Life is the business of pimps and hoes… –Katt Williams
I have written about how comedy offers unique points of view and lets us make comparisons and juxtapositions we might otherwise not notice. In this clip, Katt Williams compares a construction business owner and a pimp.
Humans tend to focus on differences, and for good reason. It doesn’t do me much good to ponder how similar my house key and my car key are; their slight differences are what lead me to use one to open my house and the other to start my car. However, our ability to make distinctions is very culturally and situationally sensitive. The average American sees a difference between Wal-Mart and K-Mart, McDonald’s and Burger King, and so on. Although they are objectively similar, it is also possible to see them as opposites of sorts. We are familiar enough with their characteristics (and their own self-image projected through marketing) that we are able to differentiate them, and likely have a preference for one over the other. Yet, to a foreigner, Wal-Mart and K-Mart would appear to be nearly identical except for the color scheme. McDonald’s and Burger King would both be vendors of burgers, fried chicken, and french fries. To explain that one was somehow really different than the other wouldn’t likely make a lot of sense.
In a similar vein, culture and situation can prevent us from seeing common ground. A businessman who owns a construction company wants to see himself as being far different than a pimp. And in a lot of significant ways he is different. Yet, as Katt Williams points out, business is business no matter what service or good the business produces.
Why is this relevant? Because American social and political discourse focuses on exaggerating certain differences or similarities and minimizing others based on what we deem acceptable and unacceptable to the point that we quit understanding the real issue at all. This is the first step to making decisions based on emotion rather than data and logic. This is why we make decisions that feel good, but doom us and our policies to failure. This is why we cannot continue to be single-issue voters, or continue to be single-cue decision-makers. As with my other topics, specific examples will follow. Some day.