You know the old saying that your mind is like a steel trap? Have you ever had the pleasure of the ole’ proverbial trap getting rusted shut? Writer’s block. I thought it didn’t exist, merely a shield to hide behind when your writing was as interesting as the latest iteration of the Saw franchise. But I’m here to tell you that it does exist. My hours of staring blankly at assignment after assignment have easily proved its existence to me. Maybe I was uninspired writing fake news articles for a journalism class. So what follows is hopefully a rebirth of mediocre, relatively obvious critics of the world as I see it.
I was already down. I was taking a look at the netbook selection at my local Best Buy when my parents call. They had bought a MacBook Pro (something I had always wanted) for themselves, with a student discount because I (their son) am a student. So, thanks to me, they got what I wanted. At least now when I go home I can pretend that it’s mine. (If I can drown out the chorus of “Where’s right click?” and “so command is control?”.)
After all of this had played out I walked into Barnes and Noble, where I saw it: Glenn Beck’s new book, Arguing with Idiots. http://www.glennbeck.com/content/books/ (the reviews are particularly intriguing.) I began to think…about how anger, argument and (my personal favorite) yelling have taken the place of all logical civil discourse in the world.
Remember in the children’s movie Beethoven, when the dad told the evil scientist that he was going to “kick his butt”? Remember how powerful that outburst of anger made you feel? Do you ever feel like that when you watch Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and any other show that squares off two or more “experts” against each other about issues which the success of our country and well-being are discussed, yell at each other? How could you? They yell about health care, they yell about Obama, they yell about each other yelling about Obama and health care… and don’t get them started about Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran.
How long can this go on? Can people really continue to get their information from such clearly biased, clearly clueless windbags who were chosen for their jobs for their ability to yell rather than reason? Neither side is exempt from this by the way, left or right, blue or red or whatever stupid way you want to say it, everyone’s guilty. (Just so everyone’s clear, I’m not yelling as I type this, or hitting the keys very hard, my temperament would be “inquisitive and vexed” if this was the mood line on my MySpace page.)
George Washington had it right from the beginning. As he was giving his farewell address as the first President of the United States, he said (and I’m paraphrasing) “I’m going to retire now, but before I go, remember these words: this whole political party thing people are talking about, try not to do that, I don’t think it will work very well. Well, see ya later.”
Just remember this kids, if someone is talking about an issue and you don’t agree with them, question them, listen to them, and give them your side. Don’t raise your voice, and don’t use any wild cliché hand gestures either. Your point might just be absorbed instead of redirected toward you in the form of more yelling by the other party. Don’t believe me? Picture a microphone. When you speak with a normal tone into it, it carries your voice to others who can absorb and interpret your words. Now, if you yell into a microphone, the words get distorted, crackly, and if you yell loud enough it might just feedback, at which point the audience will cringe, cover their ears and start yelling back. Then we’re right back to the Cro-Magnon era. Right Glenn?
So TIAW loyalists, how’d I do? This is easily the most I’ve written in months. Give me your feedback…but please, don’t yell.