Friday, June 25, 2004

I am my own Echo Chamber

What the heck is an echo box, anyway?

The other night I was sitting with some Dear Friends after a late supper and Friend #1 mentions that he has been reading "outside his echo chamber." I later came to understand that by echo chamber, he meant outside his usual sphere of (in this instance, politically) like-minded individuals. The implication eventually arose that I should do the same.

It's an interesting idea that certainly has merit and I might want to do so, but I think I'm going to run into some difficulty.

Two of my old cronies that visited me at my office yesterday laughed at the idea, and they were quick to point out that my immediate circle of friends is about as diverse as they possibly come in both genetics and ideology. I, myself am a reasonably conservative, middle-income, pro-gun, meat-eating, heterosexual Christian white male, yet among my immediate circle I can count atheists, liberals, vegetarians, non-heterosexuals (awkward-sounding, I know, but "homosexual" was too narrow) and just about every ethnicity. Points of view range from moon-bat left to reactionary right and all points along that pendulum swing, with me sitting quietly and politely listening to it all, nodding with interest. As often as not, I am the token conservative at social gatherings outside my family. I suppose it could be argued that with the exception of attending church, I surround myself with differing points of view as a matter of habit, and rarely seek out people who share my ideologies. I rarely find myself in the company of people who would actually "echo" my thoughts. Quite frankly, though provided with every opportunity, some polite, some heated, I've yet to be persuaded from my ideological perch, so I've come to a conclusion:

I am my own echo chamber.

If someday, you should find me shambling down the street, alone, destitute and disheveled, muttering to myself and shouting at invisible listeners and unfortunate passers-by, don't pity me or think me insane. Just remind me of my decision to get outside my echo chamber. Oh, and give me a sandwich.


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