This pig might be the exception. (dlz design/Flickr)

This pig might be the exception. (dlz design/Flickr)

The Drive Home: Generally speaking, don’t be a pig

By Chris Williams

Geese are great. They honk, they fly, they form amazing letter Vs in the sky and they don’t spend a lot of taxpayer money on unnecessary things like underwater chalk refineries or miniature bingo halls for extremely tall bingo addicts. But sometimes geese can be buzz killers too. Like when you go out for a walk in a nice meadow in bare feet and all of a sudden some goose murders your family. That’s a super downer.

Sometimes, just like in politics, geese can be really frustrating and make you question the benefits of a democratic system. There is an old French proverb that goes, “If the baguette isn’t fresh, then don’t tip the baker.” I was never really sure what this proverb meant so I often put it aside in favour of this much better Welsh proverb: “When life gives you geese, you better hide your family or they might murder it.” It’s much more direct, and easier to understand.

But it begs the question, if the Welsh proverb is about keeping your family safe from geese, why bother with the much vaguer French proverb that doesn’t really do anything except perpetuate an unfounded generalization of French culture – a culture that refuses to properly tip its bakers? This, my friends and loyal readers, is the danger of “generalizing.”

Generalizing is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of a society, threatens the safety of its members, and is hilarious if delivered correctly and to the right people. No one should ever generalize about anything unless you think you will get a good laugh out of it at the expense of other people (who you don’t really care for anyway).

Generalizing (or “stereotyping” in Latin) is the practice of assuming a quality or characteristic of one person applies to an entire group of people who are exactly like the first person except that they don’t wish to be reminded that they are. This is considered politically incorrect and can lead to things like angst, riots, fabulous comedic film, and rabid geese.

Some examples of generalizing would be:

All men are pigs.

All women are not pigs.

Pigs don’t do the laundry enough.

Pigs never put the toilet seat down.

Women never put the toilet seat down, either.

Although on the surface these all seem to be true statements, they are not. They are all generalizations. A lot of pigs would, if capable of it, get very offended about many of those statements. Just the other day I was talking to a pig who was going on about a woman it knew who always put the toilet seat down. That pig would be very offended if it was suggested that this woman didn’t put the toilet seat down. The pig would probably start a protest of some sort, calling attention to the way toilet seats are misrepresented in the media. It would quickly get out of hand, a riot would start, and there would be angst and eventually a very funny movie about it. And then there would probably be some sort of economic crash that would be blamed on millennials not buying enough canned goods and the whole world would blow up.

That’s why you shouldn’t generalize. Because we can’t let the millennials win — not even if they do buy canned goods. Hope this helps!

The Drive Home