The difference between ignorance and Apathy; I don’t know and I don’t care

2009 May 28

By Sebastian Melmouth

Boy, I’m lazy.

Intellectually lazy.

And I cannot decide whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

And I cannot decide why.

But I do know that not being able to decide is not just a symptom, but a bigger problem.

I cannot even write (or think) in paragraphs. Just statements. Fragments even.

I’m going to blame it on the media (even if that is the lazy, easy way.)

I get 90 percent of my “news” from the Huffingtonpost, MSNBC, Jon Stewart and Colbert.

I’m about as far left as an American can get without being arrested (and sometimes, I even go further left than that.)

HuffPost and MSNBC is my echo chamber. For the most part, they regurgitate back what I think and don’t challenge me. I think I’d like to be challenged, but there’s no opposition. Everybody on the right who has a voice is nuts. Certifiably. It’s not that I think their right-wing views make them nuts, but that their arguments are illogical and not grounded in reality. (I won’t bother demonstrating this – not just because I’m lazy, but because Olbermann, Stewart and Colbert and The Daily Beast do a fine job. I cannot add anything.)

I used to read George Will and Newt Gingrich and William Buckley. O where have all the conservative thinkers gone? And do you remember William Kristol before he went crazy? When he used to make sense? And you could have an argument or a debate? (Alas, this week he defends Dick Cheney, calling him the “most valuable Republican.”)

Over my lifetime, I’ve picked up nuggets that make up my moral code. My Personal Ten Commandments. One of them (they are not numbered) came from F.Scott Fitzgerald. I don’t remember when or in what context, but I try to live by it. “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” Perhaps he was talking about the compulsion to write, but I think this is a good code. Too many people out there, (or, I guess, out here in the blogosphere) just write because they want to say something. They scream into the void merely to validate their meaningless existence. (They need something to validate themselves once they graduate their high school drama departments.)

In recent years, I’ve discovered this as one of Buddhism’s ten non-virtues: Senseless Chatter.

So, what is there to say? Why am I writing/speaking/thinking?

Especially when you consider that I don’t believe that we need another voice doing this. I belive that there are too many voices out there. Sorry. But there, I said it.

Why? It’s the media’s fault.

Editors. Newspapers. The Internet.

It used to be that you had to get by the gatekeepers to be published. Most morons couldn’t get their stupid ideas into the public domain because paper and ink were expensive and we paid editors to read all the stupid letters and decide which were worth the print. And then there was talk radio. Hours to fill and cheap to fill it – open up the phone lines and let them babble. And then, the internet. No paper or ink constraints. Anyone with access can “Post a comment.” So much drivel. I have read a million “comments” in the past year and have never, never, ever found one to be illuminating.

So, we’re all participants now. And Jefferson’s grand experiment continues to devolve. With every passing day we get closer to some sort of Athenian democracy and every day we die a little more. The masses shouldn’t get a say. They shouldn’t get a vote. State legislatures should be selecting our US Senators and delegates to the electoral college, not Joe the Plumber. My next door neighbor is an idiot. So is yours. And yours. And you. We know nothing about tax policy. And financial regulations. Whether we should be bailing out the banks, or the auto industry or unemployed workers. We know nothing. And that’s not meant to be judgmental. It’s not our area of expertise. Yet we are in charge. How the hell am I supposed to know whether we should close Gitmo, release the torture photos or fund high speed trains? And I’m probably one of the most informed of our citizenry. I probably know more about government and politics than 95 percent of the country and I’m an idiot.

And lazy. Because it just doesn’t matter. What we have in this country is pro and con. Not just progressive and conservative, but for and against. If Dems are for it, Repubs are against. Dems say the sky is blue; Repubs say it is red. If Repubs say the sky is blue, Dems say it is red. Right and wrong are irrelevant. If you disagree with the president, you are un-American, say the Repubs of 2008. If you don’t disagree with the president, you are un-American, say the Repubs of 2009. Filibustering the president’s nominee is un-American in 2008. Not filibustering the president’s nominee is un-American in 2009. We don’t torture says Bush in 2006, 2007, 2008. Yes we did, says Cheney in 2009. We are the party of law and order, says Republicans in 2008. We think there shouldn’t be prosecutions of those that broke the law, they say in 2009.

Day after day after day, the absolute hypocrisy is shown over and over and over. But it doesn’t matter. You are either for or against, with us or against us. And all we can really do is sit on the sidelines and cheer our side on.

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