Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Since I last blogged, there have been a number of significant cultural events that have taken place. I am so weary of hearing/reading/talking about them that I don't even want to list what they are. What I will list, however, is why I am tired of hearing/reading/talking about them. I have gotten to the point where I posted, "I seriously don't know whether to shit or go blind" as a status update on Facebook, and I want to explain why I did so. I'm sure some of my friends think I have been struck by some exotic digestive ailment, but the problem is really in my head, not my stomach. Here's why:
Opinions are like assholes; everybody's got one: You'd think by now I'd be used to the prominence of Social Media in my everyday life. The truth is, I long for the days before this phenomenon existed. There was a time when the only opinions I was exposed to were the ones the neighbors expressed during loud conversations that were volleyed over respective porches. Growing up in an attached house was the precursor to Facebook groups and Google circles. Seven families bantered back-and-forth about anything and everything until one day, words turned into threats, and barriers went up between some of the porches. There's a lot of that going on these days, with many metaphorical barriers being erected.
The media is a joke: It has become almost impossible to differentiate fact from opinion in today's media. So many news outlets have let the "talent" run amok to the point where the news stories come in a distant second to the opinions of the talking heads. I just want to know what's going on; I am capable of forming an opinion without help from pseudo-journalists who allow their giant egos to dictate what they think I need to be aware of.
Us vs. Them: On the night of September 11, 2001, American lawmakers stood on the steps of the Capitol building and sang "God Bless America." They then declared that "there is no such thing as Democrats and Republicans, only Americans." Almost 12 years later, the exact opposite could not be more true. We, as a country, are so incredibly polarized on both sides of the aisle, that it isn't even about politics anymore. Whichever way we choose to live our lives comes under scrutiny by just about everyone. We take issue with everything from what we eat, what we drive, where we live, and what we do for a living. Nothing is sacred, not even our bodies or our privacy.
We do not live in a "post-racial" society: I recently came across the term "hipster racism," even though it has purportedly been in existence since 2006. What it means, in essence, is that it is okay to use irony and satire to mask racism. News flash: no one, no matter how hip or ignorant, is immune from expressing some form of racism. We are all guilty of it, no matter how hard we try to deny it. Paula Deen and George Zimmerman have been vilified for it in the court of public opinion, and there are millions of us who could just as easily find ourselves in the same scenario. In a world where we have countless options of self-expression open to us like 7-Eleven, it has never been more prudent to think twice before you act or speak.
It is not all Barack Obama's fault: Yes, we placed unrealistically high hopes on our 44th president. And, yes, he has fallen far short of many expectations. Government in general has become an unimaginably large boondoggle of corruption, patronage, hypocrisy, and, let's face it, outright lunacy and stupidity. There are no clear-cut answers to what it will take to raise us out of the muck we are drowning in. All we can do is hope for the best. If we don't, we'll all end up behaving like the worst caricatures of the most ridiculous individuals who make up the current landscape of American culture. Escaping them would mean parting with every electronic device we have come to rely so heavily upon. Trying to keep up with all the infuriating rhetoric they spew is nothing short of madness. I wish I had a better answer. In the meantime, I'm still trying to decide whether to shit or go blind.