In my reading on the almighty interwebs this week, I find myself rather frustrated with the incredible amount of oppositions and harsh criticism being flung back and forth between different theorists on every topic under the sun. I would say they’re acting like children, but I think that would be an insult to the good number of children that seem to get along just fine with others on the playground.
People attack the San Fran Ban (couldn’t help it) on the Happy Meal stating that it infringes on the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children. Next thing I know, I read about advocates that are vying heavily for rules requiring children under the age of two to be put in their own seat on an airplane for safety reasons, and the dangers of CT scans in dental offices due to radiation. Personally, I’m all about the safety of children—in all realms. It seems a bit inconsistent, however, that we can protect our children against radiation and plane crashes… but not obesity. I’m not sure when “safety” is just “safety” or when it is encroaching on parental rights, but it seems as if all of these issues are quite black and white to those fighting their respective fights—and the sides change from all different angles.
Another article I read today was a criticism of landscape urbanism—a school of urban planning that according to this author is nothing but a collection of analogies that are nothing short of rehashing old, worn issues. Published on the New Urban Network, it’s really not surprising that the criticisms would be as harsh. The people-oriented theories that New Urbanism finds its roots in would inevitably collide with the not-so-populated Landscape Urbanism. My question is, however: Why in the world would you not work together?
This issue is certainly not by any means new. The democrats and republicans have been hashing it out for what seems like forever (despite the relative youth of our government), and I’ve experienced it countless times in academia: cognitive-behavioral vs. humanistic-existential theories of psychology, positivism vs. social construction, and my personal favorite: qualitative vs. quantitative research. I very much support the wonderful constructive criticism awarded by an open forum. Without posing these questions, how can one improve upon a theory? Yet still I see these aggressive dichotomies waste time and create these structures in which it is more important that your theory is right than actually getting at the heart of the matter.
Personally, I support any and all theories that work in a constructive and ethical way to solve a problem. One better—interdisciplinary measures to approach problems are the only way to get at the total scope of perspective. So I beg of you, oh great theorists, writers, critics, and generally mean people:
Get off of that stupid pretentious soapbox you cling to so strongly and get something done, okay? Your self-righteousness is nauseating.
Apologies for the rant, I’m out.
Photo by Charles Knowles