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The Color of our Cultural Riff: Grey / Christine Doyle

The Color of our Cultural Riff: Grey / Christine Doyle

January 31, 2013  |  Share

If our cultural riff had a color right now, it would be grey.

Do you know one of the most popular baby names in the last couple of years was, “Gray?” And did you know it means, “Kind King or Ruler.”

Did you also know that the Mayor of Washington, DC, a city where half of its city council has either been indicted or investigated by the feds for crimes ranging from tax evasion to drug possession, is named Mayor Vincent Gray? And that, in spite of this spotty record, Mayor Gray doesn’t believe his city council has a problem with corruption.

How about the fact that one of the most popular books last year was a book called, “50 Shades of Grey.” That WOMEN loved. How can women love a story about a mysoginst?  Well,  according to Psychologist Paul Hockmeyer from Dr. Oz.com,  once you got past a book full of fairly risque stuff, the story was really about trust and growth.

Grey has traditionally been associated with men when it comes to marketing. Think Grey Goose Vodka, Grey Flannel or Grey Vetiver cologne. Or the kind of wisdom that used to keep you in Congress, not put you at risk for getting booted out of it. Or with the weather, as in “grey skies.”

The other day I was out walking in a local park. It was a damp, muted, typical late winter day. And there were church bells ringing at 2 in the afternoon. Must have been a funeral.

I thought, “Something has died in this country, too.” When innocent children are shot at school. When a Dad testifying about the son he lost in the Sandy Hook shootings is heckled. When a talented, non-violent 15 year old from Chicago is killed in a shooting less than two weeks after singing at the President’s inauguration.

What needs to die is the black and white thinking that has blocked progress and stymied Washington. Grey matters. And right now, we need to address why this concept of “grey” is sweeping our country by storm.

I can think of no better example of someone to bust up the deadlock on guns and safety in our country than Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who is both the victim of a deranged gunman and a staunch advocate for the second amendment or the right to bear arms and defend one’s home.

ModerateMoms pulled together a group of interesting women the other day to talk about where our site goes in the next year. We all agree the conversations around politics are changing. People can predict where the line in the sand will be drawn and they are turning away as a result. If we want to pull them back, we need to challenge the status quo and to come up with a third way of looking at things. That is where the solutions will lie, in the grey matter, in the zone where perceptions and emotions, create connections. And black and white thinking destroys them.


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