Monday, December 31, 2007

A Blast Of Optimism

Sometimes, it's really how you look at things that can make the difference in the interpretation. Let's think about it this way: 2008 has to be a better year than 2007, because I really think we hit the ultimate rock bottom this year.

Things have happened, the likes of which most of us have never seen before, and if you needed one more kick to remind you of how intensely pitiful we, as a society, have become, consider this:

  • GARLAND, Texas (AP) — An essay that won a 6-year-old girl four tickets to a Hannah Montana concert began with the powerful line: "My daddy died this year in Iraq."

    While gripping, it wasn't true — and now the girl may lose her tickets after her mom acknowledged to contest organizers it was all a lie.

Read it. It's unbelievable. And the way the mother tries to explain it away is just the thud off the bedrock that validates my opinion.

Think about everything else that's happened this year: Paris in Prison, Britney Spears in Everything...The US Government as a whole: President Bush's Administration, Senator Craig, the Presidential campaign so far. But our performance as people wasn't much better...

  • In one Maine school district, the school board has okayed the distribution of birth control that could be given to girls as young as twelve.

  • The idiot "judge" who sued a dry cleaner for $65 million over a pair of pants. Mind you, it is presumed that this man received at least some formal education.

  • Can't forget the astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who drove cross-country in a diaper now, can we? She was going to confront her romantic rival.

  • We allowed China a shot at taking over the US by poisoning us with lead paint, antifreeze in our toothpaste, but didn't really get mad until they messed with our dog food. Then people really spoke up! But most Americans don't care if you sell them hazardous waste, as long as they can get it at Walmart, and as long as it's cheap.

  • And what happened to the National Pastime, huh? In November, Giants' slugger Barry Bonds was indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice, and testing positive for steroids use. This was just after he broke the all-time Home Run record, in October, mind you.

  • And nothing got people motivated like the arrest of Michael Vick on dog-fighting charges. We throw human babies in dumpsters, sometimes when they're still alive, and go on with our business, but let someone offend a four-legged friend, and WHAMMO! STOP TRAFFIC!


Unfortunately, a list of American Screw-Ups could go on all day, but you get the point. Can 2008 really go any lower? Can people be any more stupid than they were in the last 365 1/4 days?

I'm brimming with optimism for the year ahead. Life has to get easier because hey, take a look around. We don't have a formal English language anymore, so I can just write what I want, even make up words, such as, like ungood, and eventually, evolution will do away with our good friends . ' , ; : ! ) ( so take a good look at that bunch before they fade away.

And my musical career will flourish in the coming 12 months. I have the utmost confidence that with the right computer and editing software, I can create and sell my first million albums. I have no musical talent whatsoever, but...

But seriously, you can only get so wet, no matter how much water they dump on you, right? I really think Americans hit the zenith of stupidity and contemptuous behavior in 2007, because not only did a lot of people do a lot of stupid things, they figured that we were stupid when they tried to sell the logic behind their actions. When one idiot assumes that everyone else is completely stupid, it might be the indicator of a major turnaround.

So yes, I believe 2008 will be a better year by simple virtue of my belief that it can't get any worse. I think that by default now, the government will actually do one thing this year that isn't completely moronic (that itself will make it a better year, because in 2007, Moron Politics batted .1000, and that was without the use of steroids).

And some of my optimism may be too ambitious, but is there anything truly wrong with hoping we're entering a new year, a new era, a new world? Am I crazy to believe that this is the year when cnn.com or time.com or washingtonpost.com become more heavily visited than tmz.com or perezhilton.com? Is it over-the-edge to wish for the return of grammar and punctuation? Could it be too far-fetched of me to think that the next time I see the word "your" it will be in the context of possession, as in "your house", and not yet another bastardization of the contraction meaning "you are"?

