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‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ is one of those phrases that boils down a concept to the point where it becomes silly if you start actually considering nuance for a second. The outward appearance of anything is going to be your starting point for judgement. If an apple is a weird color, seems soft, and smells odd, you’re going to hesitate to eat it. Or if a book has a swastika on it you might think “hey, this book might have some confronting materials in it”. The phrase should probably be ‘don’t judge a book solely on its cover’. Kind of encouraging people to look beyond a first glance and give things a chance they might not otherwise. Ultimately the goal is to remind people to be open minded.

Speaking of open mindedness I hope you’re open minded about the idea of supporting my work via the links above. Every little bit helps me toward my goal of becoming the comics overlord of the internet. A role I promise not to abuse.


I always found the judgement of appearances to be a double-edged sword. Yes, if a person does not dress appropriately for a particular place at a particular time, they’re going to be discriminated against. It’s human nature. But, we could also be discriminating against some of the most amazing people ever. On the other hand, if someone does dress appropriately, then we have no guarantee that the behavior of the individual matches the professionalism of their attire. Even the most dapper of human beings can have a bad attitude.

I don’t like to discriminate based on appearances but I would also be very weary if some guy dressed in biker fatigues asked me for help when he could be setting me up for trouble.

Wasn’t there an old adage that dealt specifically with something like this during the Reagan years? “Trust, but verify”?

Double edged sword is probably the most accurate way to describe sight based judgement. It’s like a necessary evil, you can try to not rely on it but unless you’re medically blind you kinda have no choice.

For most of the planet Sight is the primary sense used in all your decision making. There’s gonna be times when your eyes are gonna tell you that you shouldn’t be involved in whatever they are processing.

Sometimes they are wrong but you won’t know unless you’re willing to take that gamble.

Unfortunately said gamble almost never has a 100% guarentee on an outcome.

It’s something that I honestly find sad about the human race. We tend to primarily judge based on what’s outside the box first. We can’t see people for who they really are until after the fact provided that we letting them into our lives is the fact. Unless we are psychics, this kind of behavior will only continue on, sadly.

And I’m saying this as someone who hates dress codes with a passion. I don’t like being told how to dress but I can now understand why people are told this.

As much as we hate having standards on appearances they are unfortunately a standard. Quite a few things would go wrong if we forgo all appearence based judgements.

Health being a big one actually. Going with the example of weight, there comes a time when one does become too fat. Excessive weight leads to a lot of health issues like breathing problems, heart attacks, diabetes and a so much more.

My partner is a big girl herself actually and the weight has never been an issue for us romantically.
But it did get to the point where it was the cause of her almost becoming diabetic and breathing problems so bad she couldn’t even climb the stairs to our apartment without needing a five minute breather outside our door.

She had to get gastric bypass surgery to help get things under control and is working to keep the weight off but it was strictly for health reasonss.

Dress codes are a whole other thing but just like with weight monitoring, they are a necessary hindrance. There has to be some order in things to avoid complete chaotic meltdown in anything social.

I can understand a hindrance provided that those who issue it have a good logical reason to do so. It’s one thing to have a code to represent the atmosphere of the institution, it’s another thing entirely to do so due to self-centered prejudices when there is proper evidence to show no harm.

I do send well wishes towards your girl, Auroki. :(

Yeah, there needs to be legit good reasoning for judgments and restraints, not just personal agenda. Though that in of itself is almost impossible to maintain without some inkling of personal indulgence.

Thanks for the well wishes! She has made very good strides in her health since the surgery.

We did have one scare when some of the stitching post surgery burst a little but thankfully the ER is barely fives minutes by car and we were even able to get ahold of the doctor who did her surgery to personally come in and fix it up.

She is upset that she effectively had to give up like 90% of food and that it had to come to surgery to help fix her health up. But it has made her determined to get into a much better functioning shape to avoid future complications.

