Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Why do they call it the fair if it is NOT FAIR?" - lessons in civics, multi-valence, and life.

Sometimes you get asked hard questions.  Or at least questions that are hard to answer with your usual glib responses.  I love having kids.  They constantly make me evaluate what I really mean by what I say.  This week has had a number of those.  Evolution came up in science, and a lot of behavior got blamed on our early ancestors, the monkeys and the fish...  (I'll have to post about that, but not today.)  We also had a bad week at the fair which gave rise to our title question.  Here's the story...

Last year JJ took Angel to the fair.  Angel wasn't in perfect condition, and she hadn't been worked with very much.  Angel won Grand Champion Dairy Doe, and Best of Show. 

This year JJ took Angel to the fair.  Angel was in great condition.  She was filled our nicely, had a great udder, had been clipped 3 weeks in advance so her coat looked great, almost perfect.  She was still a slightly grumpy, alpha goat, who just tolerated being shown.  JJ was spot on.  Angel looked great, but fidgeted a bit.

This year Angel finished dead last. 

Everyone showing, and most of the audience had her placed first.  But the judge, a pygmy goat specialist (@##$^&&) placed her last.  The worst goat in the show placed second.  A nice, but thin, doe placed first.  A dairy judge would have flipped the whole field except the first (should be last) two. 

JJ was crushed.

On the way home she asked me the "WHY" question.

What do you say?  I thought " you lost because the judge was a brainless git..." 

So we talked about politics.  We have two judges running for office right now.  One (the under-funded, former county prosecutor) goes to our church, but beyond that we know nothing about him.  The other, has spent lot of money on adds and events telling us "who he is".  In my head it doesn't matter.  The law is the law, who cares who the judge is.  BUT...  (here is where the multi-valence kicks in...)  the law only defines the end points.  A and NOT A.  Real life is somewhere in-between. (See Bart Kosko's brilliant book  Fuzzy Thinking: The New Science of Fuzzy Logic for more on this idea!!!)  JUDGES DRAW THE LINE.  They decide where the break point between A and Not A lies.  That's what happened in the goat show ring.  Last year's judge drew the line one place, this years judge drew it in a very different place.  Both of them were "right".  Fair is a mater of perspective...

Life is about where you draw the line, and where you allow it to be drawn for you.  Where are your lines?
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