

    First of all: damn straight. I mean, yes, we’re judged by how we act, and that’s fine, but, good Lord, part of being a psychologically functional adult is the ability to adjust behavior to situations. And people should start taking that into account when forming opinions about others.
    Second, your workmate’s full of shit. I’ve mentioned, elsewhere, the vast and cosmic turnoff that is chivalry, and it does not get any better when hidden behind a veil of PCness. I mean, yes, there *are* women, like your manager, who want all men to be sensitive, just as there are women who really really want to be cared for and protected. As a girl, I’d advise my male friends to stick their dicks in a Cuisinart before going near any of those chicks, for they are so very not worth it.

  3. bigblack81 says:

    God bless you, sir. This post is why I have such a hard time living with other people. God bless.

  4. i had always assumed that most people value external proprieties over naked honesty. as i am entering the work force and trying to live on my own, people tell me it hurts my chances to be more ‘nakedly honest’.
    however, i find i am more and more compelled to be that way with every incidence of bullshit i encounter.
    one thing that particularly disturbed me was when i got a haircut that suited me, all of a sudden everyone wants to be my best friend. it was just a good damn haircut, and now all these perfect strangers want to be nice to me.
    that pisses me off to no end. and while i usually don’t like to be mean to people i’ve just met, i feel that if i am purposefully rude to those with an obviously superficial interest in me i am being honest with them about how they make me feel.
    why should i pretend to like people who don’t give a damn about me, and are only talking to me to look cool?
    boy do i have news for them; i’m not cool. and may my rudeness drive them away feeling shut down.

  5. konami says:

    I’ve run into this kind of problem quite a lot. People get this idea I’m a nice guy (and maybe I am), but then when I show that I can be rather mean and ruthless at times, their opinion of me completely shatters.
    I’ve mostly got over this misperception as of late though; I try and be purposely nasty from the get-go. I don’t know if this is slightly deceptive but it seems necessary to avoid false bonds.

  6. phyrbyrd says:

    I agree with you – brings me back to the time when I said I liked Hammertime (admit it, everyone likes Hammertime…) and someone said ‘What? But you’re a goth!’
    I’m not a goth. Actually I think I was a Beatnik at the time, but now I would thank people not to stereotype me.

    • MRDA says:

      The irony of “alternative” cultures remains the fact that they tend to organize itself along the same rigid, conformistic lines as the mainstream it deviates from. I say take what you like from all of ’em and throw away the rest – good on ya!

  7. newedition says:

    Haha! Just chiming in to say that I think your descriptions in this entry are hilarious and this was one of the best entries I’ve read recently. I have in the past been guilty of “pre-packaged preconceptions,” but I try not to do this. Often the people I admire I turn in to some sort of god, which definitely isn’t good… and one of your last paragraphs made me recognize that “multi-facted authentic individuals” are MUCH more interesting and worth knowing than preconceived templates!!!

  8. dgowers says:

    It’s indeed rather disturbing, especially when people ask me to do stuff based on their perception of me — particularly they seem unable to comprehend that I can be good at multiple things and not particularly stuck on them.. If I’m drawing, I’m an artist (with no particular talent or liking for other things, like programming); If I’m coding, I’m a coder (with no particular talent or liking for art).
    To be fair, I don’t give them much of a hint; Is there a hint to be given? I’m me, and I do this this this this and this (and possibly that too, if it fits with the others and seems interesting). Making judgements of me based only on what I do is inherently fallacious.
    It’s troublesome, because reputation is needed for a certain few things, but you can’t trust it at all.
    I’ve observed that there may be a successful counter, in the form of continuously breaking people’s perceptions (I mean any given individual person; people as a group are too inclined to shoehorn future behaviour into a subset of past behaviour). If you can handle the consequences, that’s the way to go.

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