Except for the fact that it got cold again, today was a pretty good day. The sun was in and out of the clouds and it was very windy, but it still had the look of Spring. Margaret (who helps me with shopping and cleaning courtesy of the Office for the Aging) was here and helped me put up the new bird feeders. Didn't have a wide variety of visitors, but there's one little goldfinch who spent most of the afternoon eating non stop. Even the wind didn't deter her. So I took lots of pictures of her and a couple of sparrows and a tufted titmouse and even a couple of hummingbirds. Not good pictures of the hummingbirds, but pictures. I'm not sure my new feeder for them is set right so that they can actually get the sugar water, so I may just be cruelly teasing them until Margaret comes again next week. That kind of stuff is the worst part of being me, but it's who I am, so I have to live with it. You, if you are kind enough to visit, have to live with gazillions of photos and my thoughts on things. I'm torn tonight between a Neale Donald Walsh/god post and my own ideas and alas, for you, I think I'm going with myself.
So I've been spending too much time at Huffington Post again and one of the aspects of HP is that the "I hate Obama, he is an evil self-serving socialist Muslim" crowd hang out saying hateful things. As do plenty of others. But the thing I want to talk about is something I call "Toxic Cynicism." I've written about this before because I think its a chronic disease in the American psyche and system. In my view it started after Watergate when two things happened. First, a piece of our national innocence was lost. But more importantly, something terrible happened to our news media. Journalists all wanted to be the next Woodward and Bernstein and they thought that the way to do this was - instead of searching for truth - to search for lies. So our public discourse, became all about catching lies on the theory that this is a pathway to truth. But it isn't. It's a pathway to an unrelenting cynicism that trusts no one and nothing. It actually diminishes our ability to recognize truth because we trust nothing. Which makes us oddly vulnerable to snake oil salesmen and to a capacity to rob ourselves of the pleasure available in any good news we do get.
This is particularly evident right now in the media and public response to the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Cynics question whether it really happened. They view conflicting stories in early reports as signs of conspiracy. (Ever heard the story of the blind men describing an elephant?) A presidential visit to families impacted by 9/11 can only be political grand-standing. The timing is too convenient. The list goes on and on. We have been through 3 years where something as absurd as 25% of our citizens doubt the citizenship of the President based on absurd nonsense. This last, of course is fed by racism and fear, but also by the poison of cynicism that is poured into our ears every time we listen to the news. We inhale it by osmosis and it is very, very toxic.
I first became aware of it in myself probably 20 years ago or more. I was listening to a "good news" story about somebody doing something nice and I heard this very not me voice in my head whispering, "ha, I wonder what's in it for them." That really isn't me. Except that it is now because some part of me has soaked it in without being consciously aware of doing so. This is partly because it is so profoundly pervasive. Listen to the way even the least awful of our news media covers stories. They aren't aware of it themselves. A relatively benign example: The President goes to church. News coverage would be that statement. Coverage in our society involves opining about whether he's trying to prove he's not a Muslim, questioning the integrity of the President's faith, or talking about all the people who question it.... Politicians - my bias is showing here, but particularly those in the Regressive Party - question the patriotism of those who disagree with them. There isn't room for sincere disagreement, only evil plots and diabolical cynicism. I could rant on and on about this, but I'll leave it here and go on to posting an absurd number of photos of birds and my gratitude list.
|I know this is a flub, but I like it.|
|Another really bad far-away hummingbird try...|
- Angel and Tara Grace
- my new bird feeders
- my neighbor's bird feeder
- tufted titmice (tit mouses?)
- greedy goldfinches
- turkey vultures in flight
- my camera
- my computer
- a clothes dryer
- zero balance on my credit cards
- more flowers in my back yard
- a sun room on the back of the house
- $5,000/week for life from PCH
- paid off mortgage
- a truckload of money
- a Bose sound system
- freshly painted living and bedroom walls
- winning lottery numbers
- my nieces, my nephew and their families
- my friends
- strawberry banana yogurt smoothies
- coffee and International Delight
- my Tibetan salt lamps
- my mattress
- my TV
- soap operas (even though they are really terrible)
- President Obama
- that I can still sort of walk
- indoor plumbing
WISHING YOU A MAGICAL DAY!