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    To bring Kate to your school or town for a performance, workshop, lecture, or all of the above, please send an email to the following address. PLEASE do not use this email for personal correspondence. It will not be answered. This address is only for booking touring engagements: katebornstein at earthlink dot net. Twitter is still the best way to reach Kate for any personal reason.

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    « Don't Be Mean? Really? | Main | There's No Fun in Fundamentalism »

    October 24, 2010


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    David Kirk

    As a shaman(say what you will), I have no "rules", per se.

    Instead we advocate being unconditionally understanding and having interpersonal boundaries, rather than hurt-for-you sympathetic. Otherwise you jump into other people's quicksand to help: not effective.

    Enoch Root

    A bigoted person is not hateful towards you because of you, they are hateful towards you because of them. They are 'being mean' based on some equation that lives inside their head. They are cruel because they feel a need to be, not because you deserve it.

    This is how 'don't be mean' turns into the most basic spiritual advice: Be mindful. Don't leave a path of devastated people behind you, even if you think they deserve it, because really they might not. It might be all in your head.

    Think it through, and don't be mean. Please. :-)

    Maggie Darwin (@MaggieL)


    It's like the opposite of "nice", as in "play nice with your friends". Or like "evil" when GOOG says "Don't be evil."

    In fact, it's so vague that it really doesn't "mean" much, but does give you a rationale later to spank somebody when you decide they have failed to "play nice", "not be evil" or been "mean", by your lights.

    And I don't "mean" spank in a "nice" way.

    It's verging on baby talk...perhaps OK for a parent, maybe even an aunt, but condescending and question-begging otherwise. It carries the implicit assumption of a shared set of values; a tricky business indeed if you can't enumerate them more formally than "not mean".

    Surely if someone is failing to be "mindful", admonishing them to "not be mean" won't help. You might as well tell Sparky the dog "don't be gay" (c.f. South Park). :-)

    Barbara Ann Todd

    Perhaps the "be" in "Don't be mean!", can be examined. Or perhaps the "be" in "be nice", can be examined. When are we AUTHENTICALLY being? We "are" all in society, culture, etc. We "are" (to the extent that we "are" in society, and in culture)constructed, insead of being authentic. Can society and culture, etc.,(ie law and any and all constructs: race, gender, ethnicity, etc.) be deconstructed, or reconstructed or pre or post constructed, to free our spontaneous limitless humanity? Can there even be communication that is limitless? Caan there be communication that is possibility? Can there be communication that is free from PC, etc? Can there be communication that is free from meanness, ie symbolic violence, etc, because then there would be limits placed on communication. Limitless communication might be authentic, spontaneous communication that was communication in the present, free from time and space constructs. Imgine communication free from all drama and all ego, ie free from any and all agendas. Would such communication be authentic communication? Are we all practicing to communicate, because instead of doing the communication, does the communication "DO" us?

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    Mean means you have something in your mind that has a purpose or motive. You get mean if you dislike someone. Being mean all the time is also disgusting. So, just be it in a right way and if its needed.

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