Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You Need A Professional For That

Buckle your safety belts, kids, it's time for a rant.

There seems to be an overwhelming push in the current US culture to be helpless in the face of, well, most anything. On so many fronts, the message that is blared from the speakers is that you shouldn't trust your own judgment, or experiment independently. Turn the problem into the hands of a professional, and let them fix it for you.

Now this is not to say that one should attempt something like surgery, building a house, or suspension bondage after simply perusing a book or two on the matter. But that's a far cry from being able to perform basic first aid, diagnosing and fixing straightforward problems with appliances, or learning some basic ties. And yet, even these actions seem discouraged.

I've taken the Red Cross first aid certification course a few times, with hopes of being able to learn how to, well, fix people who were broken in minor ways. Call me crazy, but that's what I expected out of a first aid course. What I learned instead was how to prevent more damage from happening while getting the person to a medical professional. Very few of the techniques taught stood on their own. I've since been told by a friend that taking a wilderness medicine course is the way to go if I'm seriously interested in learning more meaningful first aid. It's now on my list of things to do at some point in the future.

Even for matters when somebody's health isn't at stake, we're still told to keep our hands off. Do not tinker, lest you void the warranty! Just bring it in to your friendly neighborhood repair shop, and let them take care of it. Rinse, lather, repeat.

And now we wrap around to bondage. I realize that it seems like a rather left-field example, but this post was inspired by a few forum threads that popped up on Model Mayhem yesterday. In each of them, a photographer expressed interest in doing some bondage photography and asked about resources. A good half of the responses each time insisted that the photographer a hire a rigger and have a professional present at all times, lest they do permanent damage to the model. In many cases, this wasn't suggested as an alternative to putting in the legwork and learning from the ground up, but suggested as the only way that bondage photography could possibly be done. This response makes me wonder how anybody ever manages to get fesity in the bedroom without irreversibly breaking their loved ones.

Again, I readily recognize that there are some matters which ought to be left in the hands of people with extensive training. But not everything requires a professional. We're all big girls and boys, we can put on our thinking caps, do some research and figure things out for ourselves. Along the way, we'll learn something new, and gain confidence in ourselves and our abilities. And there's nobody else that can do that for you.


  1. I think so much of this has to do with people wanting immediate results on everything. Seems we are very much an instant gratification society. Tell someone to read a book or take classes to learn something and you'll get...What, I can't just google it and know in a couple of minutes? Well then I will hire someone who does know.

    If anything I am patient and curious, I want to be hands on in all my endeavors unless of course like you said it is something where an actual expert is required.

  2. It may well be related to immediate gratification, though I think that there are certainly some other factors playing in to that. But honestly, if somebody wants to pull the lazy card and just hire somebody else to do whatever, I'm not going to fault them for that. It's their choice, and they're certainly welcome to it. And- let's be honest- there are plenty of times when that is simply the most practical strategy.

    My real qualm is with people telling one another, "You can't possibly do that yourself."