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A Brief Little Something For Thanksgiving

 

I have been away from these commentaries for some time now, a sad evolution of my life considering that I used to write something, often believed to be important, every single day.  Now don’t get me wrong; I am not trying to be arrogant nor pat myself on the back.  I do not wish to come across as the sort of asshole who cannot understand why people don’t think me brilliant.  What I mean by such a pompous statement is that the issues and ideas I have attempted to take on are quite serious.  It has as much to do with my own quest for understanding this chaotic world as it does with my obnoxious need to let you know how I think the world works.  But all of this is post-essay reflection and has nothing to do with the bulk of my words.

 

Recently a single piece of mine has gone ‘viral,’ whatever that means.  I wrote it back in August, 2019, and it’s title is “The Feminization of Masculinity.”  From the start I had some angry responses.

 

That piece was more about changes within our culture and not just gender issues and the wholesale slaughter of who we believe ourselves to be.  It was not meant to be a condemnation of anyone or anything individually, the story acknowledging that people make their own ways through the world and should not be judged for their preferences, decisions, nor even their confusion over identity.  It was not an attack of prejudice.  And yet the hypersensitive world, this ghoulish time we live in where people actually want to be offended, almost a sexual need to raise themselves into a combative state to prove to someone, anyone (most likely themselves) that they are more moral than another.  I have never wished to proclaim such a hollow goal, accepting the fact that plenty of people will think I am wrong and some might even hate me through their skimmed misunderstanding of the larger question I tried to ask.

 

But all of this is meaningless, finally, the cool cash I have made because a bunch of people both approve or hate something I have said giving me a superficial insight that if I piss enough people off (whether intentionally or not), this is what people want, what they will listen to, and the ideas they choose sides on, hoping that their responses overwhelm both the pro and con ideologies, as well as the thing (in this case a possession of my own) that has set them off into a ‘whisper-down-the-lane,’ their own ideas consuming the original point and changing the discussion into something never mentioned.

 

This is both the dream and the curiosity of a writer, such misunderstanding somehow providing your success, giving your ideas a confused aftermath, an almost laughable wonder over how some person could have thought that whatever you were saying means whatever they want it to.  But this is what writers endure constantly, the critical response that might have little or nothing to do with the intention.  This is what gives us our lifeblood–our careers–and we cannot truly resent the confused rage of someone inexplicably offended.

 

What I really wanted to say, this early morning on Thanksgiving, here in the United States (and I am the cook, it presently after 2AM, food currently in the oven and a whole shitload more waiting to be prepared and consumed), is that I am thankful, as well as appalled by the insistence of people that their ideas on the nature of the world are the only thoughts worth realizing, and that if you cannot abide such arrogance, then somehow you are either the enemy or simply ignorant.  This is not a partisan phenomenon, but a duel-sided violence–the two sides of a scratched up, double-headed coin, viciously trying to outdo one another because all views are now singular and there isn’t really anything worth listening to anymore.  I mean, Thanksgiving, this is the time when some asshole relative you have never liked rants on and on after a few drinks about the absolute morality they wish to impose upon their family.  And most of us simply roll our eyes and refuse to engage, drinking ourselves into a stupor even prior to the moment when the turkey finally takes us out.  And yet there are always those others, equally unlovable and constantly forcing the gritting of our teeth, who for one reason or another fight back and try to prove one idiot wrong with their own parallel version of idiocy.

 

I have been this sort of fucker in the past, one of those blowhards pretending to be a ‘counter-puncher,’ merely responding to whatever stupidity (in my opinion) somebody else was saying, and yet my entire goal had been to do just that.  I had been waiting to prove not just that such-and-such was wrong, but that the person under consideration was stupid for even saying whatever it was they were saying.  Of course those words came out in my younger years, my challenge of whichever long-since-dead relative whom I only ever saw on Thanksgiving, and whom I never bothered sending (and never received) a birthday or Christmas card from.  Today, now, I simply don’t care enough.  I am interested and yet uninterested in challenging another person’s beliefs.  Sure, I might think they are wrong.  I might even tell them, mock them.  But I try to be good-natured about it, pretending that all of us are morons no matter how sincere we are in whatever it is we believe.  Somehow this denunciation of humanity gives us a level peace, a mutual agreement on just how foolish all of us are.

