Archive for January, 2012

Keep Your Opinions To Yourself

Posted in current events, opinion with tags , , , on January 30, 2012 by Kyle Fleming

On a bus trip back from Des Moines this weekend, I decided to grab a Jimmy John’s sandwich to eat. As I was eating my sandwich, one of my bus mates saw me eating (along with some like-minded people), and said, “By buying Jimmy John’s, you support the murder of elephants.”

I then had to sit through two hours of the people behind me talking about that statement and the merits of changing your shopping habits.

While it may be true that the owner of Jimmy John’s started big game hunting after making a lot of money from his business, I don’t feel I should be marginalized as inhumane because I wanted a sandwich.

While the pair behind me did make some excellent points–namely that, while it’s important to know where your money goes, you should also take social aspects such as current need, franchise owners, and local community into consideration–I really feel that they missed the bigger picture of the exchange. Which is simply: my bus mate’s flippant statement was uncalled for, unnecessary, and, frankly, pretty rude.

I appreciate people having opinions; it means they’re thinking about the world around them and forming ideas. What I don’t appreciate is when people spout those opinions to people who don’t want it.

If you want to raise awareness, fine. Hold a rally. Stage a protest. Provide the public with information in a non-confrontational way. But as I’ve pointed out before, being aware of things only goes so far. And I’ll even amend my previous statements by saying that there is certainly good awareness and bad awareness.

Good awareness makes people rethink how they do things and could lead to a change in behavior.

Bad awareness is condescensing statements about elephant murder that almost makes me want to give money directly to big game hunters.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t mind the fact that Jimmy John is a hunter. I’ve grown up in a small town in Minnesota, where people often hunted or fished for sport. Jimmy John had always been a sport hunter, hunting for elk, deer, geese, whatever happened to be in season. And now that he has the money, he’s able to expand his hunting horizons and find greater thrills in nature. And why should I hate him for that? If I made a bunch of money from starting a successful restaurant chain, I would definitely use my money for things I’m interested it. I’d probably buy studio time, I’d definitely travel, and I may purchase a bunch of music, or sporting event tickets.

I wouldn’t go big game hunting, not because I’m a die-hard animal activist, but rather because I have absolutely no interest in hunting. It doesn’t excite me like it does other people. I’m a pretty boring person and stay within my comfort zone most of the time.

For all facets of life–religion, politics, social causes–while it’s good to have opinions, keep them too yourself until there’s an appropriate time to share them. There is a very thin line between outspoken and overspoken.