I’m so glad we have experts. I really do mean that. They play a vital role in our understanding of many things. But sometimes I feel like we throw around the word far too often, to the point where anyone who spits out anything that’s half sensible is suddenly qualified to let us all in on the secrets of life.
For example, this expert here who gets an entire article on KitchenerToday to inform us that, and I hope you’re sitting down for this one, if we trust the person telling us something, we’re more likely to take that thing seriously.
Are you ok? Talk to me. You fainted. It’s all right. So did I. I’ll get the smelling salts.
Whether you decide to follow pandemic protocols or not, much of what guides that decision may come down to trust.
At the start of the first wave, the politicians were still the ones calling all the shots, and that may have caused some of us to be more sceptical.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, at the time, had been seeing his favourables shrink, weighed down in large part by protracted strike action from all of the province’s major teachers unions.
However, as the pandemic took hold, and as Ford took a step back, his polling numbers took a jump. Similar spikes were also seen in provinces and territories across the country and at the federal level too.
Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher teaches English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo, she says much of that may have to do with seeing our leaders in a new light.
“So we might have some initial feelings about someone or why we didn’t trust them in a particular context, we might find that, over time, they prove themselves to be trustworthy in this new context,” said Mehlenbacher. “And I think we’ve seen that in a few cases right, where maybe folks initially didn’t trust someone fully or had some reservations and they saw this person did a really good job so that changed over time.”
And it goes on like that. I don’t know why, but that’s what it does. I need an expert on unnecessary content to help me suss that out, perhaps.
And I don’t want to quibble over someone’s life experience and credentials, but what makes somebody who teaches English and literature an expert on human psychology? Maybe she’s just good at reading people. Cool. So am I. But that makes me about as qualified to be a quoted, expert psychoanalyst as her having read the Great Gatsby a few times does.