It’s been about six months since my last post. While some of my most loyal readers here locally have been pushing, poking and prodding me to once more tap out some posts, several readers out of state and out of country have written me to see if I had gravitated to a higher plane of existence. I can assure you that I have neither gotten any more intelligent nor have I shrugged off this mortal coil. There have been two separate distinct reasons for my recent lack of productivity.
The first of these is purely technical. A while back, my laptop encountered its mandatory period of planned obsolescence and died, despite all efforts to resuscitate it. Well, the Vista operating system which ran it was never considered one of Microsoft’s best efforts – but we had come to a rapprochement and were quite comfortable with each other. The new laptop runs on the latest and greatest operating system, Windows 10 (or so we’re told so that we will purchase whatever is being touted as the latest and greatest as though we are mindless, unthinking and programmable laboratory rats – which many of us are). Well, latest and greatest, in my experience, usually means, at the least, making many adjustments and at the worst means feeling as though one has a limited cerebral capacity caused by oxygen deprivation while in the womb. I found my experience with Windows 10 to more closely approximate the second of those two alternatives.
Of course, the very lovely (Microsoft) blog program that I had been using for years is NO LONGER SUPPORTED in Windows 10. So there was that as well – considering that the new SUPPORTED blogging program is glitchy and a pain in the neck to use with far fewer features and more hoops through which a person must jump. This is what the left defines as “progress” – hence the misnomer, Progressivism.
It seems to me that complicating what should be something that is otherwise a simple thing to do is at the core of what Progressives consider their job creation plan. After all, if a task can be accomplished easily by a single individual in a short period of time, how detrimental is that to the economy? And how much better to so complicate the procedure that it can only be accomplished by involving three or four people, and then getting a questionable result only after a long period of time has elapsed? That is why we are now teaching children how to do simple math problems involving the addition of two, two digit numbers and require a three page explanation of how this is to be done. (Frankly, I am not surprised that school kids are in such despair at this convolution that they simply pull out their cell phones, go to the calculator function, input the numbers and get the correct result – never learning how to add those two numbers using only their brains).
Despite the amount of time I have devoted to the technical challenges I encountered which disincentivized my posting for this extended period, this actually was the lesser of the two reasons for my absence. The greater one is all the blathering noise that we pass off as “news”.
I probably started twenty or more posts during the past six months – yet I never quite completed any of them. In part that was owing to the technical difficulties enumerated above – but more significantly I attribute this to the fact that before I finished tackling one “news story,” another one of equal triviality diverted my attention from completing it. And when I say, “trivial” that is my sense of most of what seems to occupy our interest.
We the people seem to be so occupied with identifying the trees that we ignore the fact that there is a massive forest in front of us. And we have no better ally in this than the news and social media.
While I have no answer to the reason that our news sources act as they do and report as they will in a verbal and visual portrayal of the classic chicken/egg conundrum – that is to say do they shape the viewpoint of their viewers or do their viewers’ viewpoints determine their choice of content in search of ratings – it is remarkable that when any story breaks, the collective “news media” act like a school of piranhas attacking an unfortunate alpaca who is strayed into their feeding grounds. And when they have finished gorging themselves, they all swim off in search of a new victim.
I can’t help remembering coming home from school after either struggling on a test or being the subject of a classmate’s insult and feeling sorry for myself, spilling my guts to my father and listening to his wise counsel (after he instructed me that if I only had studied harder I would have gotten a better result or explaining that people who made fun of other people were “very small kids” who would, in all likelihood wind up being “very small grownups” and then concluded his lecture with the statement, “What will it all matter in one hundred years.” The same may be said of most of what we are exposed to and absorb as being “newsworthy”.
My realization that posting on subjects that were absolutely trivial, while it might entertain some, was probably beneath the intellectual level of my readers and would require a forced effort on my part as I find most of it to be exceptionally boring and unimportant. So I took a sabbatical from which I have now returned. But if I may express my viewpoint for this period, it might best be described in the first few lines of John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale,” a poem that I recited for a high school senior public speaking event:
MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk.
Well, I’ve promised myself that I am going to try to re-establish my former cheery, optimistic self. But I know that if I am not fully successful, what will it all matter in one hundred years?