I’m Not Apathetic. I Just Don’t Give a Damn

By: Thomas Lindaman

Before I write a piece like the one you’re reading now, I try to look at the news to figure out what topics might have the potential to be a full column. Scanning the Drudge Report at work (because I have to at least pretend like I’m doing work), I found a piece about Jimmy Carter saying the current Bush Administration is the worst in American history. Granted, Carter’s had a lot of experience with bad Administrations, considering he ran one for 4 years, but the spark just wasn’t there.

Then, my eyes saw a piece about Live Earth, the global warming concert Al Gore is putting on for $99 a ticket with all at least some of the proceeds going to…consciousness raising efforts. Of course, that’s utterly pointless. Why? Because Gore and the musicians playing at Live Earth have been raising our consciousness about global warming by never shutting up about it! As much fun as it would have been to write about it and offer my idea for an alternative to Live Earth for the “global warming deniers” called Lolla-Pollute-za, I still couldn’t get motivated enough to write it. Nothing seemed to get my creative juices flowing. Then, I figured out why.

I just don’t care.

Part of my apathy comes from the fact that people don’t really care about truth anymore. Back in the days of the Greeks and Romans, truth was paramount and, thus, was to be sought by anyone. Granted, these same people thought gods had to be the cause of anything they couldn’t explain, but they were spot on when it comes to truth.

The thing is truth isn’t always pretty and nice. You can slap a wig, makeup, and a dress on an ape, but that won’t make the ape a woman. But you might have found my last blind date. These days, Americans don’t want to deal with anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, especially not truth. If we don’t want to deal with a personal problem or a major issue, we’ll invent ways to get out of it, up to and including creating a brand new reality. Want proof? Talk to a hardcore Democrat about
Election 2000 or to George W. Bush about illegal immigration.

The other part of my apathy comes from our lack of perspective on the world. To me, the biggest issue out there is the war against terrorism. Maybe it’s my wacky way of thinking, but I think people wanting to kill me because I’m an American is a bit more important than seeing Paris Hilton carted off to jail for violating parole. (On a related note, don’t you feel safer that Hilton’s behind bars? Now, we can focus on the real criminals, like David Arquette. If we just keep working, we’ll clean
up the country, one insignificant celebrity at a time.)

Combine the lack of concern for the truth with the lack of perspective and you have a situation where a sober-minded individual has to wonder why he or she should be an active participant in the societal conversation. Take the Iraq War, for example. Polling data shows that Americans surveyed are against the war, but no one asks the logical follow-up question of why. Personally, I think the reason the Iraq War isn’t popular is because we’re bored with it. All the talk about the loss of life and
the insurgency is about as exciting as Al Gore on truck stop speed. Then again, I’m not sure you could tell the difference…

If Bush had gone in, killed Saddam, ran out the insurgents, and started building Starbucks franchises in Baghdad in three weeks, we would be seeing Bush’s approval ratings go through the roof instead of sticking closer to the cellar. This is because our attention spans have shrunk considerably. These days people are lucky if they can keep their focus on something for…wait, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah, short attention spans.

As our attention to details has diminished, our perception of what is important has been warped. Do we really need to know what Lindsey Lohan is doing at any given moment? (Well, I do because I’m stalking her, but aside from that.)

Our approach to important issues has become like Baskin-Robbins: the flavor of the month. This month, it’s illegal immigration. Next month, it will be high gas prices. The month after that, it will be something else. We keep rotating issues in and out of our consciousness so fast that we aren’t able to think about them at any great length. That means nothing gets solved, which means these subjects will get recycled and rehashed and reignored when the time comes. And when we aren’t filling our
minds with blather from those who know even less about the situation than we do, we’re filling our minds with needless fluff, like how many kids Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have adopted. I swear if they adopt any more children, they’ll make Mike and Carol Brady look celibate.

Just like the fast food restaurants that offer healthy alternatives to their usual fare, we have to be careful when picking information to believe and issues to follow because we might just be buying stuff that is almost as bad as the real bad stuff if we’re not careful. Yes, this requires us to do a bit more work and use a bit more judgment than we’re used to, but it will save us a lot of time trying to explain to the terrorists why we didn’t see the next terrorist attack coming because we
were spending time unraveling the contextual intricacies of the latest Wayans brothers film.

Thomas Lindaman is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. and NewsBull.com. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He is also Publisher of CommonConservative.com.

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