 

I have been extremely busy of late, the cause of my withdrawal from Recording Editorial History.  I am working on three books presently, one in its late stages, editing and the occasional rewrites, a project that has taken me many years and which should be entirely finished in 2020.  And then there is the major work (or at least the one that should sell the best and make me the most profit), an intense biography that has been a constant for more than a year now.  It is an endless cycle of interviews and trips around the country and the occasional desperate attempts to get in touch with individuals from the subject’s past, some of them since phenomenally successful, even very well known and obviously nervous about putting their name on anything not directly promoting their career.

 

And finally there is a history book, something I have an increased interest with every single day, the bulk of my personal reading dense research into the phenomenon of the subject.  Broadly it is a history of my home, of my nation, of our shifting politics and our battle over opposing viewpoints.  It is called, after all, Recording Editorial History (with a subtitle I am not yet willing to announce).  All three of these projects are, at least in the present tense, my life’s work.  And I will continue working and working and working and working, and I suppose that sometimes I will return here to you and give you an idea that may or may not piss you off.  I love this website, these more than 3,000 pages I have offered to an extremely limited segment of the world.  And there is nothing I want more than to hear your voices, to listen to opposition (or of course praise; I am a lonely, nervous writer, someone who wants to consider themselves an ‘artist,’ and anyone saying something nice can even go so far as to make me cum hands free . . . wait, perhaps that is going too far . . .)

 

And so I wish you happy holidays.  I will no doubt return with another zombie parallel on Christmas (I have a tradition of watching numerous zombie films on Christmas day and my son is finally old enough to join me in the joy of the splatter).  I will try to offer something more, something political or historical or on that old safe place of sociology.  And I thank you, I am thankful for you.  To quote Joseph Conrad, “One lives too long.  Happy X-mas.”  Happy holidays or whatever PC term applies to our season.  Or don’t be happy.  Most of us really aren’t at holiday time.  Enjoy your hopeful feast that will probably wind up making you sick, or at least cause you to hate yourself because you were trying to diet and then you ate all that savory, greasy crap.

 

Have a happy morning . . .

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Political Exhaustion

 

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How many of you have been following the endless spate of chaotic recent events?  You know: impeachment hearings, presidential debates, the slavering of partisan backtalk, and the random conspiracy theories that pepper the stew of modern social and political culture.  We can tune into the tabloids every night (some might even call them by the outdated soap opera slur “stories“).  There is plenty of scandal reported from many numerous angles and sides that can keep anyone of whichever prejudices they share watching into the wee hours, waiting for some smarmy talk show host to sum things up the way they want you to see them.

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I have repeatedly compared political talk shows–both right wing radio and the variety of persuasions that pop up all over TV to sports talk programs.  Regardless of the declaration that the media has a ‘left wing bias,’ it seems that the replacement of the news with entertainment/opinion shows also leans heavily to the right.  I have a challenge for you: name three hard right wing opinion hosts on TV.  Pretty easy to do, isn’t it?  Now go for three left wing hosts: Rachel Maddow and . . . uh . . .–sure, we can proclaim some news anchor politically biased and no doubt they probably are.  But they come across mostly fair, giving competent people from opposing sides the opportunity to speak.  And while they might argue from time to time, it is very rare that they shout someone down completely the way in that Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh do.  This is why political talk shows are just like sports talk.  A sneering rant, followed by the host calling the listener ‘a moron,’ then hanging up on them, saying they are subsequently cowards for not responding to the sting of insults that follow.  This is what right wing talk shows are–shock jocks provoking people and then cutting them off.  Left wing talk simply isn’t as exciting.  It feels like less is at stake.  And for all the able Bill Maher’s there are (and there really is only one Bill Maher), the rest of them come across like the sniping whine fest that was the failed Air America radio: shrill, pretentious ideologue’s just not as good at dooming an opponent as the greedy, selfish, sociopaths and bigots on the other side.

 

But back to sports!–er, I mean politics.  I am absolutely exhausted.  Now sure–yes yes yes!  I am watching a good bulk of the impeachment hearings.  My viewing switches around the stations, from CNN and MSNBC to FOX for a variety of the mainstream perspectives, their biases expressed solely with inserts listed across the bottom of the screen and the news scroll selected to distract viewers from whatever is being said.  Then it is onto the blank unanimity of C-SPAN (this when I am tired of all the subtle propaganda), and then across the dial to stations like NEWSMAX TV, featuring hosts talking over and condemning the ongoing testimony without bothering to listen, to the nervous religious news networks threatening apocalyptic warnings if this “farce” continues.  And then I read the online bickering, the ignorance of layperson partisan disagreement expressed as personal attacks. Everyone has seemingly already made up their minds without hearing what the witnesses are saying.  And to be fair, most of the Republicans trying to discount the witnesses do not even bother asking questions, but give angry, sarcastic speeches, often mostly unrelated to the testimony.  On the other side, several of the Democrats are almost giddy, trying to lead the witnesses (most of them much smarter than the Congresspeople) into stating what they so desperately want them to say, and which they will later declare stated, whether true or not, on one of the evening talk shows they book themselves on.

