“Call me old -fashioned.” You don’t hear that phrase very often, or maybe you don’t hear that phrase any more. I guess it’s just…old-fashioned. It sounds like a quaint little phrase some, not necessarily an older someone, will use as a way of expressing their values, values that are usually long-held by their family, the region, or the culture at large, but may be disappearing in the current age.
“Call me old-fashioned, but I think a man ought to hold a door open for a woman.” That kind of thing.
Or perhaps you’re being sassy:
“Call me old-fashioned, but I think your shorts should be longer than your crotch.”
But in some ways this phrase can be dangerous. After all, when you use it, you have to ask yourself three questions:
1) Am I proposing that I believe what I believe because it’s old-fashioned?
2) Is my belief really old-fashioned?
3) Am I leading people to assume that new developments in knowledge won’t deter me?
Consider this mock video from “The State”, which mocks those who would cling to their beliefs because they are simply “old fashioned”.
As in the first joke, he begins by making us think that he believes in one God, and despite the fact that it is old fashioned, he will stick to it anyway. In reality, he alludes to a more primitive belief that almost nobody believes: That some kind of god lives in that lake there. He may or may not be calling theists primitive, but what is certainly doing is mocking the “old-fashioned” line as is sometimes touted.
After all, when we use the “old fashioned” line, we are opening ourselves to an easy criticism, and may sometimes make ourself look so stubborn that we will never change our mind, no matter how many new facts or perspectives come our way. That’s not healthy to us, or our image.
So maybe we should be careful when we use the “call me old fashioned, but” line, as we should be careful when we appeal to a sense of “good ol'” tradition ancient wisdom. We must make sure that our appeal is not to something outdated or overcome. There are “old fashioned” people out there who believe slavery should be legal, that the earth is flat, that men are inherently smarter than women. Do not allow yourself to be placed in the same camp just because you claim to be “fashioned” after something that the world has outgrown. For most of the things we believe, I would hope, we do not cling to them because they are old.
Call me picky, but there is a good time and a bad time to claim oneself as “old fashioned”.