Negative Attribution Rant

I recently read a post in an online forum about guys approaching girls on social websites. The discussion in the forum moved to guys  interacting with women in general. The forum contained a post by a woman that burned my biscuits. It was one of a series of posts by her that indicated a real dislike and distaste for anyone who did not have her personal seal of approval.
A sample quote from a post by her.
“Again, if I don’t know you, don’t approach me in public, regardless of your intentions.
There *is* something wrong, however, with approaching a woman he doesn’t know and expecting a response from her, whether he just wants to say hi and see if she’ll engage in a little conversation, or if he’s looking for an insta-hookup. As I wrote above, you don’t get to *expect* a response, think you’re *deserving* of a response just because I’m a woman. What I deserve is to be able to be myself in public without having guys think it’s their right to approach me, and that they’re deserving of a response.”

I’ve written elsewhere in my blog about what I thought the greatest and worst inventions ever were. I thought the worst invention ever was Negative Attribution.

Quoting myself
“Worst invention? My vote is for negative attribution. The creating of a bad story to fill a perceived void of knowledge about something or someone. The beginnings of the “bad stranger”, the “alien” or the “weird family two caves down”. That has led to more grief, ignorance, unending nasty shit, death, pain and hatred . . .”
Now I am willing to impute negative attributions when there is a direct history of negative results. An example – many religious freaks think it is ok to torture, kill or mutilate women because they are women. If I hear a woman in a culture surrounded by these religious freaks wants to learn how to read or get a job, or wants to choose her own husband, I assume she will run into grief. If I hear a repeat pedophile wants to get a job as a crossing guard I assume he wants to interact with children in order to get his jollies.But if I hear a guy wants to say “nice day” to to a lady on a nice day I don’t feel there should be an assumption that he is a rapist, or intends to force his company on said woman, or that he is doing anything more than enjoying the day and letting that enjoyment out in a perfectly reasonable and normal sharing way. To expect all strangers to stare frozen-faced forward and act as if each were alone instead of being in a great sea of humanity – well that is just sad.Yes, guys bother women. And yes, women bother men. Why, even pigeons bother folks eating their lunches on park benches and barking dogs bother folks in the night and etc etc. But to assume the worst of everyone, and expect everyone to avoid everyone else because of this expectation is just crap. Crap.

How are we to learn the positives that come from a place run by religious freaks if we shut everything out due to a blanket use of Negative Attribution? I mean, there are gradations within every system and we cannot assume a black/white on/off situation exists in every potential interaction.  The beauties of Afghanistan are lost to us if we assume the entire region is a monolith of hate and willful ignorance.  The beauties of a flight of birds in the urban landscape are not in our eyes if we only see squabbling sandwich snatchers that crap on the bench during our lunch hour. The warmth of the strangers around us will never be available if we refuse to let them say hello, nice day, I hope you are well.
I am not one to approach strangers. Never have been and never will be. But to have some random person decide I am a sh*t for the simple reason that I am breathing air in their vicinity, making the mistake of smiling at them, or horror of horrors say something like “nice day”, well, that flips my switch. It creates Negative Attribution in me. I decide they are a sh*t and I would now do absolutely nothing to ease their passage or make their day. Negative begets negative. It’s a fact of life, like anger begetting anger. An unpleasant and unnecessary feedback that leads into a cultural spiral of anger and hate and distrust.

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