Contextually Speaking

I’m going to start out with a little piece of Deacon King Kong by James McBride:

“He goes out there and insults the Jews and nobody says a drop about it. Except us. The Jews hate us, man! They don’t want no projects out there in Forest Hills.”

“Dig That.”

And the whiteys hate the Jews, because the Jews run everything. You dig?”

Now- it you read that passage without any accompaniment. what do you think? You don’t have to say it out loud, but how do the words presented sound when you roll them around in your brain? Chew on that for a moment…

Do these four lines need more context in order to give one the full meaning?


Do you think this mini section stands alone?

When you hear/read/see something, how much context do you need to understand it and make sense of it?

Should you make a decision about the book based on the four lines that I quoted?

Ok- now I’m going to go way to the far end of the tree branch and make a statement that may or may not make sense…even I haven’t thought this one out fully… Lucky you- you get to be here for the actual genesis of an idea in my brain…Huzzah…Prepare to be scared because I’m not quite sure what’s about to spill forth…

Do we ever really have the full story on anything, because do we ever all the contextual things that we need in order to make a decision/judgement/whatever?

Every statement I make is a compilation of all the things that make up my background, and what is going on in my present, and what I am preparing for in the future.

If I make a statement that you don’t agree with, it is fair to chide me unless you know my whole backstory?

I know, this sort of goes back to my NO JUDGEMENT zone, which you also know I manipulate sometimes to prove a point…

Should you ever tell someone that what they are thinking or feeling is wrong? (for the record- I still hold that math has right and wrong answers, but you have to know my background as someone who wants correct change and for my taxes to be done fairly to fully comprehend why I feel this way)

Should we stop giving people grief because they think differently than us because we don’t know the context of their lives?


Give and Tell

When I walk the Manhattan Streets with my dog, I often get asked for directions, most commonly, how to get to the subway. I guess I have one of those friendly faces. Or they figure if I’m with a dog I probably live in the neighborhood.

Most often I tell them the way- two blocks west on 23rd…if you want to go downtown cross the street. Don’t forget to change trains at Union Square I say, and send them off on their merry way.

Occasionally, if someone seems totally perplexed, and if it’s not too out of my way, I walk them to where they should go, or give them a head start…

Which leads me to my next thought: Is it better to give directions, or is it better to lead someone someplace? Think of it as a variation on give a person a fish they eat that day, teach them how to fish they eat for a lifetime…

Do you ask for directions?


Do you ask to be led?

I know I am a directions person. And I like to get my hands dirty. I like to put into action what I’m trying to do. I need to experiment. I think it comes down to being visual. I don’t really like to listen to things other than music. Can’t do audio books…I miss half the story…

And I certainly don’t want people doing things for me.

I don’t want people telling me what to do…

I like to read a variety of sources. I like to ascertain the pros and the cons. Then I formulate an opinion. I give myself the berth to allow my opinion to change over time…

But I am definitely not following the Pied Piper around.

I don’t jump on a bandwagon because it’s popular or on trend. I don’t see the need to do something just because everyone else is doing it.

I like to be in charge of my thoughts and actions.

I know I am far from perfect. But I own my choices.

Yet I realize that there are people who want to be told what to do. People who want to be led.

I don’t really understand this point of view…

Why do people want to be led? Why do people want to follow?

And don’t tell me it’s because everyone can’t be leaders. That’s a cop out of an answer. You can create your own path without being a “leader”.


Your assignment today:

Give me the pros to my con…