It’s Not A Generation Gap, It’s The Grand Damned Canyon

2D95D309-98DE-4487-AEF9-A3E97964D9ABErr, this’ll be an awkward post…and also something of a long one, I think.  Remember my long-time words of warning: I don’t plan or outline these posts, they are purely organic, from brain-to-keyboard with only one read-through for editing & revision.

Oh, crap…if I have to explain myself before I so much as get to the theme and intro, I have to wonder just how badly I’ve taken leave of my senses…

Okay, so…well…I took leave of my sense a long time ago. I took leave of my senses when I walked away from a good six-figure job in search of a life that was actually fulfilling and worthwhile to me, rather than one that was about collecting a (good) paycheck and making other people happy.

Ahem, never mind. Let’s keep that particular closet door closed, shall we?

First off, a reminder that I sit pretty much outside the generally accepted “teams” in American politics. I think both sides idiotic, and that both exist and work only to benefit the few at the top by exploiting and abusing those at the bottom.

But…

But, in addition to being a writer, I’m also a historian and something of a political junkie. The first part of my day is reading…reading a shit-ton about politics and news, both here in the US and elsewhere in the world. The important thing, for me, is that I read a bit of everything. I will spend time with a piece from The National Review, then immediately follow that with something from The Nation.

I make it a point to take in material and ideas from all points of view. I don’t have to agree with what I’m reading, but how in the hell could I ever expect someone else to read and weigh any new & different ideas I may express if I’m not willing to do the same? Ideas and opinions are not communicable diseases, no one’s character or beliefs will be “infected” by reading things with which they don’t agree…

Whew…okay…that’s done. Shit, 330+ words of set-up, and only now am I ready to get started on what I actually sat down to write — is 8:00am too early for scotch?

I read an opinion piece this morning that got me to thinking. It got me to thinking about the differences in today’s politics. Not the differences between the teams, but the differences within them. Now, look…my politics and beliefs are pretty damned different from what I grew up with, and from anyone else in my immediate family. But I’ll be damned if I’ve ever had the energy to sit down and write about the hows and whys of those differences.

1A73C0FF-925F-48B3-A883-38E7C4E2EE49Now, maybe it’s because I’ve been completely immersed in the “world” and outlook of younger folks for the last couple of years (given the trilogy of stories I’m writing), but I’m incredibly conscious of the differences between generations at the moment. And, no, I’m not talking about the bullshit judgmentalism of those who attack and blame other generations: “Millennials are all lazy and entitled brats” or “Baby Boomers are evil fucks clinging too long to money and life” or “Gen Xers are hypocritical asswagons making everything worse”. No, I’m talking about the very real differences in outlook and beliefs, the very real differences that create not just different dynamics, but entirely different ways of looking at the universe, that are all-but mutually incomprehensible between generations. And it’s not just politics, it’s social and cultural and economic, as well.

The simple fact of the matter is that those differences are just getting worse; my parents live in a totally different world from their children. And my generation? We’re not quite that disassociated, but we’re close — far too many of my generation are following our parents into a world of blinders and knee-jerk beliefs/responses that are already old and “out of date”.

And the worst part? Far too few people even bother to notice the disconnects, let alone worry about what they presage for the future. That socio-political conflict I see coming in the next couple of decades? Yeah, it’s gonna be generational, too.

Okay, so what got me thinking about all of this? This particular opinion piece: “How Conservatives Can Win Back Young Americans.” Now, look, I know it’s the Weekly Standard…I know that, if you’re not of a very specific political group (a small group, at that), that magazine might as well be Serial Killers Weekly, but remember what I said above: ideas and opinions won’t kill you.

Hell, personally, I think Noam Chomsky is (politically & economically) a raving lunatic.  But he is also one of the smartest men on the planet…and, yes, I read the hell out of him as part of my Linguistics degree.

I posted the link above because I think the piece is a worthwhile read. For folks of the conservative political stripe — yes, Mom & Dad, I’m talking to you! — it’s worth it for the political advice. For folks like me, who are not on either team, and even for folks on the liberal/progressive side of the field, it is worth reading for what are, in fact, pretty good insights into some of the generational differences at play in the US today.

We cannot bridge gaps, let alone solve problems, if we aren’t able to understand the them…and the perhaps the biggest gap today, and the fastest growing problem, is the vast, yawning chasm between the younger generations and the older.

