Sex and the Blind Date: A Case Of Intolerance of Ambiguity
On the show I saw, a pretty 25-year-old woman--didn't catch her name--is going out with 22-year old "rocker" Uzi (I only remembered his name because it was so unusual) who is covered in tattoos and has long hair. The young woman is very much into goth, music and superficiality. She hangs on Uzi's every word, not because she is interested in him as a person, but because she likes musicians. When Uzi asks what kind of man she is looking for, she states, "someone who has long hair, plays in a band, and wears cool combat boots, like you." Uzi quickly picks up on the woman's lack of interest in a "real" relationship and concludes that the woman is just trying to get him into the sack which leaves him feeling that she is not listening to him as a person but rather, sees him as a representation of what she is looking for--a cool rocker guy who she can play groupie with. Uzi is not interested.
Okay, so now you have the set-up for a real-life ambiguous situation--Uzi looks the part of a wild rocker who likes to party and screw but he is not into groupies and is looking for someone who is interested in a traditional relationship such as marriage and family--in other words, there is a contradiction between the way he looks and what he thinks and feels about sex, relationships and love. Studies coming out of psychology imply that liberals have a "flexibility" in their thinking and a tolerance for ambiguity while conservatives are rigid in their thinking and intolerant of ambiguity. What the heck is meant in these studies by "tolerance of ambiguity?" Well, according to Wikipedia (take it with a grain of salt, it's Wikipedia but this definition looks sound):
Ambiguity tolerance is the ability to perceive ambiguities (contradictory issues which may be difficult to understand) in social and cultural behaviors as well as information with equivocal (several) meanings in a neutral and open way.
Intolerance of Ambiguity is described as
a tendency to perceive or interpret information marked by vague, incomplete, fragmented, multiple, probable, unstructured, uncertain, inconsistent, contrary, contradictory, or unclear meanings as actual or potential sources of psychological discomfort or threat.
So here is Uzi, a contradiction in terms who looks one way and thinks and acts another-so one would now expect Therapist Joe--who from reading his commentary and the tilt of the show, one would expect to be a liberal--to be able to resolve the contradiction and show some flexibility of thought, right? Wrong. You would think that someone tolerant would say, "good for him that he dislikes superficiality or that he wants someone to like him for himself, etc." Therapist Joe's way of handling Uzi's contradiction? Make fun of him for being a (gasp!) Republican! Uzi has never said he was a Republican or conservative, yet Therapist Joe pops up snarky comments about Uzi's lack of interest in having sex with the goth chick by stating that he "must be a Republican" and then showing Uzi driving down the road with a characterature of a Donald Rumsfeld look-a-like with a scary leer taking his place at the wheel.
Talk about intolerance of ambiguity, lack of openness and a lack of flexibility in thought, Therapist Joe has it in spades. For all he knows, Uzi is apolitical and is just a sweet guy. Perhaps Therapist Joe is psychologically threatened that Uzi is looking for a committment and a person who actually likes him--he should just be looking for cheap sex, shouldn't he--afterall, he looks the part of a liberal rocker? Therapist Joe quickly resolves the conflict by pointing out that Uzi must be a conservative or he is just looking for an excuse to bash Republicans in general. Either way, I hardly see evidence of tolerance of ambiguity here.
Look, I know the elections are coming up in a year and the liberal media wants to get started early bashing Republicans in any way they can, but this seemed to be a bit of a stretch. What will we see next, people being stereotyped on Jeopardy as rigid homophobic Republicans if they answer "who is the current President?" to the question, "Bush." Start watching for this type of "tolerance" for others' points of view in the liberal media as the election gets closer; my guess is that as their psychological discomfort grows and the threat of the Democrats losing becomes a possibility, much of the "tolerant" MSM will throw tolerance of ambiguity right out the window. Their worldview will be as rigid as the one that they portray conservatives to be: inflexible, intolerant, closed to new experiences and fearful that the whole country might not believe as they do. As goes Blind Date, so goes This Week? I think you can count on it.
Labels: Things I Think About