If I were a bit more of a religious man, I might be seriously worrying about the end of the world here.
But, no, I think we're just circling the drain a little, that's all.
All one has to do is turn on the TV or get on the internet to get a good, 24/7 dose of end-of-days paranoia. Terrorists on every street corner. New diseases being discovered every day. Old diseases being resurrected. Children killing parents. Parents killing children. People marrying farm animals. Lawyers, guns and money. Reality TV, MTV, Deadbeat TV, Court TV, Dumb TV. War, pestilence and the right to pitch a tantrum whenever one needs to divest oneself of any responsibility whatsoever.
Film at 11, Lester.
We demand explanations then play dumb when we know better. We want information, but don’t know really know what to do with it. We have at least two generations, maybe three, who have somehow been taught that they don’t have to “take that” from anyone, yet life is full of “that” and much of living life, in fact, is all about how we manage “that.”
It occurs to me that for many, the ultimate goal is to position ourselves to be able to say “kiss off,” and other such sentiments to people and institutions who loom higher in our daily lives than we believe they should.
My personal goals? To be an island. To be answerable only to me. To need no one or nothing, to be left well enough alone. Rules shall not apply to me, and the enforcement thereof shall be practiced elsewhere, on pain of serious retribution against anyone who would attempt to do otherwise.
Whoa -- I sound just like one of “them.”
So maybe I’ll just take a nice cabin in the mountains, instead.
In other words, I, like everyone else, am pretty comfortable with my God complex. Yet at the same time, I’m very cognizant -- and only slightly angry and/or wistful -- that most of these are unreachable and unreasonable ambitions.
But the messages we get bombarded with sell exactly that -- teenage fantasy disguised as inherent rights -- and they are so common and so frequent they become nearly subliminal. Television commercials constantly bash parents, bash institutions, bash honesty, bash basic goodness. Inexperienced, id-driven children are always right and parents are so woefully wrong as to be completely negligible.
Don’t believe me? Watch five minutes of commercials without cutting down the volume, getting up for a beer, or surfing channels.
The people responsible for these abominations should be severely caned.
Then there’s the weather. Hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes and floods all lined up and ready to flush us right out to sea. Add a Byzantine, unending mess in places like the Middle East and a thousand other little diplomatic nightmares, and the world becomes scarier every moment.
And yet, nothing much has really changed in a thousand or so years, except maybe in our technical ability -- and secret desire -- to kill each other off in droves. That, and we have a lot more information than we used to; we’re horribly overloaded. No wonder people are making money off the ever idiotic genre of reality TV. Why worry about the end of the world when you can get personally involved in the melodrama of some sawed-off trash princess from Jersey just by twittering?
This is a weird little nut hatchery we're living in these days. Makes me wonder how we got here, anyway. The natural desire, of course, is to point fingers first. Someone -- actually that shadowy mob known as “they” -- is responsible for all this. “They” did it. “They” mowed down the rain forest and put up a Walmart. “They” commit all the crimes, ruin all the neighborhoods, marry all the farm animals -- you name it “They” do it. If only I could figure out who “They” really are.
Michael Stipe may have said it best back in '88 when he said, “Come ya fwoomie Jehann,” -- no, wait, he said, “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.” And he could have been right.
Or as I am fond of extrapolating, “When the rapture comes can I have your car?”