Americans don’t like intellectuals. Americans distrust the academia. We call the valedictorian a nerd. We venerate the captain of the football team or the college drop out who starts working. Its how we’re wired and its what makes us great. Americans don’t look to books for answers they look to action. We want have a distortion field about what has failed and think, “not when I do it, its going to work”. Its our exact lack of traditional value on degrees that makes us great.
We’re a nation of non-understanding, non-thinkers who learn and succeed by doing.
Academics will lament our dropping math and science scores but there is no direct correlation between a countries level of education and its economic well being. Is Finland rich? Is Sweden an economic power? How about Canada? Or even the disciplinarian Japanese? Nope - stagnant for over a decade. Those top educated countries are wealthy but not gang busting super growth nations? The grow this coming from countries hustling and unleashing risk takers.
Its like Crash said to Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham, “Don’t think, just pitch” - meaning take action and stop studying. The try and error of action has more value than the $100,000 degree you Gert in History.
As usual I take lots of inspiration for sports. In sports if your team is stuck in the middle of the standings you are screwed. You end up neither good enough for a championship but you are paying players veteran salaries. In sports you either want to be young and very cheap or old and competing for the championship. Everything in the middle doomed. Just ask fans of the Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Hawks, Knicks fans or Arsenal.
Same applies to society. I’m calling the middle out. Its the middle class of United States that holding things down. We’re bloated, entitled and expensive. We complain but are too content with out little slice of the action to do anything. We anxiety ridden, we buy things to try and feel better to quell our fears.
The middle is the problem. Not rich enough to stimulate, not poor enough to help and too content (or scared) to do anything. The middle is anxious and steps away from catastrophe.
Harsh, but true. In sports you blow up the team and start over. What does that mean in society?
People love fur. It looks cool, it feels good and for Chrissakes, there is nothing wrong with killing a few abundant animals. Humans have lived on this planet for thousands of years wearing fur. Then in the last 30 years everyone started getting bent outta shape about wearing fur. What the hell! Maybe just maybe modernity is wrong!
"I’m going to start a dating blog called “Just the tip"
— Lisa Graves (my wife)
Talking about writing is what I focus on because its the “art” that I “do”. However, its not for everyone. Some people will never read, or post, or think of writing anything. That’s fine. I urge that you find a medium and produce something.
At its core, art is a gift. We give something of ourselves into the world without anything in return. We hope that someone is listening, consuming or needing what we are giving. Art can be anything. An hour of your time, a great meal for friends, photo graphs of your day all can be art. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Its the gifting of ourselves that gives us fulfillment and binds us to each other.
Society is based on gifts. Kings gave gifts in the form of feasts and protection, in return peasants gave the gifts of loyalty.
I give the gifts of what is on my mind by writing, I don’t expect anything in return. What gifts do you give? What new gifts will you give this year?
I thought about this today…. every comment and thoughtful conversation you’ve had on Facebook is now… well, owned by Facebook. With that in mind, I am going to post a comment I made on Facebook here.
My old summer camp friend Nakia asks and posts interesting politically themed items on her Facebook wall. I enjoy commenting on them because 1. She responds 2. The other commentors (people I don’t know) make intelligent comments 3. While we are both New Yorkers, she’s black and well, I’m not. (more on the black/white thing on another post)
Anyway…. she posted on how she was pissed off at Melissa Harris Perry of MSNBC fame for discussing Mitt Romeny and “white privilege” Nakia made the GREAT comment that
“The American people have been voting in these privileged, out-of-touch politicians for decades now. Let’s be clear, we have all helped to create this problem.”
I thought thank God someone is saying something! We all have to take responsibility! My actually quote was:
It’s been a great misdirection for decades. (the misdirection being, getting people to vote against their interests) People vote with their hearts and not in their own best interests. Not being funny but is abortion really an issue we should choose politicians over? Is whether a person is or isn’t a Christian really a politically important topic? Americans have been swindled and duped into voting for issues that actually don’t matter. Its amazing we get anything done at all. No one is accountable form their own political education. No one actually knows what power a congressman or senator can actually wield. There is a complete disconnect between those doing the governing and the governed.
Thoughts? Comments? Punches in the Face?