Friday rant: Era parent edition
The dogs are whimpering. The squirrels are shaking their tails. The barnyard animals are shifting uncomfortably in their stalls. Earthquake pending.
There is no way to forecast the future, animal nervousness included, but who can resist? Looking backwards is easy. There was the Depression. There was WWII. There were the 50’s. There were the 60’s. Nobody wants to think about the 70’s. There were the 80’s. The eighties went on and on and didn’t end until the Free-for-all Market imploded and collapsed and Obama was elected in 2008. And now it’s not the eighties anymore, but it’s unclear what it is or where it’s going. It’s like history climbed over a fence but got his coat stuck on a nail. And the harder he tries to move forward, the more stuck he gets.
All you can hear is the tearing fabric. Lately the tearing has sounded like the minimum wage issue. And what is the fabric? The social fabric is all. Our sense of shared prosperity, shared political fundamentals, shared sense of destination. Pulling, tearing, stuck. Something’s gotta give.
Maybe we’ll get unstuck and we’ll glide gracefully toward my own personal utopian vision of New Arcadia, characterized by robot labor, redistributed wealth, study, arts, limited but rewarding work, a declining population and a healing natural world. Oh, and togas. Don’t forget the togas. Or we may just keep piling up the tensions of an out-of-kilter economic system, an out-of-kilter political system and an out-of-kilter climate system until something snaps and something very bad happens.
Today I feel like joining the animals in squirming discomfort.
Can we talk?
I’m beginning to think communication is not only a lost art, but a lost cause. Has an email yet been sent that wasn’t misinterpreted?
It’s all about tone, and email always conveys the wrong tone. This is why, of course there are smiley-face icons. To pretend you are changing the obviously murderous innuendo in your email request into merry laughter. Everybody is fooled by a smiley face!
Actually, this is why ancient writing was all little pictures. It started out as all smiley faces, but quickly evolved into scary pictographs. You could plainly see that the message was out to get you. Little birds of prey and lions and sharp sticks and leering eyeballs. Look out! Then they changed the little pictures into abstract shapes representing sounds and it was supposed to be neutral, and it almost worked until they digitized it, and now it comes across as hostility again, veiled or unveiled. I just read that now periods at the end of text messages are interpreted as hostility. So put in a smiley face! How soon before the eyes are interpreted to be two periods, of hostility!
I now write emails ahead of time and let them sit before I send them. When I take a second look I see the hostile sentence and take it out. When I return again and see that one of the remaining sentences is also hostile, I take that out. And so on until the email is empty. Sometimes silence is golden. Except, no, it isn’t, it just creates a new problem. Why haven’t you REPLIED to me??