Dustin Hoffman, Appearance, and the Listserve

July 10, 2013 § 1 Comment

I saw this on Upworthy and appreciated it. Adam Mordecai gives this preamble:

“Back in the day, for those of you younger folk, Dustin Hoffman made a movie called “Tootsie.” (iTunes.) It was a hilarious and touching movie about an actor who can’t get a gig, decides to become a woman to see if it helps, and scores a role on a soap opera. Hilarity ensued. But it was more than just a comedy. Here’s why.”

We so often judge the worth and interest of people by their appearance. It’s not always the wrong thing to do; often sight is a logical tool for implementing heuristics. But of course, like heuristics, sight can lead us astray. Astray from things and people that are good, and pleasant, and insightful, and in need, and inspiring, and hilarious, and poetic, and beautiful. Away from friends and opportunities to see the world (or our lives) more completely by adding the perspective of someone unlike us.

Is there a person you’ve neglected by appearance?

A lack of appearances is one of the many reasons that I enjoy The Listserve. The Listserve is an e-mail lottery. One person a day wins a chance to write to the growing list of subscribers (currently there are 23,275 subscribers) without strings or payments attached. I’ve only been on the Listserve for two weeks, but already I’ve been granted access to the lives, minds, memories, opinions, ambitions, dilemmas, discouragements, etc. of fascinating and inspiring strangers all over the world. (To say nothing of the three fabulous book recommendations!) I encourage you to join.

If you could speak to the world without the pressure of physical appearance, what would you say?


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