 

The whole impeachment hearing, while not actually a sham, dealing with some issues that really do need to be addressed, it does not change that fact that this is a show, an occasionally very entertaining circus where people are propped up and forced to say things they are not comfortable with, or expect to be entirely misconstrued, while the chortling Congress laughs at one another playing cowboy and Indian gotcha games.

 

Turning to the Presidential campaign, here is another tabloid scandal rag, the candidates on deck each trying to one up each other, whether morally, intellectually, or barely trying to reach the people, stating that they truly care about them. I suspect than some of them actually do, but the show is so suspicious, the whole game of politics so utterly debased, that it isn’t even that we don’t trust these people; it is that we no longer care.

 

Several months ago I enthusiastically covered the Democratic debates, interested in hearing the words of a person who might actually become the next President of the United States (things being what they are Donald Trump could roll onto a crushing victory or he might be slammed with a humiliating defeat; he may declare martial law and shut down the elections, call the results “fake news” and create a true national crisis that might end with outright Civil War, or maybe he’ll just quit, stating that he “achieved all the great things I wanted to,” and then disappear into endless lawsuits and criminal cases until the legal system is so burned out that it, too, collapses from the weight.)  And so I watched and reviewed everything these people had to say, evaluating the strong points and weaknesses like any other political commentator trying to get their voices heard.  I attempted to be as non-partisan as possible, choosing no particular side regardless of whether I’ve already made up my mind who I plan to vote for (and I am a registered Independent, ineligible to vote in a primary, which makes the endless Democratic and Republican e-mails I get begging me for money rather curious).

 

But then I couldn’t take it any more, couldn’t be bothered.  The sheer volume of new tabloid political news swirling out every day is overwhelming.  You can even see this in the faces of the most blindly partisan among us.  We have those dark rings under our eyes.  Most of us have a low cough, a sense of wholesale weariness sagging our flesh and making us even more irritable than we already are.  And as the months grow colder here in the north, and we shuffle more rapidly through the streets, not even bothering to look at each other (other than me, I guess, marking those facial descriptions), you can tell that people have simply stopped caring.  “Whatever,” so many people aloofly seem to be saying.  Or, darker, “all of us are doomed anyway.”

 

Perhaps this is all the intention, complete political exhaustion.  I would like to offer a quote from a book that I recently promoted here (and which I will do again, right now: the first book of Richard J. Evans’ marvelous trilogy on the development, rise, and subsequent fall of the Nazi empire in Germany, The Coming of the Third Reich: https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=9780143034698&n=100121503&cm_sp=mbc-_-ISBN-_-used).  This refers to the functioning of the partisan press throughout Germany in the 1920s, before the ascension of Hitler.  And please do not mistake my intention here to simply write off Donald Trump and his ilk as just like the Nazis, or all the Democrats as fanatical Communists.  The world has changed significantly.  When people say “if we don’t learn from history we are destined to repeat it,” of course they do not mean in exactly the same way or even with the same intentions.  No, only that similar behavior is bound to lead to similar results.  Here (pg. 114):

“Scandal-sheets undermined the Republic with their sensational exposure of real or imagined financial wrongdoings on the part of pro-Republic politicians; illustrations could convey the contrast with Imperial days.  The massive publicity the popular press gave to murder trials and police investigations created an impression of a society drowning in a wave of violent crime.  Out in the provinces, ostensibly unpolitical local papers, often fed by right-wing press agencies, had a similar, if more muted effect. . . . press empire(s) . . . harping on the inequities of the Republic was another factor in weakening the Weimar’s (the government of Germany prior to and during the rise of the Nazi Party) legitimacy and convincing people that something else was needed in its stead.”

 

There are a limited number of changes–all of them dealing with more modern issues, although many of them reflections of the same problems–we would need to make to have this analysis apply to anywhere in the world today.  The burning out of our political ideas and the destruction of our interest in the fate of the world, of our nations, of the people down the street or even next door to us, is a dire warning for the fate of humanity.  If we claim to no longer need all the “crooks in Washington,” the fact that we elected them without understanding a a word they have to say, and without following the underlying drama playing out underneath all the bombast and nonsense, then we really don’t deserve whatever we call ‘freedom,’ do we?

