When Logic Meets Fandom

“How was school today?” I ask Jane after picking her up from a friend’s house one recent school evening.

“Fine.  Clara sang Steal My Girl in Yearbook today.”

“Umm.  Okaaay…?”

“I didn’t expect her to know it.”

“Why wouldn’t she know it?”

“Because it just came out two weeks ago.”

“But you obviously know it so why wouldn’t she?”

“It’s a One Direction song.”

“So?”

“So it’s a new One Direction song.”

“Maybe she’s a fan.”

“No, she’s not.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because most people think One Direction is just a silly boy band.  And I looked at her following list on Instagram.”

“So?  Just because she’s not following them on Instagram doesn’t mean she’s not a fan.”

“Um.  Yes, mom.  It does.  Instagram and Twitter are how you find out when new albums are coming out.”  (This is said in that “you just don’t get it” teenagery tone).

“Ok.”

“So that’s good that she knows it.”

“Why?  Why is it important to you that Clara likes the song?”

“Because that means they are good.”

“No it doesn’t.  It means Clara was exposed to it and she liked it.  That’s all it means.”

“No, it means it’s being played on the radio.”  (She’s starting to sound irritated).

“Not necessarily.  She might know someone who is a fan and she was listening to it with them or she found it on YouTube or something.”

“No.  She heard it on the radio.”

“Ok.  And that makes you happy why?”

“Because that means they are good.”

“No.  It means their song got played on the radio.  They are One Direction.  It’s reasonable to expect their songs to get played on the radio.  But it doesn’t mean that they are ‘good’.”

“Yes, it does mom.  They don’t play bad songs on the radio.”  (Now we are dangerously close to an explosion).

“Ok.”

You see, we were having two different conversations.  I was having one about logical deduction, trying to get her to see what counts as proof and what doesn’t.  I was trying to get her to think scientifically.  To consider what minimum information can be gleaned from the evidence gathered.  To look for other explanations for the data.

She was trying to build a case about why her favorite band is this generation’s Beatles rather than New Kids On The Block.  And, in her mind, I was tearing that down – trying to prove her wrong.  So she was getting frustrated.  Having recently learned my lesson, I chose to acquiesce rather than continue the one-sided logical analysis I was attempting.  I mean, I may indeed think that One Direction is more like NKOTB than the Beatles, but that truly wasn’t the point I was trying to make.

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