Tuesday, January 08, 2013
In which I try to go positive...
I've started writing today's blog post twice - well, this is the third time - today.
The first one was complaining about the proliferation of ads on television that try to convince people that no one is going to like them or love them if they aren't perfect, and then offering a variety of very expensive goods and services that we are to believe will make us thinner, better-looking, younger-looking, and just plain more desirable. I think I've probably complained about this sort of advertisement around here before, and so I abandoned that effort.
The second one consisted of me complaining about a meme that came across my Facebook feed a day or two ago, one that implied that anyone who is in favor of any kind of control on firearm or ammunition ownership is just as bad as Hitler. But, you know, complaining about ignorance on Facebook will do just about as much good as complaining that the Sun comes up in the morning. And so I abandoned that post as well.
I try, though, I really, really try to keep this blog from being a venue for my complaint of the day. Because it could be that. It is that, sometimes, despite my determination. God knows there is enough stupidity in the world to support a blog like that. But I'd like to be more positive than that.
Back in the sixties...yes, I remember the sixties...there was a saying, might be called a meme today, that went like this: "If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem." While I'm not sure who said it (sources differ), I think there is some merit to that position. A part of that, of being part of the solution rather than part of the problem, is not just sitting around and complaining about things, but actually suggesting ways of solving the problem.
This is not to say that pointing out the problem is out of bounds. How will anyone know the problems exist outside of their own frustration if no one defines and outlines the problem? But you can't, either, just state the problem, announce that it bugs you, and leave it at that.
I'll be honest. I can't think of any solution to my first complaint. Well, I can, but Madison Avenue, as an cultural phenomenon, is not going to go away anytime soon, as much as I'd like it to. So, if any of you have any suggestions about how to get the diet industry and the cosmetic surgery industry to quit "going negative", I'd love to hear those ideas.
I'm not sure, either, how to get people to quit trying to argue their position on issues like, but not limited to, gun control, without resorting to insults and name-calling. They might try to make an actual argument rather than merely demonizing their opponents, but that could be too much to ask.
I have a much more difficult time staying positive in the second instance. How do you have a conversation with someone who takes the position that they are entitled to what they want and anyone who disagrees with them is either stupid or evil? And, when they can't accept that limitation doesn't necessarily equate to elimination? Believe me, I've had this argument enough times to know that there are those who take the position that there is no middle ground.
This is not a declaration that I'm never going to write a post complaining about something ever again. It is a statement of intent that I am going to try to go positive at least as often as I go negative. It's sort of the difference between how Keith Olbermann used to do a feature on his show, when he had it, called "The World Person In The World", and how Rachel Maddow does a feature on her show that she calls "The Best New Thing In The World".
There is a place for both, but balance is a good thing.