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@wwaycorrigan

[Listen to an audio version of this blog entry here.]

‘If you ever meet a woman … Just be yourself, Dougal. Be yourself, make them feel at ease and, the golden rule, always let them have their way. It’s easiest in the long run.’

That was the advice proffered by Father Ted in an episode of the eponymous Irish-made, British-produced 90s sitcom to his dimwit understudy Father Dougal.

Father Ted's initial advice to Father Dougal to 'just be yourself' when meeting a woman ended in disaster.

Father Ted (c) & Father Dougal with the radical feminist Niamh Connolly. Ted’s initial advice to Dougal ended in disaster (image from YouTube).

Self-harm
Acting on that advice later when left on his own in their parochial house, Dougal hands over the residence free of charge to a radical feminist singer — a character unquestionably based on Sinead O’Connor.

When Ted returns he is, unsurprisingly, aghast at what’s happened. How could it have transpired?

Dougal tells him that he was just following his advice to ‘be yourself’. Ted clarifies: ‘Be yourself is just something people say. Never be yourself with women. Never, never, never!’

As for the golden rule mentioned previously, Ted downgrades that to the silver rule. The golden rule is, he says, ‘if anyone is ever talking to you again, think about what you’re saying and then don’t say it. And then just run away somewhere.’

Comedy gold and, if I do say so myself, it has aged like a fine wine.

Of course, the idea of finding and being yourself, your true self, is one that has been parroted by the finest of philosophers and self-help gurus through the ages.

‘In today’s cancel-culture world dominated by those who perniciously call themselves liberals, many influential individuals appear more prepared to toe the line than to raise what should be considered as reasonable objections.’

Like many philosophical mantras, it sounds quite wonderful in theory yet its practical application can be rather troublesome — vide Father Dougal.

Public puppets
In the powerful, interconnected spheres of media and politics, where it could be said that being true to oneself would be beneficial not just personally but for society at large, we generally get anything but that.

It’s more a case of, ‘What can I do and say that matches the dominant narrative, that will keep me onside with those who shout the loudest?’ This is what tends to drive public discourse and action, not any real conviction.

In my topsy-turvy, on-off 15-year media career, I’ve lost count of the times when I’ve spoken to interviewees or fellow colleagues off the record about certain topics only for them to say at the end, ‘but we can’t say that on-air.’ There’s a certain image that has to be maintained. In other words, ‘I can’t really be true to myself because I fear some people won’t like it.’

The argument can be made that shooting from the hip — or from the fingertips, à la a certain Donald Trump — isn’t very becoming of those in positions of power, that it often causes more harm than good. That’s not the point. One can still display decorum yet speak one’s mind. (I’m not, to refer to another comedy classic, calling for a be-like-the-boy approach from The Simpsons episode Bart’s Inner Child, which resulted in a descent into chaos. I’m on about mature discussion.)

Yet, in today’s cancel-culture world dominated by those who perniciously call themselves liberals (*LINK https://wwcorrigan.blogspot.com/2021/06/hold-tight-worst-is-yet-to-come.html), many influential individuals appear more prepared to toe the line than to raise what should be considered as reasonable objections.

Wisdom paradox
From gender issues and white privilege to climate change and coronavirus-containment measures, there is much we still don’t know. Thus, those who aggressively proclaim, like religious zealots, that their path is the right one should not be given a free pass.

Going against our true selves out of fear or for career prospects or such like will only lead to frustration and even misery. Yes, there’s every chance one may be wrong or burning bridges in pursuing a certain course but if one fundamentally believes in it, then it’s best to stick with it.

This isn’t to say that a person’s opinions can’t change when and if the circumstances dictate or irrefutable data suggest otherwise. Again, the idea of being true to yourself isn’t about being right or wrong in the exact moment, it’s more about congruence with the fundamentals of your character. In other words, don’t try to be somebody else.

Many, however, for the mistaken belief that it will lead to a less stressful, easier life, often follow Father Ted’s revised golden rule. They don’t say anything. They let others do their thinking for them.

Indeed, the Catholic Church built its vast power on such indoctrination. That institution’s force has been on the wane for decades. Yet, there are many, arguably more insidious types, stepping into the breach. Beware of those radicals, Dougal.
_______________________________________________________________
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.

Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan — The Blog & IQuiz “The Bogotá Pub Quiz”.

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PERFIL
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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

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  1. Muy interesante tener esas opiniones de la colombianidad desde un punto de vista mas amplio en todos los sentidos y en cuanto a lo de no ser uno mismo, con las damas, pues amigo se esta perdiendo el análisis de las matronas paisas y santandereanas que son reinas en sus casas mientras el patrón en forma resignada se disfraza de vasallo.

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