How did an oven that was intended to save us time and minimize our effort, morph into a way of being and interacting? It’s a rhetorical question, I know. But watching the reaction and the reaction to the reaction to the Shirley Sherrod debacle is yet another reminder of a very sad truth about our culture: The microwave oven has moved beyond the kitchen and into our psyche and way of being. If it wasn’t official before, it is now…we live in a microwave society.
Unlike an actual microwave, though, that comes with Do and Don’t instructions, we don’t have directives for how to live in a world that is short on patience and long on judgment. Perhaps if we did, we’d recognize that two and half minutes is perfectly fine for heating up food; not so much for evaluating and judging the many facets of human behavior and character and one’s motivation.
I hope we heed this wake-up call. May it prompt us to honestly and candidly talk about the so-called indecorous topics of race, power and money – or, as I call them the “taboo 3.” Each on their own can be sensitive and divisive; this week the concatenation of the “taboo 3” made the week of 19 July 2010 a horrible week for Ms. Sherrod, personally, and a political, emotional and financial volcanic experience for us all.