Bitch on the Blog

June 19, 2012


Filed under: Ethics — bitchontheblog @ 18:49
Tags: , ,

How is this for a nice little moral dilemma: You are asked to vote in a contest. One of the contestants is a friend of yours.  Do you give your friend the thumbs up or vote for the best, in your opinion, entry? Trust me. This is not easy. At all. Am thrown for six. Who better to ask than the Angel. The Angel, not easily unsettled, contemplated my question for two minutes and came down on the side of voting for the friend, regardless. Mmm. Interesting. I am not so sure. Not least because it questions the merits of a contest. Not exactly rigged but not far from it either.

Reminds me of the Angel coming home from school with one of his many productions (at age, I don’t know, seven or eight). It was a painting. I got the vibe he wasn’t very pleased with his effort though I thought it quite good and said so. Oh dear. Enter the artistic temperament. What did he say, with some disdain: “You would say that, Mama, wouldn’t you? After all, you are my mother.” If ever there was a damning verdict. Thus my career as a critic of the arts came, temporarily, to an abrupt end. However, oh the satisfaction, only a week later he came home with some story he had written, showed it to me and I said to him, sweet revenge: “I may be your mother but this isn’t very good.” Dear dog in heaven. Enter artistic temperament again. There were tears. Well, you can’t have it both ways. Since then he trusts his mother’s judgement, either way, even if he doesn’t always agree with it.




  1. Vote for the Best & not your friend, if that’s the case. Don’t give an opinion if not asked. This is hard for mothers to do.

    Comment by bikehikebabe — June 19, 2012 @ 18:54 | Reply

    • I agree with you on the voting. But what if it’s not anonymous?

      As to giving opinions to your kids: possibly different to your experience as a mother, my son always asks me for my opinion. On anything. Even if I don’t have one. Or don’t want to give it. It’s sweet, it’s touching. He returns the favour by giving his opinion on me and anything I do or don’t do, most freely.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 19, 2012 @ 19:10 | Reply

      • That’s a hard one but I think the “books” say you must be honest with your vote.

        Comment by bikehikebabe — June 19, 2012 @ 19:16 | Reply

  2. I take that back. Little kids need lots of your opinions. How can little girls grow up to be just like you. 😦 This isn’t a smiley face so is OK?

    Comment by bikehikebabe — June 19, 2012 @ 19:03 | Reply

  3. How ELSE can little girls grow up to be just like you.

    Just got back from grocery store where a woman asked me how I was. I said,”As good as you can be, when you’re as old as me.” She corrected me, “As old as I am.” I said it’s the correct grammar but doesn’t rhyme.

    Comment by bikehikebabe — June 19, 2012 @ 19:11 | Reply

  4. Vote for the best every time…a friend will value your judgement….. if noy a friend then…….
    Reminds me of the time I was asked to judge a children’s fancy dress competition. The best costume was obviously on on which a lot of parental time and money had been expended. There was one, and only one that had obviously been made by the child wearing it. It stood out from all therest which were all parental efforts. It won. I was never asked again due to complaints.
    I was asked why I had chosen that particular winner so I was blunt that this was a children’s fancy dress competition and that this was the only one that was demonstrably a child’s fancy dress in all possible meanings of the word.
    To this day I don’t regret my choice and would stand by it if asked to decide again.

    Comment by David — June 19, 2012 @ 19:23 | Reply

  5. Hope it wasn’t me that caused you to swirl in your conundrum. Even if it was, I sure hope you voted for the best in your opinion.

    As for moms and giving honest opinions…my now adult son said that he wished I’d been more “real” with him when he was growing up. It was a hard bump on the head (and ego) when he discovered he wasn’t the “best, smartest, most handsome” kid in the world and that in all likelihood he couldn’t do anything he wanted to do. When he realized he wasn’t all that special, he was a bit miffed at me for telling him he was. Who knew? I’m still learning how to be a better mother from him. Too bad it’s too late!

    Comment by Lorna's Voice — June 19, 2012 @ 21:23 | Reply

    • Lorna, no, it wasn’t you who caused me the conundrum. I read all the entries and your NV was, in my opinion, the best. If you had not won I am afraid I wouldn’t have – in retrospect – taken the contest seriously. There was one other entry I thought good, reminding me of one of the more sinister short stories by Roald Dahl.

      However, it was indeed your competition that first sowed the seed when looking at the graph of who got how many votes. I know it’s not very nice of me to say so, and I hang my head in shame, but some of those voted for clearly do have friends and family. I am sorry: It’s just a fact.

      You yourself recently sat on a panel judging entries and, if I remember correctly, an easy job it ain’t. It’s only easy when the winner is clear cut. By a mile. And you don’t have any allegiances. It’s why I find the finale of the Booker Prize both entertaining and frustrating. Nothing is clear cut. Unless it’s clear cut. And how boring would that be? How the judges thrash that one out is beyond me. That there hasn’t been bloodshed yet is a miracle. Now, there is a story line, Lorna, or maybe we could extend the weapon arsenal of the board game Cluedo: It was Ms Bluestocking, in the library, with a book.

      No sooner had your competition set me on that trail of thought no sooner do I find myself close up and personal in a somewhat precarious position. Still, I suppose people who know me don’t expect anything but the unvarnished truth. In the end it’s all in how you wrap the bitter pill.

