Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Down On The Lot Of Ya

The View from the Afternoon - Arctic Monkeys (mp3)
Perpetual Motion Machine - Modest Mouse (mp3)

Want some fun numbers? Try these on for size.
  • Fewer than 25% of people like Sarah Palin.
  • The Tea Party gets 36% approval.
  • Nancy Pelosi? 29%
  • Harry Reid? 16%
  • John Boehner? 12%
  • 92% of Americans give the economy a bad rating.
  • Obama's approval numbers are hovering in the high 40s.
  • Democrats in general? 31% approval.
  • Republicans in general? 25% approval.
I can't find the numbers on a general opinion of Wall Street, but I'm going out on a very large limb and saying the numbers aren't good. (Here and here are where I got the other numbers.)

Here's the general gist: The more you are in the public sphere, the more likely you are going to be despised. Now, more than ever.

This isn't just politics. We're seething at Wall Street and big greedy corporations. We despise unions protecting their chaff. We're tired of celebrities who won't shut up. We curse the talking heads on TV, and we are annoyed with athletes who can't seem to keep their private lives private. And the Pope? Are you kidding? Gozer the Destroyer has a higher approval rating.

We're sick of all of it. The bigger you are, the harder you've already fallen.

The level of vitriol and venom is rising from the Land of the Common Man and Woman.... and I've got this wild feeling, based on almost no true historical understanding, based on nothing but pure gut instinct.

We're on the verge of the next '60s.

Sure, it won't be exactly the same. We won't all wear tie-dye shirts and join cults. But that era was marked, above all, by an overwhelming distrust of authority, and we're headed that way again.

Today, different people of different persuasions -- cultural, political, socio-economical, racial -- distrust different groups more and less. However, the bottom line is that we as a nation are less eager to trust The Man, The System, The Church, The Celebrity, or The Big Business.

When's the last time America felt like it was overrun with riots and violence? When it seemed like our country, while not at Civil War, was busier fighting one another than we were fighting the enemies at our proverbial gates? The '60s and early '70s.

Whereas then it was led by restless youth, people of color fighting for equality and respect, and other variations on the "left" theme, the New '60s will be represented by people on both sides. Conservatives and liberals both carry their anti-authority torches and protest signs. Both sides are increasingly mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore.

As a relatively trusting soul, this coming era is going to be very uncomfortable for me. I'm not going to like it. It's already making me sad, how little we seem to like one another. But I keep telling myself this: Most of us ordinary people like one another just fine. We all mostly get along. We're just sick and tired, it seems, of people on big screens and with big microphones talking down to us like they know more or do more or are better-equipped than we are to know what's right and wrong, good and bad, just or unfair.

So I'm going to continue my trusting and optimistic ways by hoping that this coming era of anti-authoritarian animosity and distrust will be a healthy reality check for our country, and that we will emerge from this, perhaps 20 years from now, a better and more unified nation than we are today.

Either that, or we'll eventually break off into smaller Democratic nations like the Eastern Bloc has been doing for the last 20 years, with Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton all serving as presidents of 1/4 of what used to be the United States. (Oh c'mon, you just KNOW Clinton would find his way back into a seat of power...)

My point is, buckle up. The next 20 years are gonna be tense, occasionally violent, and full of suspicious citizens. But maybe we'll be more awake and alert, as a country. Since far too many of us have been sleepwalking like cokeheaded bums since Jack Tripper stumbled into his apartment with Janet and Chrissy, maybe this change won't be so bad. But it won't be pretty.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fun stuff. I love it when sentences just come out of left-field, like the pope being more despised than "Gozer the Destroyer." Ha.

Anonymous said...

holy comma splices

Sara Coffman said...

To kindly disagree with anonymous: there are no comma splices in this blog entry.

Bob said...

Sara, you are our new favorite commenter.

Billy said...

To be fair to Anonymous #2, I snuck in this morning after reading his comment and cleaned up three sentences. While I don't think there were any actual comma splices, the sentences were drowning in commas that, at best, weren't essential. Kinda like that last sentence.

@Sara -- Your comment generates the kind of positive karma that keeps trees from falling on your apartment!

BeckEye said...

Hey, I still have some tie-dye tee shirts, so I'm totally ready for the New '60s! Now, I just need to get my hands on some good weed.

Also, people who comment merely to nitpick on someone's grammar generally have nothing to say.

Tockstar said...

Did you just rip on Gozer the Destroyer? Oh, that was a bad move, buddy. Baaaadddd moove.

I still love ya, Goze.

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