Oh yes, I know that there is no such thing as Utopia, because what might be perfect for me could be purely toxic for you. But all I really and truly want would be a country where we get our priorities in order, and act accordingly. We pay more attention to Viral Videos than we do to the AIDS virus. The problem of starving children only comes to mind when some celebrities walk the Red Carpet at some fund-raising project. Global Warming is something we "deal" with by selling $1000 cloth shopping bags.

Electing someone like Hillary Clinton won't solve our problems. It will only replace them with a whole new set of problems. Let's face it, does getting kicked in the left shin really hurt that much less than getting kicked in the right one? The political process can be likened to taking out the can of stinky kitchen garbage only to replace it with our neighbors' can of stinky garbage.

Success in this country is now measured in terms of how long one can get away with cheating, or who can screw the most people for the longest time.

It's really a matter of saying "Enough!" Companies like Mattel import toys for our children that have the capability of poisoning them, and yet we shop on. The banks in this country thought that they could cash in by giving mortgages to people who can't financially afford them, and attaching ridiculous interest rates to those mortgages. And now that this practice has nearly bankrupted the system, the burden has been place on the shoulders of consumers. Politicians address a problem such as illegal immigration by taking measures that say, "Oh well, you broke the law, but there are so many of you now...here, help yourself to the best we have to offer!" A man like Eliot Spitzer has no business running anyone's government. Vote him out, simple as that. Vote them all out. It's the only hope that really exists, and it's the only language that politicians ever really hear.

The Internet has given voice to a great many people. The First Amendment has been tested like never before, due mostly to our propensity as a people to take things to extremes in ways never intended or foreseen. We need to refocus our efforts in using this medium, and stop making it a stage for circus sideshows. There is power in the voice of the people, but only so long as it can be taken seriously.

The good thing about hope is that it always seems to exist. While my premise that things have to get better because they seemingly can't get any worse is a little skewed, I believe it's a valid point. People have been shocked, revolted, upset and annoyed to the point where I believe we've reached the saturation level, and I think when nothing more can fit in the barrel, it's time for a different kind of barrel. That's what's going to keep me going into the new year ahead.

It might be a crazy way to look at things, but I think it's one that just might work. I wish you all the very best in 2008.

19 comments:

  1. I think it can get worse. (Does that make me a pessimist?) If Hillary Clinton gets elected our next commander in chief, I'd be tempted to flee north. Ok, I wouldn't really, but oh how disastrous that would be.

    Celebrities and so-called role models won't clean up their acts. How many times will Lindsay do rehab this year? How many teenage pregnancies will pop up?

    We certainly won't see the end of ridiculous legislation; as long as we have judges and lawyers ruling from the courtrooms, and politicians answering to special interest groups.

    The most important thing we can do is be the kind of person we ought to be: the ones trying to make the world a better place; the ones fighting ridiculous legislation, standing up for what is right and good; educating ourselves and using common sense.

    Here's to a hopeful 2008!

    (Sorry, I got caught up in the whirlwind.)

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  2. Jimmy, I love your optimism. Have a wonderful 2008! I can;t wait to read all about it!

    Shash

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  3. Bravo Jimmy! And Kristen I agree with you too: "The most important thing we can do is be the kind of person we ought to be."

    I think it's time for the soft mild mannered majority to make their voices heard about the racket of the flamboyant few.

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  4. Ahhh Jimmy,'tis what you write holds a scary truth yes?
    That is why, I hold on tightly to what optimism I can muster...to make it to the next day without so much as a grumble. Gotta, its all I got.

    There is so much that I wish for, and in my own truth, I dont see it happening within my life time. Yet I continue on, as many do, in hopes that someday ,after much turmoil, that it can heal along the way.
    Unrealistic? Mayhap...

    Jimmy-to you my friend, Here is to a New Year...trudging along, may we find some peace, some serenity and some Joy.
    Peace
    Jodi

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  5. Gaboatman9:40 AM

    Jimmy
    When you're right, you're right! Wishing you a very Happy New Year, my friend! All the best to you and your family in 2008!
    Sam

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  6. I think 2008 will give a few more mouth-dropping incidents, but in many ways, it has to be so much better! I hope your musical career is the best!