Uncategorized

Mistrust: The Replacement of Fact With Opinions

 

We need to talk about something serious today.  This is not entirely alien to this editorial site, but usually my tone is mocking, satirical or even cruel.  No, I would like to attempt a discussion about the serious problems that are engaging the world, that are tearing us all apart from one another, and that has helped to reignite such a culture of angry, paranoid hatred, the endless repetition of our collapsing social world.

 

Of course this is not the first time our limitations have allowed us to point our fingers and attack anyone worthy of attributing the blame for our failures upon, but today is somewhat different, away from the Nazis controlling the message, far apart from the prime of the Communist regime allowing its subjects to hear only one side of the story.  No, the here and now is a substantially different time to be wallowing in the same mess that has caused all of our world’s great wars.  No, the real place to lay the blame is how we have allowed ourselves to become slaves to communications technology.

 

I do not wish to specifically attack the internet, nor social media (after all, where would this site be without such innovations, and where would our debates lay if we could not condemn one another for thinking differently than ourselves?)  But there is a serious consideration to think on as we sift through the daily events, through whichever version of the news we choose to believe, and it is time to wonder just how destructive the replacement of opinion as fact is to human civilization.

 

Yes, we all think that the other side is corrupt–that they are criminals attempting to impose whichever most extreme version of whatever immoral idea we have about how to destroy the world.  But the trouble with such absolutism is that all such emotionally passionate blather isn’t real.  None of this is real.  For all the conspiracy theories we believe, and for every crimes and misdemeanor of  every individual, ever, who has claimed to be in charge of a nation or society, none of our conjectures are absolutely true.  No, we believe these things because for some reason or another such ideas support our vision of the world.  None of us, any longer, seeks a fair and judicious world, but only one where we can blame someone else for everything going wrong.

 

Let us look at Donald Trump (it is inevitable, isn’t it, considering his profound mistrust of everything, certainly even including himself?)  Donald Trump likes to point out the crookedness and corruption of previous administrations, of the earlier periods of history he has not bothered to research or even tried to understand.  And of course he is right; there are crimes, there are plenty of horrors that all those formerly in his position are guilty of.  But somehow he has convinced himself that just because another scumbag got away with their crimes it is now somehow okay to commit them himself.  Like a small boy he whines about the unfairness that his big brother was never caught and so why should he be blamed for the same thing?  It is the childish nature of modern, technological society, a devolution of morality into the idea that anything you say or that you believe goes, that it is an unanswerable truth and that if you point out the flaws or the lies you are telling to justify your irrational fantasy, then whomever is against you is the true villain.

 

We do not trust one another and I guess we all understand why.  We are a gaggle of aggressive liars, a gang of cackling hens seeking to humiliate someone else because we feel so humiliated by those things out there in the world clearly beyond our control.  And we seek solutions–often crazy solutions, trying to condemn large groups of people for the crimes of one or a small group of others.  This is the nature of the broad swath of conspiracy theories that have been consuming the United States and a great portion of the rest of the world since the 1990s.  Consider the moment when online communications began to explode, with those nasty AOL comments and the later innovations that created such toxic websites like Facebook and Twitter.  None of these places find a forum for discussing the seriousness of the world, for challenging dangerous trends or desperate problems, but merely give us an opportunity to insult one another and see how angry we can make other people.  We rant and rave and even go so far as to argue hideous ideologies we do not even believe just as the target practice fun of a psychopath before a mass shooting at a gun range.  And this is who we have become.  This is the violence of our cynical, angry words.

 

The real problem here (and there are thousands upon thousands of problems with the ways we have recently learned to communicate with one another) is that there is no longer a gauge for truth.  Nothing is true unless we believe it, and everything is a lie if it does not align with our momentary desires about how things are meant to be.  And even this is a form of violence, most of us any longer seeking not the justice we claim to desire, but the condemnation of all those people we have convinced ourselves are against us.

 

This is not, specifically, Donald Trump’s fault.  Ever the opportunist, this soulless man has merely taken advantage of the fracture to gather around him an angry crowd of followers who will believe anything he say regardless of the fact that every third word out of his mouth is a lie.  In the past Presidents said maybe a sentence or two before exaggerating or outright lying.  Trump, seeing the fragmentation of reality, has gone hardcore into the myth of his own presumed greatness and has somehow managed to convince enough people that, regardless of his dishonesty, even his lies are preferable to the sincerity of whichever opposition he sets himself against.

