This post brought to you by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

I love stereotypes and I always have. That sounds like an awful thing to admit, but really it’s not. Because you’re the same way. For some reason, an affinity for stereotypes is human nature. Our species craves a feeling of comprehension about our environment, which gives us a sense of control. Even if it’s false control. If that sounds true and profound to you, it’s because it is; I got it off a science website. But like all people who mean well most of the time (I’ll tell you when I don’t mean well: WHEN I’M IN A ROOM FULL OF CHOCOLATE!!!) my instinctive enjoyment of stereotypes is a beast I try mightily to run off, the way White Fang’s owner tried to run him off with lies about him not wanting White Fang around anymore. Same deal. Because if you indulge too much in stereotypical thinking, you begin to subconsciously believe stereotypes define the world. Then you consciously believe it. And then you wake up one day and find you’re a crazy person who clings to his guns and religion who believes all San Franciscans are gay communists. Or you wake up and realize you’re a gay communist San Franciscan who thinks all religious gun owners are crazy. Sure, right, all San Franciscans are gay communists. Right. What’s the real number? 60%? If that?

But stereotypes are fun. I don’t know why, but they’re funny and gratifying. Think about what comedians do. Mostly, they play on stereotypes. What’s your favorite tv show? It uses a lot of stereotypes, and if you think about it, that’s part of the reason you enjoy it.

Take this guy for example.

Why is that so delicious? Sure, there is something funny about a person who attends a convention about nerdy video games like World of Warcraft, but what’s really great about this is that the guy asking the question is exactly who you want him to be.

Most of us belong to one group or another that is commonly stereoptyped. I am a white American Mormon male. All four of those have associated stereotypes held by other groups, although the Mormon one is probably the strongest. I remember when I told an evangelical friend I was Mormon, she looked at me like I had admitted to marrying her grandma. Utter horror. But I guess that means she didn’t have me pegged as the stereotypical Mormon before that, so maybe that’s good.

Ken Jennings

Hi, I’m Mormon

Anyway, my latest episode of having a fun stereotype confirmed happened last week. I was listening to NPR. I like NPR a lot. The tone leans a touch to the left, and Meee-chelle Norris reveals a bit too much by her shaky voice and five-times-more-aggressive-than-usual follow up questions when discussing Sarah Palin or the Tea Party, but the content is always interesting.

So, for Halloween they were doing a piece on real live Witches who belong to the Neopagan religion Wicca. I found it very compelling. I listened to various wiccans being interviewed. Then there was a Wiccan High Priestess talking about something or other, and at the end of her comment the narrator said her name. Margot Adler. That caught my attention. “Isn’t there an NPR reporter named Margot Adler? I’m sure there is, but it must be a coincidence.” No coincidence. Same Margot Adler. Not sure why I didn’t see it before. Her name is Margot, she works for NPR, she has that very slight lisp that so many highly-educated urban liberals have, and she looks like this:

MargotAdler

Of course Margot Adler is Wiccan.

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16 Responses to This post brought to you by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

  1. Troy says:

    Hi I’d like to extend a welcome to all the San Franciscan gay communists that just arrived to DDDT via Google today. Have a look around, and if you don’t mind a suggestion, I think based on your demographic you’ll like Davis’ posts the best.

  2. Norm says:

    “But what’s really great about this guy is that he is exactly who you want him to be.”

    That is a profound statement. If we are all honest with ourselves most of us will admit fear of the unknown and that includes a general discomfort with strangers. I know a person who is really into those personality books and has everyone she knows boiled down to a color (you know red personalities are aggressive, whites are peacemakers, etc). Until she figures out what color personality you are she feels uncomfortable around you.

  3. I was going to say, let’s all welcome Margot Adler to the blog, folks! Darn you Troy, for stealing my joke and delivering it much better. The video clip is priceless. OH! I was going to mention, too, that Zack and I are a few seasons behind in The Office and we were watching an episode from season 6 the other day and saw the Flea Market Montgomery commercial playing on Jim’s computer.

  4. Braden says:

    LOL Troy. Kook, that is absolutely one of the most fitting things I’ve ever heard or seen. I can’t agree with you about NPR, though. I used to like it. But now I find it intellectually cloying and just to clever by half. It is the intellectual equivalent of a really hot person who know they are really hot and take every opportunity to show it while pretending not to be aware of it.

