Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pounding your head against the whiskey bar


A facebook page I have followed for a while called "Whiskey and the morning after blog" is written by a fellow in Louisiana, not the bastion of liberal thinking in America.  Daily he takes on all of the foolishness of the extreme conservatives in this country and their outrageous rantings that are slowing this country almost to a standstill.  It is a thankless chore.

Today he published the following:

"I've been doing this for almost 3 years now and I've come to the sad conclusion that most people want to hear about how they're right and the other side is a bunch of evil villains who kill cute puppies as a sacrifice to the Koch Brothers.

"And then there's the idiots who believe in chemtrails or the Illuminati who inbox me constantly. Sweet Jesus, I just want to bang my head on my desk until unconsciousness sets me free."

All some of us who have delved into that morass can say is welcome to the club.

At first I recalled a time last fall waking up every morning to all the liberal pages I was following along with the news, and thus beginning my days utterly depressed with the state of the world. I finally unliked most of them, just for some peace of mind. It was just too much to be reminded of all that was wrong with the world, and at that time, the politics of this nation, as it was just before the presidential election.  I shut them all off and only scanned headlines for a while rather than start every day outraged and discouraged.

And today as I thought about this writer's angst, I also recalled my own experience with the same sort of thing.

My senior year in college, I was editorial editor of the newspaper for the first semester and managing editor for the second.  By the time the first semester ended, in my daily masterpieces of opinion I had solved just about all the world's problems to my satisfaction.  This wasn't easy. After all the Vietnam war was still raging.

During the second semester it was the managing editor's privilege to plan and produce one special edition of the paper focused on a single subject.  A movement dear to my heart was just gaining some steam and I chose ecology as the subject.  With that mission, reporters and editors began scouring Kansas for just what the issue was in that state and how it related to the world order. Climate change hadn't even come up as a concern at the time.

We put out a pretty good special section and with that, I felt I had solved the last remaining issue that would make the world an ideal place to live.

Then, within a couple of days, we were celebrating our last days in school at our favorite pub, joined occasionally by well-wishers and others all in generally good spirits, all of us with our journalistic chests puffed out from our accomplishment.

Then a young fellow sat down and started a conversation, at first about the paper and then after learning that I was the managing editor wanting to know how that all worked.

It took him a little time to reach his point.  His point was a question:  "What's all this bullshit about ecology?"

Apparently the liberal education he was supposed to be receiving hadn't quite taken hold yet.
For my part, like my friend at Whiskey and the morning after, I pounded my head into the beer-soaked table.  For a moment it felt like nothing I had done in the previous four years was worth a damn thing.  Nothing was solved.  Nothing was settled. Every single issue I had explained was still an issue.

Looking back now, I think that was the beginning of my disenchantment with journalism. Since that time I have taken a much more practical approach to opinion.  It's like the equal and opposite reaction law of physics and no one has ever changed anyone's mind. Let it out all you want as cleverly as you can but the people who disagree with you will always disagree with you and not always politely.  It's part of the game.  Grow a thick skin, take another slug of that whiskey and keep going.  The alternative is nonexistent.

On another occasion a friend in the conservation movement said to me: "Why do we keep trying, we’re never going to win."

It was one of those times when I actually came up with an answer which was, "No, we won't win, but we couldn't live with ourselves if we didn’t try."

My activism days are pretty much behind me, not for lack of issues and causes or necessities, but because I am just tired.

Near the end of Federico Fellini's movie "The Clowns" there is a circus parade inside the big top. In the scene three clowns are sitting on the actual ring perimeter and not participating in that parade. Someone offscreen asks and one of the clowns says, "I can't do it any more Mr. Fellini, I am just too tired."  Well, Mr. Fellini, me too.  This circus is going to have to go on without me.

So my friend at the Whiskey blog, pounding your head on the desk or not, could you live with yourself if you didn't try?  You are too young to be tired yet.

2 comments:

  1. I'm just 48 and in many ways the insanity and moronic behavior of the various special interests groups on both the left and the right have exhausted me as well.

    At one time George Carlin was way to fatalistic for me, now when I read his stuff I don't know.

    Maybe Homo sapiens just aren't intelligent enough to survive in a world they cannot understand but created.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the encouragement. You're right, there's no choice for us but to go on.

    ReplyDelete

Interesting quotations

"In the final analysis your life is only as good as the background music you dance to." – that was me

"Whether you think that you can or you think you can't, you are right." – Henry Ford

"You want to feel alive until the day you croak" – Frank Gallagher Shameless

"Smooth is good but sailing takes a brisk wind" – me

"I'm a drinker with writing problems." ~ Brendan Behan

"Religious Freedom is not about stopping persecution; it’s about being the one who gets to do it. Glory!" – Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's best Christian

It doesn't matter what you write, it only matters that you write.

"Give someone a book and they'll read all day. Teach someone to write a book and they'll spend a lifetime mired in paralyzing self doubt." – internet meme

"It's been a long time since I heard my backbone crack – Chuck Berry

“Don’t think you’re on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path.” – JD

"I was the only person up on the hill with both racing numbers and a handicapped placard." – Kitty Delorey Fleischman, a grandmother who occasionally still races her Porsche in hill climbs.

Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. – anon

"Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool." – Mark Twain

Shit happens; you just come up with a different plan. – Kitty

Your body is not a temple. It's an amusement park. – Anthony Bourdain

Never too late for a happy childhood – Berkley Breathed

A real writer doesn't just want to write, a real writer has to write. – Internet meme

"It was like the aftermath of an orgasm with the wrong partner" – David Lagercrants, "The Girl in the Spider's Web"

The non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

We never comprehend how heavy the things are we insist on carrying until we set them down. jd

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio talk show host

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve