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Thread: No politics - just reality - if the shoe fits....

  1. #1
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    No politics - just reality - if the shoe fits....

    READ THE WHOLE THING BEFORE YOU HIT THE REPORT BUTTON AND CRY "POLITICAL"!!

    A friend on a social networking website where I am a member wrote the following essay and posted it today. I found it so powerful---and so true---that I am compelled to share it with everyone I know. He has distilled down into about 2000 words the problems which we have in the country today and the reasons behind them. Basically, we all need to GROW UP, put on our big-girl panties or our big-boy boxers and shape up, rather than yearning for instant gratification and miracles.

    Perhaps if we read this essay, take it to heart and mind, pass it on to your children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters, we can change our ways of thinking and expecting, at least a little bit?

    I thought this was important enough to share.

    The Infantizing of America

    In last Tuesday’s elections, Republicans regained governorships of Virginia and New Jersey. My right-wing friend reliably shot off an e-mail crowing that the "love fest" for Obama was over.

    My friend’s remark troubles me, because he’s right. Obama has been in office for eleven months and all the talk is about how he’s failed to fix the economic crisis. It took eight YEARS for the nation to recover from the Great Depression, yet many of Obama’s supporters have become cranky because they’re not back to flipping houses.

    The outpouring of adoration when Obama was elected exalted Obama to the level of Moses coming down from the mountain. Maybe we ought to remember that when Moses came down from the mountain, he didn’t bring solutions to everyone’s problems, he brought the Law, which demanded moral strength and grown-up patience.

    Today we lack both of these as we become more and more infantile. "Infantizing" is my term for a social and cultural trend I see in American society. It is a trend toward behaving like infants or very young children, and it frightens me because it has brought with it violence, bigotry, and the loss of manners and humanity. An infant behaves in certain ways:

    When an infant is hungry, it screams and flails until it is fed. An infant cannot control its hunger.

    If an infant breaks a priceless vase, or pulls the dog’s ears, it won’t understand why you’re angry. An infant has no sense of right or wrong.

    When an infant is angry or frustrated it strikes out, with fists or rattle or anything in its grasp. An infant cannot control its temper.

    An infant will taste baby food, table food, paint, medicine, or its own leavings, with equal gusto. An infant has no taste or judgment.

    When an infant wants affection, it will fuss, cry, and thrash until it is picked up and cuddled. An infant needs constant attention.

    For an infant, everything new is frightening or fascinating, no matter what its true value. An infant has no experience or perspective.

    All of these attributes and behaviors are natural for infants; they’re SUPPOSED to be this way, and wise parents learn patience and understanding until the infant learns better. But I see the adults in our society exhibiting the behaviors of infants:

    An infant cannot control its hunger. Eating disorders affect millions of men and women; we stuff ourselves with junk and gargantuan restaurant portions. Women work out at Curves and then reward themselves with a chocolate chip muffin. Boys spit and belch in public. Teenagers destroy homes during parties. Men rape when a woman refuses.

    An infant has no sense of right or wrong. Rod Blagojevich is arrested on multiple corruption charges and is caught on tape trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat, but insists, "I did nothing wrong." Orlando Magic forward Rashard Lewis serves a 10-game suspension for violating the NBA's Anti-Drug Agreement and says, "I still feel I did nothing wrong." A home is robbed and the owners rush to hide valuables in a neighbor’s house so they can make a false insurance claim. Feeling guilt or shame is considered un–cool and weak.

    An infant cannot control its temper. Civility and tact have become extinct. If a man feels slighted he beats the offender with a baseball bat. A hitter charges the pitcher at the slightest provocation. Motorists flip each other the bird, or sometimes use firearms. At town hall meetings, partisans scream and disrupt, rather than listening and debating. If a girl dares break up with her boyfriend, he kills her. Citizens sue each other for any reason, refusing to take responsibility for their actions.

    An infant has no taste or judgment. The electronic media reduce all information to blips that don’t relate to each other. Texting, tweeting, and TV sound bites have reduced attention span to a few seconds. Reading has all but disappeared. Today’s generation is abysmally ignorant of history and culture. Mediocre performers are "legends," second-rate baseball players earn half a million dollars a season, men who spew bigotry are considered pundits, and the Real Housewives of New Jersey pull huge audiences for live "shows."

    An infant needs constant attention. The media and technology have led us to expect instant love and friendship and instant solutions to complex problems. If a marriage doesn’t feel like "fun" after a week, the couple divorces. Teens buy each other gold after one date. "Reality" shows feature whiny, self-absorbed brats of all ages. Voters will elect a candidate to lower their taxes and provide unlimited government services, then vote the guy out a year later if miracles haven’t occurred.

