Saturday, January 21, 2012

Random Thoughts On Going Insane

The Repug campaign has taken on all the aspects of a carnival nightmare, complete with gargoyles, spooky clowns, and a musical sound track by Saint Saens or Maurice Ravel. As I watch it unfold from day to day, the one thing about it that I look forward to is its shock and awe quality as a perversion of entertainment--its appeal to the baser instincts.

It's as if the entire American audience is massing nightly to witness a hideous traffic accident, to applaud and cheer at the sight of crunched metal, smoke and fire, severed limbs and decapitations. Thus, as one after another candidate breathes his or her last gasp and drops out, having spent millions for a brief star performance in what appears to be less a presidential campaign than a Jerry Springer reality show, I can't help but feel a little--how can I say it?--a little let down. A sinking feeling, like watching the air leak out of a cut tire. First Michele Bachman, now Rick Perry. Romney may be next. Gosh, I'm gonna miss all those crazy loons. But hey, Santorum's still in. And Ron (Let 'em die) Paul--God bless him! And look--is that Herman Cain peeking up from the swamp? Bless you, Stephen Colbert. There's hope for this thing, yet. But I do wish Trump would come back. At least Donald knew what it was really all about.

Meanwhile, it seems that Facebook is making people sad. Yes, it's true. According to some university studies--one from Stanford, for instance--people who spend a lot of time on Facebook tend on average to be unhappier with life and have a vague sense that life is not fair. Gee, I'm not on Facebook, and somehow I already knew that life wasn't fair. Well, I guess the Facebook people are not looking at life in quite the same way that I am.

At any rate, it seems that the more time one spends looking at hundreds of one's friends, near-friends, pseudo-friends, friends from the past, friends from the future, associates and pseudo-associates, one begins to get depressed. The reason for that is that finally, one can only take so much of: "Gee, look at me, look at my smiling face, look how happy and successful I am. See me playing, see me with my dog, see me on vacation, dining out, partying down with my friends, living it up. See me, see me, see me. . . ." The whole thing it turns out apparently gives off a false impression. So you begin to compare yourself. You begin to feel less happy and more like a miserable, pathetic excuse for a human being, compared with all those legions of leering grinning people. The same study showed that those who actually spend time with other real people out in the world, instead of vicariously sucking up pseudo-friendship on the web, tend to have a happier, or at least, a more realistic outlook on life.


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