Friday, June 11, 2010

Rebel with a Cause

Maybe you’ve heard about this experiment. It involved two people; one assumed the role of student and the other the role of teacher. When the student gave a wrong answer, the teacher was supposed to deliver an electric shock. With each wrong answer, the shock increased.

It was, however, a set up. The student was actually an actor. He was instructed to say he had a heart condition and plead with the teacher to stop. Most of the teachers wanted to stop, but the experimenter insisted they continue. Because they were told to, 65% of the teachers continued to administer the shock to the “weak-hearted” student.

When I hear stories like that, I really really wish that if I were in that situation I would have been one of the 35% who stopped administering the shock. I worry, though, because I am a rule follower, and not just grammar rules. I always waited twenty minutes after eating to go back in the pool, I never ditched school, I always pay taxes.

But, I would like to think that I follow such rules simply because they make sense. If I didn’t wait the twenty minutes, I would cramp during Marco Polo. If there wasn’t a rule against ditching school, no one would come to school. If nobody paid their taxes, there wouldn’t be public education or bailout money for AIG to use for their fancy massages during their $400,000 week-long spa retreats.

I would like to think that if a rule seemed pointless to me then I wouldn’t be a lemming and just follow it, which is why I am currently in such a dilemma:

I can’t for the life of me understand why funner doesn’t get to be a word.

It seems like it would be a great word, doesn’t it?

How was the experiment?

It was funner than I thought it would be. I never realized how sadistic I actually am; it actually became even funner once I found out that the student had a heart condition.

Who’s in?


j.m. neeb said...

You have to know from Ducks Out Of A Row that I'm onboard... well, not with shocking people!!

I don't like others being in pain and kind of march to my own drum ("selective rule follower"), so I'd probably be in the 35%. :)

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Oh my goodness! I'm so with you - funner should definitely be a word. I say it all the time, I don't write it very much though. But yeah. It totally deserves real word status. :D

Talli Roland said...

I have heard about that experiment.

And I agree - bring on funner! You should start a campaign!

Wendy Ramer said...

I'm all for funner b/c you're right, it makes no sense NOT to use it since it follows all the rules of proper grammar. As for giving students electric shock therapy to help them learn, there are days, I tell ya, when I'm all for it ;-)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I haven't heard about that experiment. But funner should be a word. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a rule follower, to a point, but I don't inflict pain on people - other than the occasional spelling test.
As for funner, what is wrong with more fun? It was more fun than I thought it would be.

Janet Johnson said...

Funner should definitely be a rule! So much easier than "more fun."

I heard about that experiment and I'm with you. I tend to follow rules, but I really hope I do it out of logic, not just because I'm a follower.

Lola Sharp said...

I hadn't heard of the experiment, but there is no way I would administer the first shock.
(Also, I am rebellious by nature.)

I'm on the fence on 'funner'. I see the rule point, but it sounds uglyish.

I always love coming here. Always interesting. :)

Happy Weekend!

beth said...

Oh, I have heard of that experiment. And I HOPE I wouldn't do it, but I'm a rule-follower often, like you. Still, I do think it would be funner to just break them every once in awhile ;)

Mary Aalgaard said...

Bust out of the box and use Funner! Why not? And, we are conditioned to follow rules, even rules that hurt other people. I'm working on busting out of that box, too. Bust a move!

Palindrome said...

I'm in! Life would be funner if it were a word.

Rick said...

Funner is definitely gooder than "more fun".

squirrelmama said...

I vote for Funner because I don't think there is a more funner word than that!
And what's wrong with breaking word rules? So many of us have to dress our words formally in public but....hey in private, anything goes between two consenting conversationalists, no??