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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Insufficient Bloggi-ness, Isolationism, and Other Things Left Unsaid

First off, allow me to apologize for my lack of blogging stamina through March. Between school, interning and honing my social aptitude to a razor sharp edge, an edge liberally whetted with the Booze of Courage before being scraped against the Stone of Social Judgment, I.... I'm almost afraid to say it... allowed my blog to slip by the wayside. I am Soooooo Sorry.

Now that's settled, let's move on to the important stuff.

Well, what's happened in the greater world lately? A great deal of the usual frightening bullshit, stirred up with some unusual frightening bullshit.

The usual:
- Bad Things in Other Countries. There's always a lot of this. If you happen to not live in one of these Other Countries, though, it's pretty easy to ignore, change the channel, flip the page, and forget all about. And why wouldn't it be? You see, there are a lot of people to be worried about in the world. If the un-cited statistics getting flung about on facebook are anywhere close to accurate, approximately 50% of the world population is malnourished. That means that roughly 3.5 billion people don't have enough nutrient rich food to eat, while many of the other 3.5 billion have too much to eat. That's not okay; that's Bad. It's also repeated all the time, like a mantra, over and over again, and just like a mantra, it starts to lose its meaning and impact after the 10,000th hearing. It gets downgraded from Crisis to Accepted Fact of Life. It certainly doesn't help that it is so very easy to disassociate ourselves from humans in remote places. Distance does not make the heart grow fonder, at least not for strangers in strange lands.
-Bad Things in Our Country. A little tougher to ignore, but tornadoes touching down in Alabama and wasting whole cities generally don't touch down in Oregon. Alabama is over 2000 miles away. Alabama is about 500 miles further away than Mexico. For a little perspective, if you were to drive from Helsinki, Finland, to Athens, Greece, you'd end up covering roughly the same distance. You would also drive through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, and Bulgaria on your way to Athens, stopping only to get abducted by international terrorists and traded to an American Embassy for your weight in fish. That's a buffer zone of eight whole countries. Eight whole countries, with their own governments, cultures, languages, foods, average skin tones, etc. The fact that the United States is really big does in part explain our tendency toward isolationism; that isolationism factors in between states, though, not just between us and Finland. It's just as easy for Alabama to say "Fuck Oregon" as it is for them to say "Fuck Mexico" and "Fuck Finland, those fuckers." And they're probably saying it right now. You know how they are.
But wait; that's just it. You don't know how they are, because Alabama may as well be located on the dark side of the moon as far as Oregon is concerned.

Here is a picture of some friendly Alabamans. You can see how exotically weird and different they are.

Anyway, when bad things happen in Alabama, we only feel it here because of the media. Some of us may also have Alabama relatives, but not many. Alabama is whole worlds away.

And what about the unusual frightening bullshit?
Well, folks, this is the stuff that actually directly affects us. Say, creepy new government legislation. When it comes to legislation, Alabama isn't as far away from Oregon as Finland is from Greece. It may as well be right next door. States are not individual and independent countries, however much some of them would like to be. We are interactive and interdependent. The kind of crap being played out in Texas (for instance, the total defunding of Planned Parenthood) can, actually, play out here as well. All the progressive chatter happening in Portland doesn't extend beyond the city limits. Progressivism, like a tenacious fungus, does continue to thrive in moist places like Eugene, but can't seem to handle the dry air of central and eastern Oregon. And that is really, really, really, too bad. Portland and Eugene may be perfectly happy circle jerking each other (sustainably, of course) and scoffing at all the rural Neanderthals, but without a little more urban-rural interface, that's all it will ever be. It's nice that Portland has roof gardens; why doesn't Pendleton have roof gardens? The quick answer; because all those rednecks just don't know what's good fer 'em. The honest answer; nobody has gotten off their duff and tried it yet. And hey, Pendleton might need some persuading. Ideally this persuasion would be divorced from the raging stupidity of politics and left wing vs. right wing, but so fucking what? 

Anyway... if we continue to stay holed up in our safe little liberal enclaves, our fears that "the crazies are taking over" will be realized, but only because we ourselves were too scared and too lazy to counteract the crazy in person. In Person. As in, talking to the neighbors. As in, openly questioning things we perceive to be wrong and hurtful. As in, being able and willing to accept the fact that we may not be friends with the neighbors, the neighbors might remind us daily that we're going to hell, the neighbors might be shocked and scandalized by interracial or gay marriage, the neighbors might have more guns in the house than books... but they are still our neighbors, and we still have to live with them. Alabama is next door to Oregon, after all. We can't tuck our heads in the sand on social issues. We have to *gasp* communicate with people we don't necessarily agree with. Ack!

 The Neighbors.

But that all takes work. And it's spring break. Par-tay!


  1. an edge liberally whetted with the Booze of Courage before being scraped against the Stone of Social Judgment

    Oh, nice! Are you by chance a reader of S.J. Perelman?

  2. Alas, I am not, though I've heard the name before.