When in Doubt, Dance
I'll be turning 50 very soon. I've been practicing owning that age for a few months so it won't be so traumatic when it actually happens.
As I contemplate a half-century on this very strange planet, I think about the cultural snapshot of now, what that looks like, and how I feel about it.
Here's where I stand.
I love Gangnam Style. Recently a CNN Blogger declared Gangnam Style over and dead. I think he's wrong. Gangnam Style makes the whole world dance together. Who cares if the dance is silly?
Honey Boo Boo who? I don't watch broadcast TV, so I only see snippets of stupidity. But, apparently, there is plenty of stupidity to go around. I still like Glee, which I watch on Hulu. I'm also watching The Voice, but was bored with blind auditions - 16 team members per coach seem just too much. And, as usual, the Brits do TV better than we do; Dr. Who was terrific this season.
My favorite adult cartoons are getting grosser and grosser. Vomit and dismemberment just aren't funny. Politics and religion are. Don't forget why I first loved you, Seth MacFarlane!
The new SNL cast is pretty good. I am expecting great things from Vanessa Bayer, and then I am expecting her to be over-used and worn-out, just as Kristen Wiig was.
Right now, the Western world is mourning the tragic deaths of two young girls. Jessica Ridgeway was the victim of kidnap and murder in Colorado, while Amanda Todd took her own life in Canada, a victim of bullying. I guess really sad things have always happened to kids and there have always been monsters in the world; the internet just makes sure we all know about them.
The presidential race is too close to call, with each side terrified that awful things will happen if the other candidate is elected. What a weird national mindset that is. We are ideologically divided. The Tea Party and Occupy extremists seem to have lost their credibility, but that hasn't brought us closer to center, or to each other, as a nation yet. One thing we all agree on - the government has lost its way. We are only divided on what we need to do to fix it.
It has been a long time since there was a national mandate in a presidential election. According to my research, it would have been 1984, when Ronald Reagan was re-elected by a landslide. At the time, I was not a Reagan supporter. In retrospect, I think he and Nancy did a good job in certain respects. The funny thing is that his policies (that many of us considered too right-wing then) now wouldn't be enough to win him the support of the current Republican party, so far to the right has the GOP moved.
I never thought I would say this, but we could sure use a guy like Reagan right now. Doesn't that make me sound old?
But how long can a nation stand so evenly divided, so angry, and so afraid?
The only answer I can think of? Oppan Gangnam Style! When in doubt, dance.
I guess things haven't changed so much over the past quarter century. Then I was seeing as many Grateful Dead shows as I could, always hoping to hear my favorite songs, including this one (Throwin' Stones), whose lyrics described the situation then just as it feels now.
"So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down."