 

People, ultimately, are mostly followers.  They seek a king or some other sort of leader (a head coach, a manager, a quarterback, the most popular kid in school) to give them an idea on how to behave if they ever hope to succeed.  But it is this selfish callousness that has helped to form the broken world we presently live within.  We refuse to trust anything that is outside of our increasingly smaller worldview.  It no longer matters what is true or what is intentionally made up.  Whichever version that aligns with our momentary reason is the one we select as absolute truth.  This is how we are destroying ourselves.  This is the world we are making for ourselves and our children and whatever likely horrible future will be imposed upon the earth in the handful of years after all of us are gone.  It is something to consider, something to remember, the next time you start mocking some other person for having a different opinion from yourself.

Uncategorized

The Evolution of Gender Bias

 

Before we get started we should remember something:

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Awful, right?  Have times changed?

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Now we can understand the satire of the second selection of ads (I could not find a direct parody of every one, but I suppose that has more to do with the sheer number of sexist ads from the past), although I wonder what is the point?  Does it really reflect how times have changed, at least a little?  Is it trying to put the past in its place?  Or is this merely a new sort of sexism, re-imagined not as a cure for the social wrongs of the past, but as a smug–oh yeah?  I can be just as much of a scumbag as you!

 

I do not intend to go off on one of those pathetic examples of angry men (or angry white people) making ridiculous statements like “reverse sexism” (or “reverse racism”) are somehow worse than the ill suffering of women throughout most of time.  Men have certainly earned much of their scorn, treating women like chattel, as incubation chambers for their hopefully male offspring.  And even today the way in which so many men treat women is hardly any different than the slap on the ass, “lookin’ good, honey,” catcall whistling intrusions.  These ads are recent:

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The last one is for skin cream.  These habits, I suppose, are very hard to break.

 

But does this give women, today, the right to treat men like shit?  Does it make sense that a black person can be racist with no consequences?  Is this the new reality?  Is this the evolution of bigotry?

 

Now men today, of course, are frequently a bunch of whiny little pussies, worthy of no respect.  And while some of them claim (and some women too) that

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the bored look on her face, the sheer disappointment, as well as the movement slogans representing something far more important than the suggestions at hand, the fact remains that many women, deep down, still desire a man to fulfill certain masculine stereotypes.  And yet the nervous, frustrated, resentful new generation of men is more about

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It is groups of angry men, uncertain how they are supposed to behave towards women, that creates this self-loathing sense of inferiority.  “I don’t know what I’m allowed to say any longer!” the man shrieks like the ancient stereotype of a woman unsure how to please her man

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Somehow the man is trying to convince himself that the crude behaviors of the past are still acceptable and that the fact he is told otherwise is oppression.  The last image, from above, “Feminism is Sexism,” does, however, ask a valid question, at least in the metamorphosis over the years.  Have self-declared feminists become sexist–every bit as sexist as those they condemn?

 

One of the most frequent tactics that people employ to fight against prejudice is equal and opposite prejudice, more imitating the same loutish behavior than seeking to change the world into a better place.  People get angry so easily and are outraged over some things that shouldn’t really bother you.  I mean, want to be offended by something truly awful?  Here:

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But this, this . . . ?

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I mean, how many of us are more interested in the conversation about the mechanics and durability of public transit versus the expensive new things we put on our feet?  I mean sure, the wording may be a little awkward, and the girl asking about shoes comes off as pretty dumb, but check out some of the reactions to this ad:

  • “Nice bit of early morning sexism on the D.C. Metro.”
  • “it’s one of too many ad campaigns that are sexist towards women,”
  • “In a city full of public affairs firms, this is the best messaging they could come up with?”
  • The ad is “sexist, stupid and offensive,” said the group UltraViolet, which advocates for women’s rights and against sexism in popular culture and media.
  • “Metro Forward needs to take these ads down, apologize and plan an advertising campaign that doesn’t play on sexist tropes.”

 

One clever wit posted this, instead, really the only worthwhile reaction to something as vapid as the Metro’s campaign:

“What are the best shoes for walking to work after the Red Line breaks down?”

 

But the outrage, the overheated offense that people take to either stupidity or perhaps failed comedy is a different sort of mirror imaged problem.

