Make Yourself Weird – Only Get to Know Folks Like You

Matt Damon was interviewed by the Associated Press recently and made some comments about the upcoming Presidential election here in the US that made some headlines.

Now I am a fan of Damon’s work. If you ever get a chance to hear him talk about what he put himself through to get ready for his break through role in Courage Under Fire it’s hard to deny the guy is seriously committed to excellence in his profession. And there is no doubt Damon is one of the most bankable actors around.

I like watching his movies.

Fear of the Unknown

In the interview Damon expresses concern about Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin because he “doesn’t know anything about her.” And it kind of freaks him out.

Were that really the case (the lack of knowledge, not the freaking out) I suppose I could see where he’s coming from. But with the intense media scrutiny that Palin (and her whole family) has been under these last couple of weeks it seems a little strange for him to say he doesn’t know anything about her.

I suspect he really means something more along the lines of “I don’t know anyone like her or who values the things she does.”

Take a look for yourself.

People Different From Us

Now I’ll be the first to admit that there’s no one quite like Matt Damon in my current circle. Sure I’m taking some acting lessons. I even auditioned for a very tiny part in a movie staring Dean Cain that is going to be filming this fall. (No telling at this point whether I earned the part or not.)

But actors at Damon’s level aren’t folks I associate with right now. Nor do I really know what types of people Damon hangs out with.

That being said, I have a hunch that Damon doesn’t associate with many people who think like me. If he did he wouldn’t be quite so freaked out by the whole Palin thing.

Think about it. With my personal history of going to a state school, six years in Naval Aviation, a decade and a half working on the docks in the maritime industry, and a business owner, which of the two sets of candidates do you think I’m more like and might relate to better?

Expanding Our Horizons

There was a time when I only knew people who were pretty much like me. I joke that my own personal views are slightly right of Attila the Hun. Most everyone in my circle of friends were folks I worked with or went to chruch with. Back then I’d rather be right (as in correct) than have friends.

All that’s changed. Being in the tech field, most of the people I associate with see the world very differently than I do. I’m OK with that.

And now I’m dabbling with the whole acting thing. That’s another demographic that doesn’t see the world through the same lens that’s in front of my vision.

Actually I think it’s been very good for me. I’ve come to realize that there are merits to other points of view. I can disagree with people without thinking they are stupid or ignorant.

Associating with people who are vastly different than me has helped me gain respect for those I disagree with.

Bottom line is, when I only hung out with people who were like me I was a little weird. Well, really I was kind of a jerk to people who were different. I tended to be condescending and talked like everyone with a different view was unworthy of consideration.

Because I’ve been there I think I can give Matt Damon some advice. Expand your horizons a bit. Then you won’t find folks those folks who are so different to be so terrifying.

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