Thursday, December 29, 2005

Taking the Field

So let's see, we've done religion... What else are you not supposed to talk about in mixed company? Sex and politics right? Well, let's avoid the inevitable magic pop-ups that occur whenever the "S" word is tossed around lightly online, shall we? And move right on to the biggie. It's one of my favorites.

Politics, you see, is a hell of a spectator sport. We all love to watch it and talk about it and complain when our guys lose and make nasty comments about the winner, but... when it comes down to it, very few of us have the guts to get out on the field. Never mind that the field is protected by numerous layers of financial and bureaucratic gatekeepers like the security guards who stop morons from wandering onto the field at an MLB game. And granted, said gatekeepers seem to be much better at keeping intelligence out of the picture than stopping the idiots from thinking they can play.

OK, let's face it. Talent is not what gets you into this game. Nor is a knowledge of the rules. It's luck, money, and charm. OK, and lies. Tell the people what they wanna' hear, etc. But how can we complain? This is the system we've got because this is the system we made. Democracy, y'know? What the people want -- even the stupid, ignorant, or uninformed ones.

In a way, it's just like the movies. We all bitch about the dearth of originality and meaning in the sludge that Hollywood spews at us these days. But when something meaningful and original does show up, do we support it? Apparently not, if you look at the numbers for "Serenity" vs. say... "Doom," which was released a week or so after it.

We say we want to focus on the issues, talk about what's best for the country or the state or the city or what-have-you, but what do we pay attention to on the TV? Who watches the debate on TV? For that matter, who goes downtown when the local one isn't televised? Jeeze. Even so, what are we talking about in line for the microwave at work the next day? The ideas or the hairstyle? The substance or the bullshit?

US politics have gotten this bad because we let it happen. They learned from Hollywood to give the people what they want. Something similar happened in ancient Rome -- and we all know how that turned out. Complacency is the first sign of a declining civilization, my friends, and we're sitting on top of a great big cushy pile of it. Enjoy it for what it is 'cuz this is the pleasant view at the top of the hill, and there's only one way to go from here.


If you're lucky, you're old enough that you'll be dead before it all falls apart. I feel like I should be apologizing to every teenager I meet these days -- only like every generation before us, Gen X feels that we're not responsible for the mess. Yeah, we didn't make it. But what have we done about cleaning it up?

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