Friday, June 26, 2015

Any Reasonable Person

NOTE! If you are looking for a blog which is going to argue the pros or cons of gay marriage, look elsewhere. This blog is looking strictly at the way information of legalizing gay marriage was presented to the public, as well as the public’s reaction.  

There is a term in advertising called puffery. Basically, it allows companies to make bold, sweeping statements which, of course, any reasonable person will see as not the complete truth.

For instance, you may go to a restaurant that boasts “the best hamburgers in the world.” Do they have proof to back that up? Nope. Can you sue them for false advertising? The answer again is no.

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has gone as far as to say, “The Commission generally will not pursue cases involving obviously exaggerated or puffing representations, i.e., those that the ordinary consumers do not take seriously.”

The idea of puffery came to my mind when I read the United States Supreme Court ruling on legalizing gay marriage. All over the internet are phrases like “Love is Love” and hashtags including #ProudtoLove and ‪#‎marriageequality.

And why not? In the statement made by Justice Anthony Kennedy, he includes the following words, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

“Where’s the puffery in that?” you may ask. Hint: it is in the last sentence. Go ahead, read it again.

(Seriously, read the last line again.)

It says, “two people become something greater than once they were.” Two people. Any reasonable person will accept that the two people are not closely related by blood, are not already married, and are of consenting age. Right?

Someone (not me) could argue that the way this was phrased means that brothers and sisters could be married. After all, they are two people. And who is to say that the love between a brother and sister could not embody “the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family”? Or is that just implied because any reasonable person would find it as unnatural?

How then, do those celebrating this case with terms like “Love is Love” (which, by-the-way breaks the common sense rule of using a word to define itself) counter when someone wants to use the same mantra to allow siblings to marry? Ah, once again, any reasonable person understands that when they state “Love is Love,” they don’t mean that.

Perhaps the president of the United States could clear things up. Let’s see, what did he say? Oh yes. He is quoted as saying on the ruling, “When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free.”

All Americans, he said. Equal, he said. Of course, he didn’t mean siblings. After all, any reasonable person would know that.

But that then begs the question, what defines someone as a reasonable person? I’m going to propose that it is based on public opinion. Is that too far of a stretch? I don’t think so.

In 1996, a Gallup poll on acceptance of gay marriage showed only a 27 percent approval rating. In May, 2015, Gallup's findings were at a 60 percent approval rating for gay marriage. Apparently a lot more people became reasonable over the last twenty years.

The biggest problem, I see, is that the wording was too broad on the gay marriage ruling in some statements. In a sense, it used puffery.

There are those who are fighting to legalize marriage between siblings. There are those who are fighting to legalize marriage between more than one person. There are those who are even fighting to have the legal age for marriage lowered or eliminated.

To each of these groups fighting for their wants, they too, could argue “Love is Love” and that they are #ProudtoLove. But to them, there is no #marriageequality.

But that’s okay, right? After all, any reasonable person will see how misguided they are. At least until popular opinion changes. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hidden Sun Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Hidden Sun by J. Lloyd Morgan

The Hidden Sun

by J. Lloyd Morgan

Giveaway ends July 13, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to Win

Monday, June 8, 2015

Moving irony

Human nature is fascinating. While every person is different, I’ve noticed traits which appear more common than others—behaviors which are not always logical.

Our neighbors across the street are moving. How can I tell? The first hint is the “For Sale” sign in front of their house. However, I should have known they were moving even before the sign went up.

Here’s why:

We’ve lived across the street from them for several years. They’re nice folks. Generally, they keep their lawn trimmed and house maintained, though there are times when the Home Owners Association have had to politely remind them to do these tasks. (I’m on the HOA board.)

Recently, I noticed one of the family members was painting their mailbox post. It’s wood, and needs a fresh coat every so often. I was impressed because as far as I knew the HOA hadn’t said anything to them.

Then I noticed that they trimmed all their bushes and trees. Next came new landscaping updates—mulch, new stones around their trees, and such.

In the last few days, they have power-washed their house. Just this morning, I could see they were getting new carpeting.

Yes, all of these updates are because they are moving. In order to get as much money as they can from their house, they are spending a lot of time, money, and energy to make it a nicer place to live.

I’ll admit that when my wife and I have sold houses in the past, we’ve done some last minute touches to help make it more attractive. Sometimes we’ve joked, “Now that we’ve done these last few things, we really like the house and don’t want to leave it!”

When we moved into the house we are in now, we knew there were things we wanted to do to it. The goal was to make it a place we would want to live in here and now, which would also help make it more valuable down the road if we moved again. The idea was to do a little each year—and it has worked.

We’ve customized our house not only for it to be a place we love living in, but also to help increase its value.

Back to the human nature and logic comment, it strikes me as odd that people time and again spend so much effort on making their house super nice just as they are about to leave it.