Thursday, March 20, 2008

Old Guy Rant

-You know, as time marches on in my life, I wonder if things in this country/world are ever going to get better. And I wonder if my generation doesn't shoulder much of the blame. The main reason I wonder is that it seems every time one turns around we find a story in the news that presents us with the undeniable fact that a growing percentage of our fellow humans only care about themselves... and not much else. And I think it might have begun when people of my age were turning into adults.

Can mass murders be anything but an effort to call attention to one's own problems with the world before checking out? Can we see the politicians on TV without getting the idea that they're in it more for personal glory than changing the world for the better? Aren't most of our young people more interested in how to make themselves look and feel better, and personal amusement than anything else?

I'm not saying all people are this way, but do you want to argue with me that the percentages aren't higher than say, 20 years ago? 50 years ago? Places of worship struggle to relate to the younger audience and, as a result, to stay open. Civic and charitable organizations that depend on volunteers are hard pressed to stay afloat. Fraternal groups that help to improve our communities in many ways, such as the Elks, Moose, Lions, and others like them, can't get young people involved to save their lives.

If my observations are accurate, and of course I think they are, I have to wonder what has allowed this slippery slope to develop. Is it the erosion of the traditional family and it's values? Are we over-exposed to attractive, but destructive, lifestyles in the media? Aren't our heroes more about self-agrandizement than doing good in the world? When I say heroes, I mean the ones in sports and entertainment that are most prominent on the channels watched by the under-20 crowd.

You may read this and say, "It's no different now than when you were a kid." But I don't think so. We've had at least 5 college campus murders...two of the mass variety...just in the last few months. I don't remember ever hearing a story like that when I was a kid. Ever. The preponderance of situations in the news where a person has resolved a dispute by killing someone else is not an occasional thing anymore. It's become a daily headcount. Please count the number of murders in your local newspaper or on the 10 o'clock news for a few days and tell me that I'm misreading the situation.

All of these things, in my mind, come from the mistaken notion that many believe themselves to be the real center of the universe. All things begin and end with ourselves, and our wants and needs. Maybe, just maybe, we baby-boomers screwed things up for good with the 60's rebelliousness and where things progressed from there. If so, I would hope we can get things turned around, at least a little, for those we leave to take care of things.

nar·cis·sism /ˈnɑrsəˌsɪzɛm/Pronunciation[nahr-suh-siz-em] –noun
1.inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.
2.Psychoanalysis. erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.
nar·cis·sis·tic, nar·cis·tic, adjective
—Synonyms 1. self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism.

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