I like stereotypes. They save time. You like stereotypes as well, and you use them. They are cognitively efficient. In fact, they are utterly necessary. Every day, you make thousands of tacit assumptions about the environment around you: there are no tigers in the bathroom, buildings will not fall on you for no reason, the person behind you in the line for lunch can be trusted not to hold you down and rape you. You assume that the sidewalk will not collapse and the floor is not, in fact, actually lava. You purchase food and eat it without submitting it to a full battery of chemical and biological tests. If you’re American, you speak English to people you have never met before. (The future demographic shift of this country will teach you a lesson about that.)
The only people who cannot effectively “stereotype” are deeply autistic people who have no ability to ignore and/or generalize things. Autism is defined as the inability to form abstract concepts — in other words, stereotypes. When two normal people have a conversation, they can use an abstract concept like “car” or “refrigerator” without difficulty. Their ability to stereotype and abstract allows them to simply glide past the idea of “refrigerator”. The person who suffers from a degree of autism needs to know all about the refrigerator. This is not them being difficult; it is literally the manifestation of their illness.
It’s probably no coincidence that modern popular culture is so obsessed with “breaking down stereotypes” and focusing on the exceptions to a rule rather than focusing on the rule itself. After all, we are experiencing unprecedented rates of autism and autism spectrum behavior. The autistic mind is obsessed with exceptions to the rule. It loves Malala and Obama and the Harlequin Golf and every other case where somebody or something deviates sharply from expected behavior. The autistic mind is comforted by cases where stereotypes don’t apply because the autistic mind is fundamentally troubled by stereotypes. The autistic mind likes rules because rules are expressed in absolute and concrete terms. It does not like stereotypes, because stereotypes are abstract generalizations that, like language, are used as a sort of cultural and personal shorthand.
As someone who demonstrates the occasional touch of Aspie behavior, I will confess that my fondness for stereotypes is not quite as strong as it would be were I completely sane and neurotypical. And that is why I’m so annoyed with “pmirp1” and his dutiful conformance to pretty much every aspect of the “stupid Vette owner” stereotype. An entirely normal writer would just nod his head and say to himself, “Another dumbass with a Vette.” I, on the other hand, am compelled to flap this bug with gilded wings just a bit.
Let us count all the ways in which this dude is absolutely, almost suspiciously, typical of Vette people:
- He wants us to know what color his C7 Z51 is and how rare it is. There was a long-standing joke in the Columbus street-racing community that every single F-body owner thought he had a rare car because “They only made 1,302 cars in Jet Black with the T-tops but without the subwoofer.” In this case, there were VERY FEW Admiral Blues made in 2016. Who gives a shit?
- He has no experience with any of the cars listed, save for the (old-gen?) Camaro SS. Has he actually driven a Genesis G80? I betcha not. I betcha he got his impression of the G80’s handling from a Berk/DeMuro type trying to entertain an audience with low-flying exhibitions of unambitious wit.
- He is TOTALLY SURE that the Alpha platform is a continuation of the C7’s handling behavior, because… well, he is totally sure! Never mind that the Corvette has been considerably better than the Camaro since 1984. Never mind that GM rarely manages to make Corvette technology transfer the way it should. There’s like a blood/brain barrier between Corvette and the rest of GM. This is good for the Vette team and the Vette buyers, but it doesn’t help the Equinox.
- He solemnly assures us that Ring testing is not for show, and then he repeats various PR talking points almost word for word. This would be like me telling you that advertising doesn’t work but that I truly believe in Dove’s special power to get those chunky girls cleaned up.
The autism-spectrum person in me wants to patiently unpick everything about this comment and search for some evidence of reasonable, independent thought. I don’t like dismissing people and/or viewpoints out of hand and this is no exception. The normal person in me says that you can safely discount the opinions of anybody who needs you to know how rare Admiral Blue was as a stock C7 color in 2016.
Just once in my life, I’m going to go with the normal, rational part of my brain. Buildings don’t turn into monsters. Trains don’t leave their tracks. If a man is wearing a sportcoat with a stitched lapel, he is not going to carjack you. This comment can be tossed into the circular file, along with everything else “pmirp1” has ever said and will ever say. Let’s save time on this one and bid it adieu. Not every single stupid thing, not every single worthless person, not every single meaningless relationship deserves the full exercise of your time and efforts. Free your mind and your ass will follow.