Do Americans have a sense of humor? Some days I think not… or if we do, it’s about at the level of a 10-year-old boy.
Is there a comedian today that can match what Lenny Bruce was doing when he was alive?
Is everything so fractured and specific (gay humor, black humor, fat humor, schlub humor, looser humor, mean humor, woman humor, etc.) that it’s impossible to have a national sense of anything?
Do people need to have an enemy to get their competitive juices going? If we don’t have a real enemy, do we invent our villains? And if we can’t find or create someone to fight against, is that when we turn inside and create an enemy within? (I’m not talking about those ‘5os movies about all-American-looking guys being brainwashed to be communist agents.)
Is there such a thing as a public self and a private self? And when we hear that topic come up, what do we really think is meant by “public”? Outside your own room? At the grocery store? I have a friend who thought that when the nuns told her God was watching and she should always be good, she imagined some heavenly film maker was following her around 24/7 filming everything she did and recording everything she said or thought so God could watch and judge. Little did she know that for some people this is true; only it’s not a heavenly camera watching, but TMZ. Are kids growing up thinking that whatever they do will be worthy of watching and commenting — and is this a good thing? I can see it now in some future media world (as in 2012) there will be an app that takes “Kids Say the Darnedest Things” and turn it into “Future Celebrities Do the Stupidest Things While Still in Diapers.”
Something Else: Roger Hargreaves was born on this day in 1935. He was a British author and illustrator of children’s books, notably the Mr. Men and Little Miss series.
With all the current talk about debt and getting back to a time when we were great and all was going in the right direction, have you ever wondered if there ever really were “better” times? And if you believe this, then for whom were they better?
And then there’s the “simpler times theory” that everything is “just so much more complicated” and “if we could only go back.” Go back to when and to what?
Of course, we don’t seem to have much of a memory as Americans and the idea of learning from our mistakes is kind of a joke—but is this need to have to always be going forward — always looking to the future the best way to run a life? A country?
“The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are running out. In spite of increased effort, domestic production has been dropping steadily at about six percent a year. Imports have doubled in the last five years. Our nation’s independence of economic and political action is becoming increasingly constrained. Unless profound changes are made to lower oil consumption, we now believe that early in the 1980s the world will be demanding more oil that it can produce.”
– President Jimmy Carter in his speech on Proposed Energy Policy April 18, 1977