Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Leaving Idealism, Heading South To Cynicism

The little blurb on my banner above says I'm "transitioning from idealist to cynic..." but I think that ship has finally sailed. If I haven't quite reached cynicism, I'm at least steaming past the shores of skepticism.

I no longer believe one thing I hear on TV or read in the news. Perhaps there's a kernel of truth somewhere, but since I'm not completely informed on every aspect of life on this planet, and since I'm not astute enough to always know what is truth and what is spin by those with agendas.... I think from here on I'm going to consider all of it as bullshit. (Sorry, Margie.)

Last week, during the lunch hour, our local NBC channel interrupted programming and ran the banner "BREAKING NEWS!" Of course I stopped in mid-bite thinking another disaster had struck, or that the Midwest had finally floated out into the Atlantic. It wasn't, thank God, a disaster... but it was a disastrous load of BS.

Our California legislature had finally approved a budget that the Governator took great glee in signing. YAY! What makes this news is that it's only two months late.

What makes this bullshit news is that our beloved Governor Schwarzenneger spent the next few minutes showing us his strong, white Austrian teeth, puffing out his steroidal pecs and nodding like one of those bobblehead dolls you glue to the dashboard of your 1968 muscle car (if you're a dork). He was just SO proud and SO pleased and took the time to congratulate by name all those who had worked "so hard" on this process.... and I assume he was including the chiseled face Maria sees every morning, too. Let's all give a hearty congratulations for legislators who are the highest paid in the nation yet can't seem to fulfill their obligation by a constitutionally mandated deadline. Great job, folks! Maybe next year you can stretch it out to Labor Day. It goes without saying that there are no consequences to this irresponsible inaction -- since the legislators have not chosen to enact a provision to be grounded, sent to their rooms or even have a time-out.

"Going Green" has been big news on the news and on the web recently. It's the trendiest, most popular, most written-about position to take... how do I know? Just pick a celebrity and follow his/her bandwagon. "Make your every choice a green choice." Well, I'm all for that. I've been all for that since the 60's and 70's, when at least some of us woke up to the fact that Earth's resources are limited and it's our moral imperative to make the most responsible choice every time.


Our American culture is so deeply entrenched in materialism, in things and stuff and in marketing those things and that stuff that I have to wonder just how seriously my few simple choices affect THE ENTIRE WORLD, its atmosphere, its weather, the future production of its oil, the polar bears, the arctic glaciers, every endangered species AND the coral of the Great Barrier Reef.

If my personal consumerism really made an impact,
  • Packages would be a whole lot easier to open and not require shears, saws and bolt cutters to get through the plastic.
  • I would receive no printed junk mail.... none... not one piece from anyone, which is certainly my preference.
  • I'd be able to buy ONE of something at the market, not six, not a dozen, not five pounds when I need 6 ounces.
  • Fruit and vegetables wouldn't have paper labels that somehow end up stuck to my tile counter every time. If it's fresh and juicy, I don't CARE where it comes from. I trust my produce buyer - I really do.
  • There wouldn't be 228 choices of breakfast cereal on the shelves in my market. YEP, I stood there and counted them. 228 flavorful ways to consume fiber, sugar and preservatives, not to mention chocolate chips, marshmallows, dehydrated fruit and allergenic nuts.
You get the picture. How much impact can one little grandma make who lives alone in a new, energy-efficient home, drives maybe 100 miles a month in her smog-certified 4-cylinder car and certainly has a smaller carbon footprint than any Gore?

Why does the green movement fit my definition of bullshit news? Because although it's the hottest topic, it's completely unrealistic. Maybe consumer demand will force a few changes here and there for the better, but that still will make an infinitesimal impact on our industrialized, consumer-ridden society... and probably no impact on those emerging nations that are being groomed for big-boy consumerism by marketing geniuses this very minute.

Does this plan ring true in saving the planet? You don't have to adjust one tiny aspect of your life as long as you figure out how much your personal pollution costs then contribute that amount to a "green fund." If that isn't BS, then I need a crash course in identifying it. I guess "choosing green" is a great idea for the OTHER guy... for God's sake, don't make yourself uncomfortable in the least.

Does anyone really believe that any typical American will willingly choose to give up a teeny, tiny part of this lifestyle for the bigger, greener picture? (I'm excluding the Birkenstock crowd, of course...) We may make greener choices as long as we have an equally decadent replacement ready to go. To truly make the difference the green crowd hopes for, we'd have to turn back the clock 200 years and live without industrialization. Think about those implications, then consider the absolute impossibility of that happening without some cataclysmic event. It ain't gonna.

What else qualifies for bullshit news... let's see. Every facet of the war in Iraq, from its questionable beginning to its current sorry state? Anything to do with the politics of Iran, Pakistan or North Korea? The detainees in Cuba? Lobbyists? Oh -- the economy/housing market/mortgages? Raise your hand if you think we hear THE TRUTH about any of those issues from The Gov. Tidbits of truth, maybe...the whole story? The unvarnished, unmanipulated, un-spun truth? Not in my recent memory.

My immediate reaction to almost anything I hear on the political, socioeconomic or national policy fronts from anyone, including news media or official spokespersons, is doubt, distrust and disbelief... based on my experience that what we hear today isn't what we'll hear in two weeks after other "facts" and "adjustments" have been announced. Check again in six months...you won't recognize the original story.

Maybe I'm wrong...maybe I'm doing my usual Aries over-reaction dance... or maybe I'm just late in shedding my cocoon of naivete and and seeing the world through the skeptic's eyes. If this is reality, I want my fantasies back... reality sucks.


LobowolfXXX said...

1. The only cereal you need is Captain Crunch Peanut Butter.

2. LOL "Austrian teeth"

3. Could be worse...we could still have Gray Davis.

4. F the effing effers who thought term limits were such a brilliant idea, and passed them via the initiative process. Self-imposed restrictions on candidates that disqualify them for having experience. NOW, if there's someone you like, he's going to be out anyway; if there's an idiot in office in your district, the ONE thing he could be threatened by, the possibility of not getting re-elected, won't keep him in line -- he's losing his job anyway.


IntelWmn2 said...

As one California governor was wont to say, once he became President, "well there you go".
Guess our Arnie will have to come up with a catch phrase as he propels himself into the White House on the lies he left in California.

Doesn't this reek of lies and distortions from the 60's? Maybe
I am sleep walking through life or does this sounds oh so familiar.

Breaking news to me means I have to ask someone to hold the phone while the loo beckons. But wait, there just might be a heroic journey on the 405 fwy, ala O.J.,
that will take us away from what really matters.. but I protest too much.

As with the 60's, all personal things must be put on hold --even the loo will have to wait as I get into my SUV and waste gas going across town to get my recycled

I happen to like Kermit,who asked "wouldn't you like to be green?" (That frog, so ahead of his time!) I am no longer infamous enough to shout Green is Alive,Alive out of the window. So will settle for fallen leaves and leave the car idle for the moment.

Anonymous said...

the green movement is so deteriorated as to be dangerous, it has nothing to do with green, but an insistence with agreeing with whatever trend they view as theirs. not to mention they have demeaned science equally as have the creationist version of them on the right.
your observations of a lack of objectivity, and a search to see through propaganda, partisan and otherwise, is impressive. thanks Pat


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