P.S.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to write a coherent post about politics while blasting a Stevie Ray Vaughn live album? I really want to be outside at a concert somewhere, right about now…

 

P.P.S.

Okay, so it has nothing really to do with this post, other than illustrating one aspect of the Democrat-Republican divide, but I still think the chart below is hilarious (given just where I do all my writing):

E5EBFD57-6B36-400E-ACE2-15881CEB04B6

Too Damn Hot!

Well, since I repeated an event this past weekend, I figured I would go full Lazy-Mode and re-use the post I wrote about it as well:

Yeehaw…it’s “Hot Burrito Challenge” day at the brewery.

I like hot food. I really do. BUT! Why the hell would you want to try to power down a ghost-chile-burrito – and a pint of chile-beer that is, if anything, even hotter – for fun?

Just how is puking everything back up five minutes later FUN?

Fine, call me a wuss. Call me weak. Call me whatever you want; I’m still gonna sit over here in my little corner and drink my…well, at the moment it’s a Vienna lager. I might switch to the Irish dry stout next, but that’s as “extreme” as I plan to get today.

I am also not going to be physically damaged and miserable for the next 36 hours…

Hangovers I can handle – shit, I’ve had some doozies in my time – but physical damage because you ate stupid shit? No thank you.

Why am I writing about this? Because I got kicked out of my regular seat at the bar!

Goddamit!

I am very much a creature of habit. Err, a creature of kinda scary, borderline OCD, habits actually. When I want to work – shit, when I need to work – I hate like hell to have anything screwed up.

But here I sit, pushed off to the side in another room because…well…if I stayed in my “usual” seat I’d be stuck eating one of the damned death-tubes these lunatics are calling “burritos”.

Harrumph!

And, yes, I am currently channeling my inner bitter-old man…now get off my lawn!

IMG_0043Oh, for the love of Christ and all that’s holy!

I gave in to the pressure. I had a chip – one single goddamned CHIP – with a few drops of the ghost-pepper hot sauce on it. I’m crying like a 4-year-old who lost his teddy bear, my nose is running like I started doing entire freaking shots of cottonwood
“fluff”, and I’m not sure I’m ever going to taste again…

I’m fairly certain THIS is why Anakin Skywalker turned into Darth Vader! It had nothing to do with being a neurotic, co-dependent, needy piece of shit – he just did a “Hot Burrito Challenge” at the wrong time. I’m ready to turn to the darskide as well…

Now, of course, the writer in me has to wonder: just how the hell do I turn this into a scene in the next story?

Sorry about that, Connor. It really is gonna suck for you…

Random Ranting

img_0011Okay…so, being the committed slacker I am, I failed to prep a post for today.

*sigh*

I wish I could say that was terribly unusual, but, well…

At any rate, I’m sitting on the patio of my local(ish) coffee shop, soaking in the sun, and then it hits me: no post went up this morning.

Goddammit.

IMG_0155So now I have to throw one together at the last minute, with all of the impulsive writing, grammatical/spelling errors and squirrel-moments that means! Thankfully, this quickie-post will be based on the nice caffeine-jag I have building, rather than drunk-postin’ from the taproom.

Keep in mind, I also have a scene I want to write this morning, so I don’t actually have the patience to think of a useful topic. Nope, instead I’m going to cheat. I’m going to resort to a low-end freelance writing trick. If doing freelance “content” work for websites is the writing-equivalent of selling your blood plasma to buy food, then doing lists and quick-takes are pawning your TV to pay the bills.

Ah well, sometimes you gotta do what…well, you get the idea. So, some quick-takes* on news items that stuck in my head over the past week:

1) No, a teenage girl wearing a vintage cheongsam to her high school prom is NOT cultural appropriation, for fuck’s sake! “Cultural appropriation” is, by the way, one of the the biggest farces on the face of the Earth — ALL culture is appropriated in one way or another. Hell, I’m (sorta) a mix of English and German in my ancestry, so just what is MY culture? Anglo? Saxon? Norman? German? English? I also speak fluent Japanese, and admire the hell out of that culture — is owning woodblock prints and calligraphy “appropriation”? Is my passion for Czech beer appropriation? How about my passion and proselytization for Russian writers and movies? Like I said, this whole fad is nothing more than the purest farce.

