At some point in the last year I realized that age had caught up with me in the most superficially hurtful way; I left the key demographic. What I value, like, want, and need is no longer relevant to mass marketers. All of the music I like is relegated to classical and oldies stations. A solid majority of the people I interact with on a daily basis aren’t completely sure what I mean when I say “roll up the window.” A frighteningly large minority of the people I interact with believe that “dial up” is a charming relic of my (long ago) early years.
Worse, the knowledge deficit is bilateral. It wasn’t long ago (perhaps yesterday, or maybe last week) that I thought my father slow because he didn’t know what “bad” or “cool” meant. But it was only yesterday (perhaps a month ago, or maybe last year) that I learned what the term meme described. And now, firmly entrenched in the social networks as I am, the concept of meme is painfully unavoidable. A meme is a concept that goes viral, meaning that the number of people the concept is reaching is growing at an exponential rate (like an infectious virus). It is immediately evident that such growth is very good indeed if one (like a blogger) is trying to get their idea into the public consciousness.
To follow on the enlightened views of the supporters of California Proposition 8, and the Godly statements of Focus on the Family, the following memo has been written to ensure that no good Christians burn for their ignorance of the consequences of sex.
Marriage is for procreation only…so all good Christians widowed or divorced who have either passed the age for child-bearing or have no Godly intention to mate, must immediately stop any and all activities relating to dating or courtship, as these actions can only lead to an unholy union.
Also, as marriage is the only appropriate state for sexual union, all good Christians fitting the above description must immediately accept lifelong abstinence. If you are currently, or have in the past violated these rules…seek pastoral intervention immediately or risk burning in Hell.
The Rational Middle hopes this clarifies a difficult spiritual issue, that has obviously been clouded by Godless atheists and homosexuals. Good day.
Since the founding of this blog, a little less than four years ago now, the term liberal has been both major theme and point of contention. The fact that I chose to call the site The Rational Middle and be a liberal at the same time has drawn fire from conservatives and centrists (in today’s definition of that term) who have felt somehow tricked or trapped by the moniker. This I have grown accustomed to; I wanted to establish a site built more on original source reporting, and less on name-calling than other destinations in either the blogosphere or mainstream. I wanted to build a rational middle ground…thus the name.
Lately however, many in the liberal community have begun to attack the site and its themes, and the attack has a familiar pattern. For several years now, the conservative movement in general, and the Republican Party in particular, have waged “purity” wars. In Republican primary circles, to be called a RINO (Republican in name only) is to see the end of your public service career. On the surface, the notion of ideological purity carries a certain cache; it is, “those people” would say, the reason that conservatives have so successfully pushed the political standards of we the people so far to the right (whether the actual standards have followed suit is a matter of debate.) But what of reality? Why have so many items deemed important by voters been excised over the last thirty years? Why have so many bought the brand “center-right nation”, and installed it as believable?
The Rational Middle today makes the natural progression from the insane to the sublimely stupid, as my depression of last week is turned to blunt astonishment by events local, national, and international.
Around The World
Afghanistan’s U.S. installed puppet leader (it would really be more appropriate to call him the Governor of Kabul, as Afghanistan lies outside of the Western views of nation-state) has apparently decided that it is politically expedient to not be friends with the United States. I guess I don’t blame the man, when we leave there will be a healthy number of folks ready to settle scores with Karzai, but is it really advisable to be so overtly belligerent?
In the depths of an Illinois winter determined to make up for last year’s snowless wonderland, my depression is prompting questions of a profound nature. So what sits at the front of the philosophy parade? A simple set of questions: can America survive a brave new culture led by shows like Amish Mafia and The Real Housewives of Wherever? Is reality truly as unreal as reality TV purports to show? Is our nation’s culture now defined by the lowest common denominator? I’m not so sure.
When I speak with friends, colleagues, and online connections, I get the feeling that the person on the other side of the conversation is normal (by my definition). They tend to have real families, and those families tend to have what for me is a familiar amount of drama and conflict. I have never met an analog for Honey Boo Boo, and have had blessedly few encounters with anyone who might appear on a shoreline in Jersey. The entertainment enjoyed by a culture, in theory, is a reflection of that culture, but I can’t see any evidence that the cornucopia of production houses working to fill endless cable channels with content are reflecting anything real.
I thought I was fairly savvy about most items of a political or economic bent; I read a great deal about the topics from a wide array of sources, and I try to keep up with the math. But I just can’t fathom what’s going on right now that has so many people in such a snit. For the better part of five years, I have read op/eds, watched the Sunday sit-arounds, and listened to the nearly nightly ablutions of the Very Serious People, all centered on the the absolute screaming necessity of:
Getting this spending under control, and practicing a little fiscal discipline!!
Now I know that Republicans, for three consecutive sessions of Congress (they controlled the House, Senate, and White House during that time), spent money like the proverbial profligate sailors…that much is clear. Republicans diverged from Democrats under Obama (who saw tax revenues fall due to job losses, and automatic spending raise as the newly jobless put their kids on Medicaid, and registered for unemployment and food stamps.) For the years between 2000 and 2007, conservatives intentionally poured money into their favorite pet defense programs, and intentionally lowered revenues in two giveaways called, collectively, the “Bush Tax Cuts”, giveaways that largely benefited Americans in the upper third of income earners.