For nearly a year I had given up reading about or watching the news of the day. It can’t be avoided completely, but I managed to stay out of world affairs for a whole year. When I came back in, what I discovered is that humanity had learned nothing from its past….well, not much anyway. Pockets of decency amid a sea of terror. Not so much terror really as the fear of terror on every corner. The Media….any media really….loves to play up any kind of danger, making it a far more dangerous world than it actually is. We end up making it more dangerous by then turning around and marginalizing certain groups of people and sometimes going after them ourselves.
If anything, it’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. I’ll say that much. People are just crazy that’s all. Westboro Church in America, this Islamic State (giving it the title of ISIS is an insult to the ancient Egyptian goddess of women, fertility and magic), Putin, Harper, American Republicans, Mugabe, Albanians (but not all….yes, OK, all), anarchists, football (soccer) fans, Chinese politicians (all right then, all politicians), most mental health workers, extreme sports enthusiasts and me.
Al of us in fact. Right or left and in the middle, we are all certifiably mad. Not angry mad. Mental mad. To the extreme. Don’t know if it’s the air and water, the additives we’ve put in our food all these years, the ever evolving genetic pool or just the times. We are, to a person, barking mad. It shows up every day in the news. I’ll bet in the year that I missed it was there too. Mad people doing mad thins madly. We screw things up well, don’t we? We’re naturals.
For those of you who are at this moment distancing yourselves from the thought of being crazy, don’t bother. Deny it all you like, you are as mad as the rest of us. You just happen to stay out of the headlines….keeping yourselves low on the media’s radar. You think these bad people you read about, these crazies, are nothing like you. After all, you recycle, give to charities, vote, pay your taxes, obey the law and even some of you still go to church. So, you are exempt from the madding crowd. Nope. In fact, you are quite possibly more crazy because you buy into a societal system that has gone mad. It pretends to be orderly and decent, but what it truly exists for is to sell us things. And we buy them. Because they are meant to fall apart not long after purchase, we have to buy them again. Even churches exist to sell you something. I’ll talk about that in another Blog.
So then, all the news really does is reflect how crazy we all are. The bold ones among us get caught or stand out and become embroiled in the media frenzy….you know, the fraudsters and all other thieves, the ones who can no longer hang on to a semblance of self-control and run amok killing or raping or setting fires or any one of man abnormalities (whatever they are). People in public life open themselves up to media scrutiny and are vilified rightly or wrongly depending on the mood of society at that moment.
We are a peculiar lot. One minute it’s against the law to be gay and the next Ireland is open for gay marriages. The Irish of all people. The Vatican must be going mad. But those guys are already crazy, so this will only add to it. We justify our about-faces by calling it change. Time for change. But what we’re really saying is, we’ve been crazy all these centuries, listening to people in authority who only have it because we are crazy enough to give it to them. Sheep. Sorry sheep. You don’t deserve that. Monsters. That’s what we are. The quiet ones are the worst.
What else can the news report when madness prevails. Silly us on this tiny planet in a galaxy of some 250,000,000 stars and their surrounding planets, just one of hundreds of millions of other galaxies and we think what we think is so spectacularly important. Madness. And the shame of it is, there is not a corner of the world now that isn’t affected and infected. Gloomy outlook, don’t you think?
Then I hear about something that offers a glimmer of hope. I’m sure there are many more, but we rarely hear about them, the hopeful news I mean, because we are too busy patting ourselves on the back that we are not as crazy as those guys who go on shooting and killing sprees in that insane country America. I know I risk being banned from that place of utter paranoia, but my following is rather small and I doubt the powers-that-be will ever see this.
The hopeful thing I am talking about is rather petty to most of us, not worthy of headlines. And I read it in one of the worst old rags this country offers, the Daily Mail. I was at someone’s house and saw the headline on the page that had been left open. It read, ‘103-year-old woman receives her high school diploma.’ I had to read on. Seems that Marie Hunt of Wisconsin couldn’t complete her eighth grade because she lived in the country and couldn’t travel the 6 miles to school and help look after her 8 younger siblings.
One of the nurses in the hospice where Marie was living passed along the request to the high school and everyone in charge made it happen. After 87 years, River Valley High School (sounds like something from a story) presented Marie with her diploma. She said, “It’s something I’ve always wanted and I didn’t have the opportunity to go and now, a hundred years later, here I am.” Wonderful. The stuff that makes the world go around and keeps us going.
I read that a few weeks ago and then came news of the vote in Ireland. Every once in a while the madness dissolves for a moment and we can see what we could be all the time. Well done Marie. You give meaning to the word hope. News that makes us smile.