September 5, 2017

A must-read post from blogger Ace at Ace of Spades HQ about how we seem to have gone from a country who just 70-odd years ago could storm the beaches at Normandy to a place where college students need “safe zones” with stuffed animals and Playdoh for whenever someone triggers them with a Trump sign or something that happens to offend their fragile psyches and sensitivities. Clearly, we’ve become a nation enslaved to our smart phones and social media, to the point where the word “saturation” doesn’t do the word justice and we’re brain-damaged because of it.

Case in point: I’m standing in line at a Dutch Bros Coffee stand on Monday while the twins await their medium iced white chocolate mochas with extra whip cream. There’s contemporary synth-pop blaring out of the speakers, and I’m the only one standing in line who isn’t either tattooed or using their smart phones as a extension of their physical bodies. A young, attractive couple in front of me is communicating with each other through their smart phones. Neither is saying a word to each other, they’re just texting each other and laughing over whatever it is they’re texting. That’s what it has come to. Back in my day you’d, like, converse with each other, y’know?

I know I sound like an old fogey here, but when I told the twins I felt like a dinosaur everyone just laughed – good naturedly, of course. Which is fine. But there is a more serious undercurrent running through this – and especially when it comes to politics. My God, you’d think the election of Donald Trump has been the absolute end of the world. CNN and MSNBC run 24/7 with every kind of conspiracy theory you can imagine; no wonder every snowflake liberal thinks that Trump is about to be impeached (he’s not) or about to resign because of the latest explosive developments in Robert Mueller’s Russia probe (there aren’t any). And I think Ace is spot-on when he writes that while it’s just the drive-bys trying to rile folks up for ratings purposes and furthering they’re own hateful, Beltway elitist agendas, it’s also damaging to our country’s collective psyches and how it’s important to turn it all off and, y’know, find a life:

That’s why it’s important, I think, to cultivate a hobby, an interest, a charitable endeavor, a group with shared passions where you can exert some control. Sure, you won’t be exerting control over the things you maybe wish you could control, but you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing your efforts slowly work to achieve something tangible, real, and good.

Haven’t read in a while? Start reading. Lotta good books out there. Some of the best are like One Hundred Years old and so are even free on Kindle (or 99 cents, just for the converstion).

Thinking about getting some GAINZZZ? Well, get some GAINZZZ.

Haven’t picked up the guitar since you were 20? Pick it up again. (I’m told the amount of free and expert instruction now available on the internet for learning music is fantastic.)

Thinking about starting some activity the whole family can do? Stop thinking, start doing.

I think it’s very helpful to have some areas in your life where you are challenged, and yet you can overcome those challenges through effort. A bit of control in one area might make all the difference.

Ace is also right about the dangers of social media, the need of folks to be seen as important or influential by tweeting stuff or posting stuff on Facebook simply to garner folowers – something they’ve obviously been unable to do in their own meager existences.

What is the damn advantage of that? What are the first reports besides garbage, inaccuracies, #FakeNews, and #HotTakes?

Why would anyone on earth every want to read something about major news (and note: 99% of news is not major, even in the Age of Trump, when everything is shrieked about) that the writer didn’t even take four or six hours to think about first?

For purposes of my job, I should want to be among the First to Know.

On the other hand, for purposes of my mental health, I kinda like being Among the Last to Know. Time acts as a good sieve to filter out most of the the noise and stupidity — and Dear Lord, there is so much grunting animal noise and stupid clamor nowadays.

Life is short, guys. No one ever realizes how short life is until they’re looking at having only days or weeks of it left.

Tune out the lunatics, filter out the hate, embrace things that matter, and try to get off the white-knuckled machine of anxiety, fear, depression, and hopelessness Your Media Betters have made for you.

If not for the mainstream media’s continuous focus on the negative, I wouldn’t even know we had so much to be afraid of in my not-so-small town. Maybe it’s just my own perception at not going out much beyond the supermarket or the pizza join down the street, but it seems to me that the folks in my area seem to get along quite well regardless of race, sex, culture, and religion. Sure, you have the bad apples here just like you would have in any community, but 25 protesters marching in support of DACA doesn’t make for an uprising. When Bill O’Reilly left FOX News I gave up cable news of all kinds up, with the exception of FOX’s Saturday night lineup of Judge Jeannine, Greg Gutfeld, and Watters’ World are fun to watch. Like most folks increasingly, I instead choose what internet sites I get my news and info from (it’s a wider variety than I bet y’all think!), and figure I have the God-given brains to recognize what’s important and useful, and what is total bullshit. And there’s a lot of that out there!

To be honest, the only time I’ll watch TV anymore is Golf Channel or switching between the MLB Network, Golf Channel and Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” on Friday night. The other nights of the week I’m reading – primarily fiction (James Lee Burke‘s Dave Robicheaux series and Randy Wayne White‘s Doc Ford series are current faves), or just sitting out on the patio and enjoying a quiet Pinot Grigio or two or three before calling it a night.

And you know what? I’ve found out I don’t miss the TV. We’re it not for golf and baseball, I probably wouldn’t even own one. At nearly 62 years of age I don’t need to be caught up on what’s hot in pop culture or listen to someone commenting on the political divisions that run in our country these days. I’ve been around long enough to know what I know, believe what I believe, and take everything one day at a time because it can all go “poof!” in the blink of an eye. To immerse myself in social media would tell me I don’t really have a life, and last time I checked I do. It would be better for us as a country if many others would do the same, but the social media genie is out of the bottle and that’s just the way these times are. It’s just unfortunate that it’s turning young people into a bunch of snowflake zombies who never learned to think or speak for themselves.

Heaven help all of us if they were ever called to storm some beach thousands of miles away in defense of this country.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:35 | Comments Off on Ace Is Base
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