It also was a major eye opener for both of us, on why it is necessary to talk about one’s weight and not just put it to the side out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

Happened to me after stomach cancer surgery. One case where my wife saved my life. She noticed I kept waking up and gasping for air. I thought I was just having an attach of apnea (used to happen often when I wasnheavier). But she called 911 and put me into an ambulance to the emergency room. Turned out a stitch in my stomach had come undone and I had bled close to half my blood volume into my stomach. A few transfusions and a week of careful monitoring later and I was fit to go home again.

I think we are reaching a point where the pendulum is beginning to swing back; yes, we have plenty of historical examples, and media depictions, of the problems that come from judging on outward appearance, especially when those judgments are 100% bigoted or superstitious or something. And that’s good to teach kids. But we’ve taken it so far that many people are often afraid to make judgments, or are incompetent at it. How many people do we see who’s friendships or relationships seem to be a repeating pattern of getting close to the wrong people, trusting the untrustworthy? Or people who, on the other hand, are superficially repellent to others, even if we know they are decent folks deep down–think of a man or woman who is unwashed, ungroomed, wearing basically a sack, who smells, and is angry at their lack of dates. Yet these people are so morally appalled by the concept of “judgment” that they refuse to accept that people DO judge, that they can’t really avoid it, and they are sabotaging themselves by not accounting for it. Like all of our physical limitations and emotional responses, it’s not good to surrender to them, nor is it good to try to live in denial of them or in direct opposition to them–let’s not eat too much cake, nor fear baked confectionaries like they are poison. We must also accept the consequences of our actions; looking like a beatnik will have effects on your interactions, like it or not, even if I do think certain things like sports coats and ties are objectively irrational.

I think Reggie had it right. He said that appearance is the best place to START judging someone. But looks is not the totality of your judgement. From there, you see how they act compares to how they look, or dress and present themselves. It is an aspect of the whole. But when you first meet someone, unless you have been told things about them from someone else, that is all you have to go on, until you learn more. It doesn’t mean you stop there, but its the first data line in your database on them.

Which is why I find it baffling that some women complain that a strange man will approach them and compliment their appearance, saying basically “I am more than just a pretty face!” Well, yes, but the man has never spoken to you and knows nothing about you, so your pretty face is literally the only thing he has to comment on. Well, or her body, but surely “You have fantastic tits” is even worse, no?

Refreshing to see Reggie speccing into Charisma and Wisdom after min-maxxing Intelligence for so long, nawhatamean?

Of course appearances matter. However, when it comes to looks and such, that’s always going to be subjective.

And I figure no one ever wants to be with someone who thinks they’re ugly “I love you! Sure, you’re so ugly, need to put a steak around your neck to get the dog to play with you, but you have such a wonderful personality!” :p

Interestingly, that swastika on the cover might mean it’s an early printing of Rudyard Kipling and nothing to do with the national socialists.

Sometimes you have to dig deeper.

Especially since those early editions are valuable!

[I apologize if my below comment offends people, in any- way, shape, or form].

You bet.

In fact, the non-nazi swastikas have been around [in Asia], + [in Western Europe], for many thousands of years, before adolf + his dumbest-boys-in-the-world, decided to grab it + use it as a symbol.

In a lot of traditions, in India, the swastika is a symbol of good luck, or a symbol of good fortune.
At least one has been found, from 10,000 BCE, long before the nazi people + the nazi party, ever even existed.

It’s just a thing- if people want to dig deeper on the subject of the swastika, they can find that there are swastikas that are not connected to: the nazis, WWII, the war crimes of WWII, or any destructive, political party from WWII or after.

If you search around, you can find a lot of examples in the world, of- brown clothes + shirts, swastikas, people named Adolf, certain European cultures, + certain European cultures’ foods,…that are good things…and have nothing to do with adolph h. and his dumb-dumb-headed friends.
History is strange, like that.

Here is a Wikipedia article, on non-nazi-related swastikas + similar symbols.

(Please also read in that article, about this symbol in the “Americas”, and the use of the symbol in the early, 20th century).


