The 1991 movie Grand Canyon, which I wrote about recently, in large part is about how insane life has become. In the 25 years since, the insanity has grown. Perhaps most are so focused on just getting through their life, or are so taken up by the distractions and toys of modern living, that they never stop to realize just how really crazy the world has gotten.
I don’t mean the apocalyptic reality presented by TV news, or by the GOP; I mean the sheer insanity of how we go about our business these days, what we accept as “the way things are.”
I mean what we’ve come to accept as normal.
Because it’s just plain nuts when you step back and look at it.
As just one example, internet spam, both the benign and the vicious. The former comes from legitimate businesses campaigning for your dollars. But the latter comes from thieves.
And I am so fucking sick of all the thieves on the internet. They are predators. Lazy opportunistic ones (not the hard-working predators we tend to admire).
The legit businesses are bad enough; I’m so weary of the constant clamor for my coin.
Case in point: Best Buy, an outfit I’m generally friendly towards, used to send me email spam every single day until I said enough, stop, no more! (At least they honored that request. In many cases, attempting to unsubscribe just lets them know your email address is valid.)
But the thieves, oh my God, those fucking thieves. On the one hand, the “come hither” schemes from supposed Russian women and Nigerian royalty. On the other hand, outright attacks on your PC with phishing, trojans (not the fun kind), and viruses.
Everyone seems out to part you from as much of your money as they can, and many of them are more than willing to use unsavory methods in the process. Even commercials and legit businesses lie to you constantly in all sort of legal ways.
It makes life grotesque and awful. Why do we put up with it?
I think it has something to do with our tendency to overlook bad and settle for some modicum of good (rather than rejecting the bad and seeking more good).
I’m bemused by cases like Hope Solo and the adulation she gets in spite of apparently being, to put it bluntly, a complete raging asshole.
One can say the same about many sports figures, many media figures, and most definitely about the current GOP Presidential nominee.
We seem to accept an awful lot of shit served with our food. It’s astonishing to me what we tolerate from public figures. That willingness to overlook a rotten core leads to, well, you-know-who (no, not Voldemort; someone much worse).
I’m not saying life is a pure barrel of wine besmirched by any drop of nasty (I’ve said exactly the opposite; see Barrel of Wine; Barrel of Sewage). But I wish we demanded more quality and substance from media and business and government.
I’m saying that some things are too much; some things ruin other things. At the very least, some things spoil other things. We shouldn’t accept that.
As an aside, I’m getting a little tired of people who tell me how the glass is half-full. It often seems part of that over-acceptance thing.
The message seems to be that half a glass is fine, enjoy the having not the not-having.
Which is fine to a point, I’m in favor of a positive attitude and being grateful for what you do have, but all the contentment about the half-glass seems to end the conversation.
“Yep, that’s a great half-glass you got there! Enjoy it! Next!”
I dunno… Half a life? Half an education? Half a pay check? Seems like half a share in life demands questioning what happened to the other half, not some vague contentment over getting any at all.
Especially if we’re going to go around priding ourselves on how great society is.
As the social world gets simultaneously much larger (in people) and much smaller (in connection), we face a world where the norm operates in a super-critical response zone.
Small actions can be greatly magnified. Current estimates put the number of internet users around three-billion. A tiny fraction of that, say 0.01% (one-hundredth of a percent), is still a lot of people: 3,000,000 of them!
You can see why spam is so popular. It costs almost nothing, can reach huge audiences, and even a tiny return can work out as decent profits. Anything above a tiny return, and the profits can be lucrative.
At the same time, the sheer size of everything, and the fast pace, is so overwhelming, one almost has to try to tune most of it out. The “bubble” becomes a survival means.
And therein lies the problem. What we allow into our bubble. More to the point, what we don’t. At worst we throw up a shield against facts and reason. But it can also let is ignore things that make us uncomfortable. Or it can just prevent us from growing.
And that’s one of the greatest shames right there.