Saturday, January 31, 2004

Noise Annoys: I hate politics. Really hate it. And that is going to make the next 10 months a living hell. For me, politics is like having a rusty sewing needle stuck in your eye. As such, I do not find anything funny about political humor. Having a rusty sewing needles stuck in your eye does not encourage lighthearted jocularity. Oh, I know that given enough time everything is a target for humor, even eyeballs pierced by rusty sewing needles, but the problem is the rusty sewing needle doesn't get removed. It doesn't even heal in place. It keeps getting twisted around every time some heavily coiffed talking head on CNN or Fox asks some weasely politician a question and the weasely politician responds with a weighty-sounding, carefully-rehearsed response that is so devoid of substance it borders on non-sequitor, which is in turn followed by a panel of interchangeable motor-mouths speculating on what it all means.


I can isolate myself from this inanity for the most part, except when someone has turned the TV in the gym locker room to one of the 24 hours news stations or when I am with friends who don't share my distaste and covering my ears and screaming "lalalalalalala" would be rude. Not only that, this is the time when otherwise apolitical activities are suddenly imbued with editorialization.

You see, politics is really the only topic that is considered Serious. If you don't harbor strident and righteous political opinions, you are deemed shallow. Actors, musicians, scientists, doctors, professors, athletes, you name it -- whenever they feel as though the work they do is not Significant enough, they decide proselytizing about politics is the way to show they are Deep and Important. So they throw their celebrity and/or credentials behind some poorly thought out, small-minded political stances in an attempt to transcend the perceived superficiality of their lives.

Meanwhile, otherwise sane people (including many bloggers) go nuts and start accusing everyone of being a Nazi. Or claiming righteous victimhood because they were called a Nazi. Or calling people Nazis because they called you a Nazi. I am glad the youth of today will never equate Nazis with murderous villains who slaughtered millions, but with easy targets in First Person Shooters. Maybe there will come a time when Nazi isn't the most popular political description anymore.

I understand the unfortunate necessity of politics. What I despise is the way it is treated as the source and purpose of all life by many people. You know the type. They classify you personally by asking you if you are Republican or Democrat or Conservative or Liberal and then proceed to color every interaction with you by their political prejudices. (Living in Ann Arbor, I've known plenty such people. Hell, I've dated such people.)

Understand this: None of this does anything except add more noise to the world. There is no topic in our culture that gets more mileage with less substance than politics. Any substantial political question can be reduced to a debate about core assumptions in about ten minutes tops, so why do we have to go through all this? It's just noise. Stop talking about it. Do something else. Go for a walk. Wash your car. Cook some pasta. Anything else, for cryin' out loud. It will make the world a better place. And that's Important.

I have made a point of keeping a dam site politics free and will be extra vigilant in the upcoming months. Visit here to escape.