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Saturday, July 30, 2011

It Ain't Necessarily So

Tonight was movie night. I have a backlog of movies to watch, some from last Christmas that I still haven't seen. Some that I haven't found since moving. And then there are things I see so cheaply available that I'll pry my wallet open and buy. So it was with Russell Brand in "Arthur" with Helen Mirren as John Gielgud. It's no great art film, breaks no barriers, makes no allegorical or political statement. It's just sweet. No, it's not Dudley Moore, it's Russell Brand and this is 35 years later, in the year 2011 CE. I rather liked it. A nice little comedy, and everyone does a good job. Is there something wrong with that? Oh, right, I should be watching something meaningful. Balls to that!

When the hell did things become so damn tight assed? These days everything is snubbed by somebody or other. I feel like I've just woken up from a coma (well, that's 4 years of opiates for you) and everyone's gone nuts. People spend hours upon hours arguing over meaningless nonsense online, even invent other sock puppets to argue with themselves in public- how crazy is that? And there's this huge pressure to define yourself- are you a Christian? Are you a Liberal? Are you a vegetarian? Do you smoke? And behind all these definitions are adjectives for everyone; who you are is soneone else's construct. And then the final judgment. You're either good or bad. You are acceptable or to be shot. This has become such a black & white, Us vs. Them society in the past few years that I hardly recognize my own country. It's malodorous prejudice in all its encapsulating glory. I swear we're rowing backwards in time. We're nearly at pre-All In The Family levels of bigotry.

Except now there are new acceptable prejudices. And there's a reason behind them, just like there always were. Here's a partial list (in no particular order) of the "New Niggers of 2011"

Fat People
Skinny People
White People
Arabic People
Right wingers
Left wingers
Poor People
Sick People
Educated People
Uneducated People
Meat Eaters
Gun Owners

But these are the currently-sanctioned hatreds.

Just add the old-fashioned but still alive hatreds of
Non-English Speakers
Any Non-Christian

And we've got a really wonderful community, eh?

It's really time we look at what's going on among us and stop behaving like children. Did you ever see the smart kid in the family set up a fight so they could get a big piece of dessert or run off to watch TV while everyone was having at each other?

Nobody, nobody is ever all one thing or another. I'm very Liberal in societal views and personally pretty conservative when it comes to money. You can't paint a person in all one color, because it's not true rendering. We're all fighting our own wars through life, why do we make it worse by alienating each other?


CarrieBoo said...

Wow. This is so spot on. It seems like everyone is living in fear, only they don't want to look inside themselves.

Austan said...

Now there's the real crux, Carrie, we're living in a world of fearful people. And people who promote fear. I'm thinking that the opposite of love isn't indifference, it's fear.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Sounds simplistic, but the best I can say is, "Be yourself." Don't worry about the bigoted views of others. Where I live, it's almost "against the law" to be a democrat. But I am. It seems the norm around here to have a narrow-minded view of the world, and to choose political hype and unsubstantiated rumors over facts. But I don't. If the people I associate with spout bigoted crap, I simply disassociate. After many many years of heavy involvement with a church, I left when the majority opposed the adoption of a new mission statement that included a phrase about "everyone" being welcome. Their reasoning? Gays might join. I won't even go into how insane that made me, but the bottom line is, yeah, you're right about some of the insanity in the world today. There's always been a lot of insanity in the world. Just hang onto your own sanity as best as you can. Brighten the corner where you are.

Geo. said...

Must agree with prior commenters. Much intolerance comes from people unable to accept their own individuality, which is hard to defend because one is never quite done. Also hard to maintain in the roar of collectives, leaving the individual feeling small and alone. Fear's weird.

Lisa said...

Those of us who don't show fear, stand up for what they believe, and speak out are targeted too. Nobody wants to compromise anymore. It's always, "Mine's bigger" or "I'm right, you're wrong, BOOM!". Susan, are you from Indiana? That's EXACTLY how it is here. Unfortunately, if I disassociated from everyone in my life that spouted bigoted crap, I wouldn't have any family or friends other than my hubby, my child, and our wonderful Aunt Laura :D

Austan said...

Susan & Geo., you're right.

Lisa- You rock, I love you all.