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The key word within these advertisements for political action is not ‘hate.’  No, it’s ‘speech.’  No matter how objectionable you may find something somebody else says, or how targeted you feel or even in fact are, there is something else to keep in mind:

 

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In other words, free speech is far more important to a society than countering hurt feelings.  One cannot outlaw the stupid things that all of us at one time or another have to say.  And despite the fact that so many awful things continue to be justified by the words of horrible people–treating a woman like an object, calling people names or offensive terms, telling a man just how worthless they might in fact truly be–all of this, ALL OF IT!–is within our rights.

 

I am not defending anyone or anything.  Those ads that started this piece are horrible, although admit to yourselves–you women especially–that there is a sort of nostalgic hilarity to them.  Looking at the urgently serious cries against the ‘crime’ of ‘hate speech’ (one of them even called it ‘illegal’), perhaps this is finally where we need to focus.  None of this is about equality.  It is about a humorless outlook on the world.  It is an equality of limited freedom, of demands that people fall in line.  It is about turning the whole world into a so-called ‘safe space’ where in fact that inclusive reality becomes a new form of terror, like some product out the the increasingly dire cold war dystopian fantasies that once could make us shudder.  Today it seems that some folks, regardless ultimately of their political sides, see such horror stories as suggestions on how to make the world work.

 

Here are a few quotes from George Orwell:

  • “The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being, but to remind him that he is already degraded.”
  • “All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.”
  • “Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.”
  • “Political chaos is connected with the decay of language… one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.”
  • “There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.”

 

Now these statements can no doubt be interpreted in various ways, used to justify yourself and your views, or to simply condemn those you disagree with.  But it does not eliminate your own prejudice.  Just remember, after all, hating people who hate others is still bigotry.  Want true equality?  Gender and racial equality?  Acceptance of others for who they are?

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Isn’t this, after all, the essence of our corrupt human nature?

Uncategorized

Do Things Get Better or Worse? A Visual Narrative

 

Once

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–or no, wait!

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This is where we start.

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With innovation

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danger,

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barbarism,

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and the unexplained.

 

Life was hard in those days.

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As far as we can tell everyone died screaming.

 

Cut to a few thousand years in the future and society has drastically changed, those early innovations leading to the building of primitive monuments at the center of a new thing called ‘civilization.’

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It was magnificent.  And yet

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Who built the future?

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It hardly changed over the next four thousand years

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Business and conquest intertwined

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And if you didn’t like it

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Sometimes even the self-loathing humiliation of

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until eventually

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And then things changed again

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But this joyous truth, perhaps the greatest social change in all of human history, led to deep and profound resentment

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And they tried, they tried to change things back to a past they imagined, through the romantic tales of their late ancestors, was the height of civilization

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The savvy politicians realized that they needed to throw the oppressed a bone.

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Of course this did not go over well

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But racial problems are not the only problems

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And we ask ourselves, have things gotten better?

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We convince ourselves that things keep getting worse.

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We scribble rants without understanding where we come from and how far we have gone

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We make it personal too, forgetting how awful things might be for somebody else

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Look, I am not here to defend today, declaring the present a worldwide utopia.  I am not an optimist.  I don’t particularly like people (often myself included).  But it always annoys me when some whiny asshole pretends they are

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or believes they could somehow sink back in time and be happy.

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No, things are not better today.  But they’re not worse either.  Sure, we’ve made progress, socially, economically–even regarding civil rights.  Nothing is equal, however, and we all know that it never will be.  Hatred remains unabated, resentment seems to keep growing, more than just envy and covetousness, but an honest and singularly guided loathing which turns into finger-pointing blame for everything going wrong.

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And even for this we can find someone else to blame, or something, or the way of the world, or just how terrible everything seems to have become.  After all, ancient fears about the end of the world are more plausible today

 

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Of course people say that things can always get worse and of course they can.  But that does not mean things were better in the past, that they were some sort of glory day like back when you were young and you had the greatest time of your life, or the most fun, or were starting to fall in love.  There are timeless moments too, drifting all the way back into the past, to early history, even at the dawn of man.

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The only way that things will keep getting worse is if we continue convincing ourselves this is true.  Otherwise–otherwise?  Everything stays the same, the same fears, the same danger, the same hopes and dreams humanity has always yearned for and struggled with.  Despite the slowly changing times and our rapidly developing technology, and no matter how easy things are made for us and how bored this finally makes us, nothing has really changed all that much since the early days of civilization.  Man has not socially or intellectually evolved, regardless of recorded knowledge.

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I doubt we ever will.