Who is to blame? It is a question asked every day by lots of people about lots of things that do not necessarily concern them, and, as long as the finger of suspicion cannot be pointed at them, they often harbour a guilty (or sadistic) delight in doing so. For serious cases where criminal charges can be brought or lessons learned, finding out who did the bad thing seems a sensible thing to do. But in other cases, a desire for answers can turn into a witch hunt if you are not too careful, and the nuanced complexities of a case where there are usually two sides to a story are buried beneath an avalanche of ill-informed public opinion. You do not need to be Einstein to work out that social media now provides the bandwagons that anyone can jump onto.
After blame has been established, and very often before, comes judgement. Some people just cannot help themselves, gleefully pouring a basket of their opinions over the head of some poor unfortunate target whose guilt is yet to be categorically proved. A clue that a judgemental pronouncement is about to be made is that they often start with the phrase “well, if you ask me…”, a sure sign that no-one has.
Now for the controversial bit. I shall dip my toe in the waters of potential vitriol, at great personal risk to myself. Ok here goes. I think the urge to judge other people is more prevalent in women. There, I’ve said it. May I rest in peace.
It is just that you don’t generally see groups of men discussing their neighbours or acquaintances and what they have done to their garden or how they are dressed, or what activities they might have got up to. Men don’t seem to worry about that stuff. My wife will sometimes point out that some friend of hers has just changed her carpet even though there was nothing wrong with the old one, or put new windows in, and wasn’t this a waste of money, and I will somewhat harshly respond “why do I need to know this? I don’t care”, whereas she plainly does. As far as I am concerned, Mrs Miggins can do what she wants with her carpets and windows, it is nothing to do with me. The male net of judgement seems to cast itself in a much closer proximity to their person, unless you are talking about football in which case they are happy to heap often abusive judgement on everyone from the ref to the reserve goalkeeper.
To me though, 98% of the blame and judgement that pollutes our lives is ill-informed and therefore slightly pointless, other than as oil for a conversation. Drawing conclusions without both sides of the story is a fool’s game and we all do it, but perhaps the world would be happier if we all reined in the blame and judgement until all the facts are known. As if that will happen!