The Detroit Free Press ran an article yesterday with the headline “Powerlessness soaring as society spirals”… it’s an Associated Press story that shows on Yahoo as Everything seemingly is spinning out of control.
The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country’s sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance.
Seems like an odd kind of news story, but I’m glad someone noticed.
Forget anything personal going on. There’s enough going on in the world that isn’t Charlie-centric that makes optimism hard for me to maintain. There’s climate change and atrocities in Darfur and Zimbabwe and Burma and Iraq (just for starters), and would-be authoritarians on both halves of this continent, and corporations out to protect their interests and theirs alone, and rising prices and unemployment and uncertainty, always the uncertainty….
I guess it doesn’t mean much if I say that I’ve never known it to be this bad. I mean, I haven’t been around a half-century yet, which means I’ve missed WWII and I know for a fact that was worse. And I’m not in any real conflict zone, so all I’m doing is reading the news and going “Idiots! How can they be so evil and wrong?” That’s not the same as having bombs exploding nearby. But, still. It’s hard to pretend that the world around me is doing well.
And the icing on the cake is, it all will be even less funny now that George Carlin is gone. Sure, the world made no sense, but at least George could make us laugh and shake our heads and move on. Come on, the world has to get better—Lewis Black is by himself now, and he’s going to explode if this keeps up, and then we’ll have NO ONE left.
The CNN article quotes Carlin as saying that, even though his career was based on examining the vagaries of human life, he was not a cynic but a “disappointed idealist.” He’s not the only one, I reckon.