    Jackie

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  7. Jimmy,

    Now ya got me thinkin bout my grammar an spellin an stuff....How'm I s'posed to interject my personality w/o my creative use of misspelling?

    Seriously!

    Mark Twain may be annoyed by you...but of course, I'm not. You're right (note how nicely I put my apostrophe in the proper place while simultaneously giving it proper usage...I soooooo rawk!)

    Give the newer writers and sleepless ones (like me) a break on our less than perfect use of this broken language!

    BTW...I love your use of *ungood*. The way you phrase it also soooo totally rawks!

    Everything else...sad to say...I agree with.

    Does anyone have a really substantial thought out there? Well besides you Jimmy. You are my antidot to an unfeeling world.

    May your 2008 totally rawk despite your inability to stop thinking and enjoy it!

    Happy Freakin New Year!

    Tressa (St0rmswhisper@aol.com)

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  8. THank you for the kind words and putting it so perfectly! Wishing you the same...and did you know, that the post was inspired by you a very very long time ago...

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  9. Anonymous1:08 PM

    I agree with you wholeheartedly! It's time for a different barrel. The only other thing I can add is that the lack of use of too is just as irritating as those who don't use you're!
    Jude
    http://journals.aol.com/jmorancoyle/MyWay

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  10. Hi Jimmy,
    I agree ... we seem to have hit rock bottom as a country last year in terms of world events. I don't really count the ridiculous Paris/Britney/Lyndsey stories. Let's hope for a better '08! Happy New Year!
    Best,
    Marty

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  11. Kristen, I liked your whirlwind. I think we just have to face life like this: be aggravated by the maniacs around you, but don't emulate them. Do the right thing as you see it, no?

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  12. Mamma, make your voice team up with a few of the voices in here, and we'd be off to a great start

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  13. It scares me that the world could get worse. I don't even want to think about how that would be. Gee, and on that depressing note...Happy New Year! :)

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  14. grr...Hillary...ick!!!!
    so far 2008 has been off to a bad start in my home!!!! wishing it get better

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  15. Anonymous4:41 PM

    Hi Jimmy! Have you ever thought of writing a column for a newspaper? You should! I'd love to see this in our local paper!
    Because of my job, I'm really realizing how people just don't use their brains! It is very apparent where I work. Of course, it's a much smaller scale than you are talking about...but it's been such a wake up call for me.
    Take it easy this year. Focus on your little girls and try to have some fun with them.
    Love ya,
    Pam xoxox

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  16. Oh how you remind me of the world we live in...uggh!
    But you are so right on!

    I love your analogy of the political process, with taking out the can of stinky kitchen garbage to be replaced with the neighbors stinky garbage.
    Brilliant!
    I'm one that likes to put my head in the sand and ignore the idiots but maybe it's time to step up and try and make a difference somehow.
    You always get my little brain thinking!
    Thanks! :)

    Michele

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  17. Brilliant!

    I'm voting for you in '08, I just am.

    :)

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  18. Great post. I absolute shiver is disgust and fear at the thought of Hillary winning in '08 and can only hope (and well it does look hopefuly from those who simply resonded here and from friends/family IRL who I know their thoughts on this) she does not win, just what we need "another" Clinton administation...a whole new set of scandal.


    I'm definitely with you on the grammer, punctuation, etc. It's a huge pet peave of mine. I know I make mistakes when writing in my own blog at times, although I do often try to proof read, use spell check, etc but sometimes I still miss it. What I want to know is did people ever pay attention in English or was it simply not taught to them? What gets me the most is when I see the errors in a published piece, that to me is absolutely rediculous.

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  19. Here! Here! Only, I always capitalize Hope...my favourite word.

    Speaking of ungood words...did you hear? That sound and motion made when one is feeling particularly enthusiastic actually made the dictionary (one word among several completely assenine w(e)inners)...woot...as in...hands up, WOOT! WOOT! I can't even enjoy that any more...bleh. ;) C.

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