      And, by the way, congratulations.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 20, 2012 @ 04:39 | Reply

      • Ah, bias. It’s a problem whether you recognize it or not–just a different sort of problem, I suppose. It really causes problems in quilting when trying to sew on the bias makes the material stretch and go all wonker-doodles on you, which is kind of the same problem bias causes in discourse.

        As a sociologist, we learn to deal with bias by following strict rules of gathering, analyzing, and reporting our observations, knowing that each of these steps is colored by our biases because we are, after all, human. Objectivity is an illusion that only the most arrogant minds indulge in. Trust me, I’ve seen those types of people in action and it is, in my biased perception, quite funny.

        At the end of the minute, hour, day, all I can do is recognize my faults, embrace them and chuckle. That’s on a good minute, hour, or day. The rest of the time I wonder why other people are so twisted! (Just kidding…sort of).

        By the way, thanks! I miss you. My memoir is about two-thirds complete. I see the end in sight and I’ll be back soon.

        Comment by Lorna's Voice — June 20, 2012 @ 12:51 | Reply

        • So glad you mention bias. Not least because some of my favourite dresses and skirts over the years were, so very flatteringly, cut on the bias.

          ‘Objectivity’ is like the holy grail. Elusive. One might even argue it’s not desirable. So very interesting to me that you point out that your, and many other professions, follow “strict rules of gathering, analyzing and reporting our observations”. I call it detachment. Detachment being self preservation by another name.The detachment you see in so many professionals dealing with the trail of human mess (doctors, policemen, social workers …). I take it as a defense mechanism. One of the coldest women, almost unnaturally so, was a social worker, having worked her way high up the ranks by the time I met her, mother of one of my son’s friends. There she was dealing with the abject yet she was as cold as ice about it. From which I deduced that I’d made a terrible social worker taking ‘my work’ home and fretting over someone else’s misfortune.

          That same mechanism you describe does possibly explain why perfectly nice people with a pet rat at home can still go to their laboratory in the morning and do the unmentionable in order to save mankind from disease.

          I do take my hat off to you. Where do you take the stamina from to write your memoirs? Good luck. And yes, it will be good to have you back in more frequent circulation once more.


          Comment by Ursula — June 24, 2012 @ 04:49 | Reply

  6. Lorna, I agree.

    I always told my daughter that she was Perfect. Which she was. Her room was neat as a pin; her sister’s room, you couldn’t wade through. Her siblings escaped whenever there was work to be done & she did it. She never made a B (all A-s). When she went to Stanford she dropped courses that she wasn’t going to make an A. She didn’t have enough time to do each perfectly. She blamed me. 😦

    Comment by bikehikebabe — June 19, 2012 @ 23:21 | Reply

    • Now, let me guess, Cynthia: That shining light is your eldest daughter. Correct? It’s in the order of siblings. By the time number three comes along, so folklore goes, parents (well, fathers) have been beaten into submission and just go with the flow.

      Interesting psychology: Your daughter dropping subjects “that she wasn’t going to make an A”. She is lucky that I am not her mother. I’d seriously question whether to study something with an eye on the RESULT is what studying is about.

      Other than that, and by way of comfort, it appears that it’s always mother’s fault. Even if you died during childbirth. Particularly if you died during childbirth.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 20, 2012 @ 04:54 | Reply

  7. U, in the spirit of our president, don’t get drawn into a “false choice”. Vote for both of them.

    Comment by Looney — June 20, 2012 @ 02:07 | Reply

  8. Ursula, this is tough. I’d probably – don’t scream – support my friend. If it isn’t the best, it probably won’t win anyway, and your vote may the only one it gets. If your vote is the one that places it over the top, then clearly others found it to be superior. These things are so subjective anyway. Your friend will always remember the support, long after the contest is forgotten about.

    Comment by writingfeemail — June 20, 2012 @ 10:03 | Reply

    • Renee, what do you mean ‘don’t scream’: I can barely whimper at the moment. And that you are a sincerely nice person I have known from the beginning. Being sincerely nice as opposed to just ‘nice’ (and insincere) is an art form.

      However, following your thinking, and this is where it becomes even more complicated, what if your friend knows full well he/she wasn’t the best, yet you voted for them? What implication does that have how much they trust you and your judgment in the future? The deeper I delve into this the more layers there are. A bit like an onion. Only fewer tears and less pungent.


      Comment by Ursula — June 20, 2012 @ 13:22 | Reply

  9. Vote for the best and if that happens to be your friend then so be it,
    of course if she is not the best then why vote for her? Nooooooooo
    only the very best can win the contest so use your gut instinct…

    Enjoy it and be good…

    Androgoth XXx

    Comment by Androgoth — June 20, 2012 @ 21:04 | Reply

  10. Two votes? One for mate. The other for quality. Both count as voting with your conscience. If that’s a cop out – then I could swing either way. If I really thought it would help my friend, then I’d do it. Hey – I have already done it. (I’m presuming your mate’s work is good, but not the best.)

    Comment by blackwatertown — June 21, 2012 @ 20:06 | Reply

    • It’s worse, Paul. This is not about a mate but his daughter. All I can hope for now is the number 13 bus.


      Comment by Ursula — June 21, 2012 @ 21:22 | Reply

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