Mom never said anything directly about judgement, but she grew up with the “oh, its raining out, better slip more cardboard into my shoes” to cover the holes) type. She never said it directly, but somehow implied that we should judge people first by their body language, before anything else. Not to judge by clothes, not to judge by color, or any external thing, but by their body language, … but not directly in so many words, cause she didn’t know about that.

Remember when it was wrongly thought that baking was not the most masculine of pursuits? I have no idea when that started ebbing, however there has been no end of men starring in cooking shows in the last couple decades, so that idea could well be passe.

Buuuuut, before that change, I made quite a lot of time with some women by baking desserts. And silenty thought “If other guys want to cede that ‘field of competition’ to me, I won’t stop them”.

So here I am, decades later, with a wife who looks forward to her b-day and anniversary desserts. To quote Ira Gershwin, Nice work if you can get it.

Men have always been encouraged to excel/master/dominate any field. Not mastering something was what has been considered less manly, as has choosing work fields that will make you poor. A poor person trying to be a Fine Artist will have trouble affording tools and surviving long enough to sell a work or two for a significant gain. A trust fund kid trying to be a fine artist will have easier access to more tools, and family connections who’ll artificially inflate the price of their works.

Of course, this concept of masculinity was sold to us by the people who wanted to dominate any/every field and exploit the people who were too poor to start at the top (and thus weren’t aware of the lie behind it). When the world started getting better-aggregated and shared data, and improved critical thinking (via the internet), we started to see that… most people, when not struggling and grasping for survival; and not arbitrarily crushed into rigid roles through ancient, biased expectations; don’t care or need to care about manly vs womanly, and are happier. The only real friction is those who bought into the old/antiquated/rigid standards and made that part of their identities.

I agree with most of what you said, but that “improved critical thinking (via the internet)” line had me rotflol.

I’ve seen the statistics for STEM fields. On the average, women are slightly better than men. But men are a lot more variable. So the best in the field are likely to be men. And the worst in the field are also likely to be men.

Never heard that. In fact, when it came to the world’s best cooks, always heard how the top chefs were men.

The only thing that came to men and cooking and may have been considered less than manly, was cooking at home. Then usually, it was people going “Just like grandmas!”

My dad baked all the time and made the desserts. My mom…well she didn’t care to cook. :p

It’s true. On the larger scale “unusually aggressive sweet tooth” probably ranks as one of the least negative character flaws.

I do think that the saying means “Don’t base a book SOLELY by the cover.” Just like every other saying, people often go too literally by the original statement, and don’t think about the nuances. There’s the initial impression, and the impression that changes over time. And sometimes people can’t control when you run into them, so your first impression may be tainted by that fact. Like if you ran into me when I was on my home from the gym, you might go, “This guy sweats a lot.” No, I take a shower after I work out, but I don’t always have time to properly dry off in a crowded locker room so I retain a lot of moisture.” LOL Typically, I’m very dry and don’t sweat much.

I get what the Reg man is thinking – he sets his standards and sees if the person initially lives up to them. However, his boy Thomas has proven that his initial observations and standards are … tinted … by his prior experiences of being in a wealthy family. It’s a learning thing for him. Also, Alex and Reggie met in a very good way for both of them – it was the experience combined with her appearance that changed the way he felt.

Publishers spend big money on designing covers specifically so that we *can* judge the book. According to a podcast I heard, in the early days of mass publishing unscrupulous book sellers would collect unsold returns, put new covers on them, and try to sell the same books again. That’s where the phrase may have originated.

Hi Jackie,
I was just wondering-
I’ve been reading past Between Failures pages, + the comments below those pages,…and I’ve forgotten-
is The Teen a cousin or yours, or something like that?

Really, I’d understand if you don’t want to answer that question.

There’s a lot of oddball people on the ‘net, + maybe you’d rather not tell that information to just anybody, or any crowd, who just gets onto your site, today.
I’m just curious about that.

She is my middle uncle’s youngest child who came to live with us when her father passed away and her mother had brain damage that made her unfit to care for her.

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