Sunday, September 24, 2017

we can't laugh anymore

i am genuinely worried about the state of the world. not only is it filled with the spray-tanned satan's distractions (see the weekend's nfl bullshit), it's also filled with his name-calling threats at north korea, which has another madman at the helm and possesses nuclear weapons. at least the russian noose seems seems to be tightening, which is probably why he's pandering to his racist, white supremacist base so loudly on twitter. do not pay attention to the man behind the curtain...the great and powerful oz has spoken...

but i fear that all of the noise he has put in the air has rendered us all unable to talk or listen or have a dialogue and worst of all, unable to laugh or joke. about anything and everything. we have become strident and righteous and holier-than-thou where our own beliefs (opinions?) are concerned. and even amongst friends, we can no longer laugh or express an opinion that's might not be in alignment with what that friend currently believes.

not that long ago, at a party, i exploded at someone who trotted out that tired line about what a terrible candidate hillary clinton was, so i am as guilty as anyone else. and seriously, has there ever been a person more genuinely prepared to be president? (don't get me started). but genuinely, it's a trend that worries me.

here's an example:

forgetting these righteous times that we are in, i accidentally got involved in a strident exchange on a friend's facebook page about the words idiot, moron and imbecile. she posted that we shouldn't be using these words anymore, we should do better. and she feels this acutely since her beautiful daughter has the extra chromosome of down's syndrome.

in the early part of the last century and probably on through the 1950s, these words were psychological diagnoses for people of an IQ below 50 (and in some cases below 25), and people with down's syndrome fell into this category. i appreciate that. however, they are no longer used in this way in psychology and have entered mainstream speech, on par with stupid and dumb (dumb surely also had a diagnosis attached at one point).

thinking that if we don't laugh about the spray-tanned satan, we must curl up in fetal position and cry uncontrollably (an option i've also tried), i attempted to joke on my friend's post against the use of such words, asking if we couldn't still apply them to him since it was a kind of diagnosis. this is a friend who i have known for nearly a decade and who i know to have a wonderful sense of humor and who knows, in her heart of hearts, that i would never purposefully be mean to her or her child. but it seems that her humor is gone in these days of righteous indignation and so she and her possé of like-minded folks, jumped all over me for my insensitivity and accused me of insulting her child. i was sincerely not insulting her child, i was insulting trump. you see, those words are no longer used as terms of diagnosis, and haven't been during my lifetime, and they have taken on (or perhaps returned to) meanings that pretty accurately apply to the current president. 

the fact is, words often change meaning over time...

Idiot Origin: 1250–1300; Middle English < Latin idiōta< Greek idiṓtēs private person, layman, person lacking skill or expertise, equivalent to idiō-(lengthened variant of idio- idio-, perhaps by analogy with stratiōtēs professional soldier, derivative of stratiá army) + -tēs agent noun suffix

even mark twain used idiot in the sense i meant it: "Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - [Mark Twain, c.1882] so perhaps the psychological designation assigned to the word was the aberration.

maybe we need to return to a place where we can talk to one another, joke about things that are serious, not look for offense where none is meant, and thereby cope with these times in a way that helps us all. is that too much to ask?

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these architectural depictions of mental illnesses are poetic and beautiful.

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when in macedonia...
aka, there's an app for that.

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have you listened to alone: a love story?


Lynne said...

I hear you. It feels like there is a facism which has taken over the world -from the left and the right -that shouts out any opposing thought. Or, sadly, when trigger words are uttered any form of nuance vanishes.
I have been on the periphery of both of your journeys for more than a decade and it saddens me that there was no gentleness in the response to you. But maybe, in today's world we are teaching each other that only hair-trigger anger is worthy of attention? Or that if your opinion differs to mine, you no longer have any rights of expression.
I wish I knew the solution

julochka said...

i wish i did too. it makes me sad because i was genuinely not referring to her child.