No Matter How Cynical I Get

I can’t keep up.

Damn good thing I still have some remnants of my sense of humor. And, as it turns out, thank heaven for comedians like Lily Tomlin who can put our anger into some kind of perspective.

I don’t remember ever hearing this line until my Tai Chi instructor told me my rants on teenage violence reminded him of that. Specifically, I was suggesting that I was afraid that I was becoming my father, ranting about a society that seems to be headed down the wrong path.

More specifically, I was outraged by the story of the teen girls, and guys, I guess, who had beat up another girl and then put the tape on U-Tube. When I told this to Leslie she thought I must have been referring to an earlier incident where kids were on trial for a very similar incident.

Now, I can understand why criminal gangs have such rites of initiation as a means of making sure that no one will turn on fellow gang members and, you hope, that law enforcement officials wouldn’t be able to infiltrate their gang. But these kids seemed to be normal, successful teenagers, including a cheerleader who fretted that she might miss cheerleading practice while being booked in the local jail.

Nor have I been pleased with recent events in the Democratic primary. I’ve gone from believing either candidate would be a great replacement for the Worst President in the History of America to wishing that we could start over and find a third candidate who is better than our present choices. I’m afraid we’re quickly reaching the point where I will end up once again voting against one of the candidates rather than voting for someone I want to see elected.

Of course, the fact that I spent much of the day trying to learn how to write CSS code that will compensate for Internet Explorer’s deficiencies, past and present, did not put me in a very good mood. Now I know why Lisa said, “I hate IE,” and why Shelley wrote a long blog entry explaining why the web community should not tolerate Microsoft’s attempts to make the web conform to THEIR standards rather than meeting standards established by the web itself.

6 thoughts on “No Matter How Cynical I Get

  1. I find one of the best ways for me to deal with a tendency towards cynicism is to take long breaks from the professional pundits. For some reason, they bring out the worse in me. If I spend too much time with them, Loren, I will despair of humanity despite the evidence I have that the people I actually know are mostly kind, intelligent, decent, honest, and not much at all like a professional pundit.

  2. Paul’s right. I’d add that frequency, not volume of news is the misundestood cause of most media-driven dismay. The Civil War was one of the most devastating events in our history. But the news about it didn’t reach everyone the minute a soldier fell at Bull Run or Gettysburg. It took a while.
    Now, whether the news is about a casual remark made by a candidate or an act of adolescent savagery, we hear it too soon and too much. John Prine, a good poet disguised as a songwriter, wrote “Blow up your TV, throw away the paper, move to the country, build you a home. Plant a little garden, eat a lotta peaches, try and find Jesus on your own.”
    I’d vote for him if he ran. Lock your TV onto the History Channel and wait 20 years. You’ll hear about the things that bother you 20 years too late to worry about them.

  3. I agree with you across the board. IE is frustrating, annoying and broken, I’m thinking of voting for the Green party this year, and I’ll never get over my astonishment of those kids beating up that girl _just_ to get the video on YouTube.

  4. I’m afraid I didn’t say this very well here, but what I’m most outraged about is that our society, particularly the media, both sensationalizes and trivializes violence.

    Ten year old kids are watching examples of violence regularly that exceeded the violence that we were shown prior to going to Vietnam to desensitize us so we weren’t overwhelmed when people were blown up in front of us. How can this possibly lead to anything positive? Besides making money for stockholders, of course?

  5. I think a lot of the reason we become cynical is indeed due to the media. Every snipe and criticism by either candidate is played up and done to death and we become disgusted with both of them. In reality, I think the first impression, that either would be a great improvement, would have held if it weren’t for the media’s frenzy. It is sad that we can never feel really supportive of the candidates. I felt that way about Obama but now I am getting more jaded as I keep hearing more and more criticism of his tactics, etc. I’d like to still think he’s different from the rest. But we’ll see.

What do you think?