2) Shad Khan’s effort to buy Wembley Stadium, and the NFL’s desire to hold a Super Bowl there. Just…no. Okay, so that’s the polite response — FUCK NO is the more accurate one. I know Roger Goodell said, a few years ago, that he did, in fact, want to hold the Super Bowl in London, but not even the NFL could be that stupid…could they? The biggest day in American sport…an event that is essentially a national holiday…and he wants to hold it in London? The Brits feel about American football the way I feel about the English Premier League — kinda neat as a distraction, but fuck me if I understand what the hell is happening.

3) No, for the last time, the Yellowstone Supervolcano is NOT “about to blow”. No, we are not on the verge of an extinction-level event. Shit, I lived in Yellowstone, I talked to the geologists running the damned volcano observatory. I even got drunk with a couple of ‘em. When they give answers to questions like that, they are working in “geologic time”, not human time. “Soon” and “imminent” are measured in millennia, not months!

4) Any state, governor, attorney general, or congress critter thinking about “cracking down” on medical and recreational pot needs to go re-read themselves some Don Quixote…he had a better chance against that damned windmill than their “Reefer Madness” efforts. I don’t the use the stuff and even I know just how pointless the whole prohibition-thing is. You might as well try to ban — again! — alcohol. Look, temperance is a good personal trait, it is NOT good governmental policy. If you don’t like pot, or booze, then don’t partake. Shit, in spite of living in Colorado, I don’t partake in marijuana…because that is my choice. See how that works, folks?

*Okay, so this turned out to be more of a rant than a list — it was more fun that way!

Back To Kindergarten With You!

I made a mistake this weekend.

Umm…

Okay, so that particular opening ain’t terribly helpful, let alone surprising.  Maybe I should elaborate: I read the comment section on a news story. And not just any news story, but one about Barbara Bush’s funeral.

Now, look…in many cases, I like comment sections. I’ve mentioned before that they are far-and-away the most entertaining part of any story about “flat earthers” — or any conspiracy story, really — and they can be seriously fun to peruse at the end of sports stories.

B39BD0E7-46E5-43D8-B357-D8F7E46516C3They can also, from time to time, provide a counter-balance to the biases and editorial slants that all writers bring to their stories (whether consciously or not). Unfortunately, those same comment sections can also be the worst cesspools of hate, anger and utter vitriol on the face of the planet.

They are also a pretty damned good barometer of just where I fear our society is headed.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter who you like or dislike. Just as it doesn’t matter how much you like or dislike them. That’s your business. Liking someone who I don’t has no bearing on your worth as a human being, nor on our ability to be friends. That’s just plain common sense…or at least it should be. Any person who decides another is stupid — or evil, or malfeasant, or any of the other insults folks like to throw around — based solely on their politics and who they like, however, is the problem.

I can hear what you’re thinking right now: but those are online comments, those are the anonymous posturings of weak, vicious people who would never have the “courage” to utter anything like that in real life…

Maybe.

Cute siblings teasing each otherSadly, I know far too many people — good people, in general — who fall into that very same trap to have any real confidence in humanity. I know far too many people who can watch or read a news story, and attack one side or the other in the most virulent, personal manner. I know far too many people who do judge the “worth” of others based on who they voted for, or who they read, or who they support.*

*Do I REALLY have to mention again that this is in no way absolute? David Duke, Louis Farrakhan, and the rest of the dangerous psychos, have no part in this discussion. See my posts about Roy Freaking Moore if you want insight into my limits…here, here and here.

To give this an anecdotal, personal slant (since this is a personal blog): I have more than once mentioned my own libertarianism, and the fact that I voted for neither “side” in the last election. Yeah, I’m that guy, the one who “threw away” his vote on a third-party. If you think I don’t get judged and attacked by both sides because of it, I want some of what you’re smoking…

The bottom line, to keep this on the topic I started with, is that a person is neither evil nor insane simply because they believe differently. Barbara Bush was not a Nazi, nor was she the wife and mother of mass murdering war criminals. She was a woman of dignity and strength who tried her best to reach out to all Americans, and to be a wife, mother and grandmother with whom we could all find some common ground.

To those who DID post the comments: whether you like her or not, whether you agree with her or not, dehumanizing and attacking a 92-year-old who just passed says far more about you than it does about her.

I’m becoming more and more convinced that it’s time for our entire society to go back to kindergarten and start over…