The Other I

May 2, 2009

“Ordinary people”

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 3:55 pm

I was interviewed by the BBC once for a programme about ex-nuns.  At the end of two hours, the interviewer said “You’ve really lived an interesting life.”

I’ve thought about that comment often.  Yes, I have lived an interesting life.  I think I’m still living an interesting life.  I think, actually, that almost anybody who has ever been born has an interesting life, although not everybody knows it.  Wasn’t it Roy Rogers who said he’d never met a man he didn’t like?  Well, I’ve met people I don’t like, but I’ve never met someone I didn’t find interesting – even those who didn’t talk about themselves.

It was in this context that I listened to a politician telling a journalist today what “ordinary people” want.

I think what the politician actually meant by “ordinary” is “people who are going to vote in the next election but whose names I don’t know.”  Nonetheless, I humbly suggest that people are a lot of things.  They are creative and mysterious, they are selfish and heroic, brilliant and ignorant, insightful and insensitive, impulsive and dithering, and thousands of other things.

But people are never ordinary.  Politicians who think that they are haven’t listened enough.

To demonstrate just how infuriating this kind of patronizing is, can you imagine Obama standing up and telling a group of journalists what “ordinary people” want?

Okay back to my gardening.  Which is growing the most interesting weeds.



  1. I’ve heard politicians referring to the “ordinary people”, too. I just understood it to mean all those outside politics.

    Maybe I’ll start calling everyone inside politics, the “odd people” now.


    Comment by jooliedee — May 4, 2009 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

  2. Yes – “odd” might be more accurate than “extraordinary” for the majority of “ordinary” politicians, don’t you think?


    Comment by theotheri — May 4, 2009 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  3. So the majority of ordinary politicians are odd. Well, they do make me wonder.


    Comment by jooliedee — May 5, 2009 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

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