  5. craftyashley says:

    I just thought ALL the people at NPR were Wiccan… or at the very least actively worshiping the devil. At least that’s what I heard in Sunday School…

  6. Azucar says:

    MARGOT ADLER IS A WICCAN?

    I’m going to bring this up to the Car Talk guys. I’m sure they’ll have something to say about it.

  7. Ryan says:

    Lol. Click and Clack would never stand for such foolishness. Heck, they don’t even believe in the Three Nephites.

    http://www.millennialstar.org/did-a-car-talk-caller-encounter-one-of-the-three-nephites/

  8. Braden says:

    I want to ammend my comments. NPR is not like a really hot person who knows they are really hot. NPR is actually like someone who is reasonably attractive but thinks they are hot and acts like it.

  9. bandanamom says:

    I love this blog because:

    1. It does not succumb to the stereotype of mormon males in the blogosphere (a rather un-funny bunch who most take themselves too seriously and spend a lot of time debating far flung things including “The White Horse Prophecy” as though they have the definitive answer on such things, or, whether or not One should indulge in Caffeinated products with charts and demographics and scriptural references as well as the odd apocryphal story thrown in for good measure…some of the dudes at BCC being the exception to the rule)

    2. You make me laugh. A LOT.

    But in the interest of full disclosure, I love NPR even just a smidge more than you guys. Ira Glass being the love the of my life. But you’re a very close second.

  10. Ben Pratt says:

    My favorite feature on NPR is called “Marketplace.” In it, the participants discuss day-old economics news as filtered through people who don’t seem to actually understand such arcane political and economic concepts as “the Federal Reserve” and “the law of supply and demand.” This feature is usually interrupted at some point by a presentation of daily stock index changes, apparently under the assumption that those data are somehow useful to someone.

  11. Christian says:

    Troy, lol

    Norm, that’s so funny to me. People are kooky.

    Danica, If I get Margot Adler here, we’re shutting this blog down, ending on a high note.

    Braden, pretty sure no one at NPR is hot. Accuse them of many things, but not that.

    Crafty, the second I find out Robert Siegel is Wiccan is the second the Neopagan religion has its first recruit in Utah County.

    Azucar/Ryan, well said, well said. Until now, I never wondered about how Click and Clack feel about working with all these namby pambies. That 3 Nephites thing is awesome.

    Bandanamom, Thank you. I was looking at your blog yesterday. The WWII “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster you had a few pages back gave me a big sloppy smile. Don’t you love those ol’ Brits?

    Ben, but boy, I dare you to find a better voice than Marketplace’s Kai Rysdal’s. I’d give my third born (not yet born) for that voice.

  12. Wade says:

    My comment is actually to the panelist on the right (glasses and goatee) in the red shirt guy video. He should not look so smug at the end of that video. How dare he sit there and act like the material he creates is only consumed by some non-existent hip, semi-intellectual, semi-aloof gamer crowd. Mocking red shirt guy or pretending he doesn’t exist will be his downfall when redshirt guys all over the globe take our (I mean their) $$ and devotion elsewhere. That is all.

  13. Ryan says:

    Good call Wade. Seriously.

  14. Braden says:

    Kook, I said they were the intellectual equivalent of people who think they are hot. Not that they are hot. BIG difference.

  15. Christian says:

    You’re actually right. Until now I haven’t taken the time to look their pictures up, but now that I do, I was pleasantly surprised. Dina Temple Raston, Steve Inskeep; some of these folks are pretty good looking. Of course you’ve got a bunch of Karl Kassels and Diane Rehms hurting the collective hotness score, but still, not bad.

  16. Mollie says:

    Oh yes, DO NOT HATE on “Marketplace.” It makes me feel smart because it’s finance-y but I usually understand [some of] it! So if that’s because it’s all useless, I don’t want to know. Plus, yes, Kai Rysdal has an awesome voice. And I happen to enjoy the stock-market report, not because it’s useful to me (or anyone, for all I know), but because they play “We’re in the Money” when the market is up and “Stormy Weather” when it’s down, and I just think that’s adorable.

    Also, I have a slight lisp. I thought it was because the speech therapist in my grade school used to make me cry so they let me stop going. Now I know the real reason!!!

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