A reader writes:
Aha! I knew this would come up again. Interesting to see that Ms. Morrison shares my theory of junk.
There have always been sex scandals and stolen elections, but only with Bill Clinton's impeachment did they come together with national and global implications. George Bush doesn't become president without Monica Lewinsky. By 2003, we had already tipped. After the impeachment and the completely depressing image of James Baker trying to make the case that Bush had won Florida, it was somehow conceivable that we should recall Gray Davis and replace him with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Really? It was the wedding of celebrity worship with the no-longer-disputable fact that Republicans would do anything to win elections – except get the most votes. At least Reagan was duly elected.
As for Palin, I'll go on record here with my theory that we now have an inescapable culture of junk, and she's merely part of it. Junk science, junk bonds, junk food, junk faith, junk politics. I mean, it's tempting to blame McDonald's for obesity and food ignorance. But shouldn't we also blame the millions of people too lazy or dumb to reject their product?
Look deeper: After decades of policies favoring grain subsidies, car culture, suburban sprawl, and consumerism posing as progress, how could it have turned out much different? Junk food is not just possible; it's inevitable. Palin is McDonald's. Her fans are the politically obese. But they're all products of at least a decade of policy and infrastructure that grew, if not intentionally corrupt then at least intentionally unregulated, to the point where it could be exploited by anyone willing to become wealthy by selling the rest of us junk.
End of rant. For now
Another reader is more optimistic:
We are currently experiencing the greatest, largest, biggest ever explosion of human creative thought ever in the history of our known universe.
I know that sentence has lots of superlatives in it but that's because it's true. In literature, music, film, theatre, dance, organizational structure (government and business), art of any form you can imagine, crochet, dance, mopeds, 3D printers, fishing, wood-working, metal-working, cooking, gardening, technology ($30 computers!), gaming, autos: we are communicating with each other, exchanging ideas and creating like never before.
There's a thousandfold more crap as well, but that's just the process. It's simply an absolutely fucking amazing time to be alive and not just witness but participate in this human, collective awakening.
(Photo of Palin courtesy of Runners World)