Thursday, November 20, 2014

Comfortable Crusading

Last week a bunch of people were sharing the heart-warming story of a man who had developed a font designed to help dyslexic people read. The idea was inspiring. People wanted to get the word out. More people need to find and use this tool to help. Or do they? A little more digging reveals that the font has been around for several years. Long enough to be tested. It turns out that the font is no better for dyslexic readers than other ones.

But what really matters, the results or the intentions?

In today’s culture we definitely trend towards intentions over tangible results. People want ideas that feel good and that can be sold. We avoid hard problems or tricky solutions.

In another do-good-the-easy-way front, today in Dresden there is a protest against the opening of a new clothing store. People are protesting against sub-standard, inhumane working conditions. They want more fair trade and better conditions for workers in Asia. However, simple, slight investigations into the company reveal that—while there are problems across the board in the clothing industry—the chain they are protesting is one of the ones that is trying to do something to change things. Not only that, but a lot of the accusations against them have been demonstrably falsified.

The real problem is that the protestors want to effect change, but are choosing the easy way out. They are piggybacking on the publicity the store is generating to advance their cause. All the while other, more egregious chains already operate in town. The chances these protestors will impact the multinational company with their spectacle are minute, but local families will be hurt.

It is just another example of crusading in the modern, technological age. We have too much information but not enough willingness to vet it. We have too great an ability to broadcast our voice, but are not willing enough to invest the energy to say the right things.

Too much intention and too little concern for real impact.

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