You deserve a break today

Everyone who labors deserves today’s holiday. And everyone who labors today, deserves extra pay, our thanks, and a day off. In theory, anyway.

Somewhat related, everyone who labors also deserve a day off from everyone who tells other people how to do their job, and/or pronounces judgements or presumes or assumes things about others’ work.

For example, everyone, at one time or another, finds a good reason to bash our do-nothing, no-nothing Congress. (Some people consider such criticism a full-time job, but that’s another matter.) But for a day, just for kicks, go easy on the condemnation unless you have a real solution to offer. Or encourage compromise, based on your own example. But simply shouting insults, however cathartic, doesn’t get the work done.

The Internet allows all of us to become “expert” in any area we care to research online. Despite our “I-slept-at-a-Holiday-Inn-last-night” confidence, however, it doesn’t really make us experts. And despite the democratic nature of many online activities, it doesn’t mean our opinion should always count. For example, when it was announced recently that Ben Affleck would play Batman in an upcoming sequel, people immediately began to complain about the choice, which is their right. Then it snowballed into a petition signed by more than 75,000 people who registered “their disgust and demand Affleck’s removal from the role.” This isn’t the same as people clamoring to save a cancelled TV show. This is 75,000 people who think they can tell Warner Brothers who to cast in a movie. Maybe they could all pool their money and artistic license and create a movie studio and produce the film they really want. (And certainly it would be easy to get 75,000 to agree on who should star.)

So, just for a day, let’s relent on the “everybody’s an expert” vibe that permeates public discourse. On the 364 other days of the year, we’re free, without any actual experience or even a moment in their shoes, to criticize and know better than, to name just a few: Coaches and referees at all levels, police, teachers, politicians, fast-food workers, and social workers.

The best people at any given job are open to specific, constructive criticism and are willing to admit and correct mistakes. But a barrage of general negativity just makes everyone more surly. Of course things seem hopeless when everyone is corrupt, when no one does their job well, when all media and the entire movie industry don’t know what they are doing, as measured by online critics, where everything is the worst thing ever.

Enjoy your day off from work, and from making and/or hearing complaints.

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