    An infant has no experience or perspective. In today’s info-media world, every event is of equal importance, and the wildest fabrications are accepted as truth. On CNN, a terrorist attack and a runaway bride are both "Breaking News." If the President burps, it goes viral on the Internet. House members Michelle Bachman (right wing) and Alan Grayson (left wing) pump out ludicrous "populist" statements and have millions of devoted followers. Horrifyingly huge numbers of Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim or that zinc cures a cold (he isn’t; it doesn’t).

    We haven’t become more "Immoral" or "Evil." Rape, murder, bribery, torture, drug dealing, robbery, calumny, official misconduct, perversion, and abuse have all been part of human life as long as there have been humans. But in the best of times, there has been enlightenment, knowledge, a yearning toward humanity. Excellence has been striven for in art, music, and literature. Language has been ennobled and enriched.
    We are in a position to fashion a society better than any that has gone before. Technology has given us creature comforts and the means to communicate globally. It has made possible mind-bending explorations in the arts. With information traveling across fiber optics in nanoseconds, we can create a stunning Renaissance. But instead we have become, as Time Magazine put it, a nation of busybodies and crybabies. We wallow in ego, refuse to acknowledge guilt or responsibility, throw tantrums if we don’t get our way, demand instant gratification in all things from dinner to love, hurt or kill when crossed.

    Most dreadfully, we have trashed our past and our heritage. As the new generation grows up unwilling and unable to read and write, bereft of the ability to think or use information, we lose all that has made us human. We become a coast-to-coast playpen filled with squalling infants. This, of course, is what the bankers and CEOs and politicians want. Our willful ignorance and infantile behavior makes us susceptible to lies in ads and on the campaign trail. The rich and powerful want us to remain infants, to be fed and burped and tucked in, to pose no threat to greed or tyranny. Education makes grown-ups out of babies, and grown-ups can’t be easily fooled.

    Self- discipline, delayed gratification, appreciation of complexity, mastery of language, are the hallmarks of adulthood and maturity. No worthwhile adult will ever lose the "child" within, and sometimes we should give in to our bodily hungers. But not all the time. If we all remain babies, there soon will be nobody to care for us.
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
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  2. #2
    Zinc won't cure a cold?

    All seriousness aside, I have been toying with the outline of a book for a bit now that, if I ever decide to make it happen, would touch on, not only the observations that were made in this essay, but some of the hows and whys about the trip we took to get where we are today.

    I wonder if we have any Emergen-C in the pantry?
    Last edited by Bob Borzelleri; 11-05-2009 at 3:56 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for posting this Nancy. You and I are thinking along the same lines today.

    “Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy and chivalry.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Everybody knows what to do with the devil but them that has him. My Grandmother
    I had a guardian angel at one time, but my little devil got him drunk, tattooed, and left him penniless at a strip club. I have not had another angel assigned to me yet.
    I didn't change my mind, my mind changed me.
    Bella Terra

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy Laird View Post



    Today we lack both of these as we become more and more infantile. "Infantizing" is my term for a social and cultural trend I see in American society. It is a trend toward behaving like infants or very young children, and it frightens me because it has brought with it violence, bigotry, and the loss of manners and humanity. An infant behaves in certain ways:

    If you really think this is true you might want to revisit your history books.

    Holocaust
    race riots
    We no longer hide non conforming members of our society in attic's or asylums.
    I see many many new foundations to help the unfortunate.
    Thank You
    Ed

  5. #5
    I'm guessing that if you have something to say, you better say it quick...

    Seriously, its a pretty accurate reflection. I think the question is, do we blame the "infants" who can't live responsibly, or those of us that do? I think there is a fairly direct correlation between the sense of entitlement a society feels it deserves and that society's ability to sustain itself. Our debt doesn't lie...

  6. #6
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    Thank you Nancy.

    Love, Kindness, Mature thinking, patience, responsibility…

    all virtues.

    Brian
    Veni Vidi Vendi Vente! I came, I saw, I bought a large coffee!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Hazel View Post
    If you really think this is true you might want to revisit your history books.
    Ed, if you think that the majority of this isn't true, visit your nearest high school or college someday - you'll see walking, talking, text-messaging examples.

    And you might want to give those 11th graders a 6th-grade history test--or watch "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader". The majority of high-school kids today can't name the 50 states - a lot of them don't even know how many states there are!
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/donate.php
    ___________________________
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  8. #8
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    It has proven to be very financially rewarding to tap into our lesser angels. Pundits serve up daily outrage for their audience despite the absence of fact, logic or reason.

    I'm tired of the perpetual rich guy playing the victim card. I'm tired of the poor person playing the victim card.

    One is playing it for further financial gain and the other is using as an excuse to not try harder.

    Our ancestors would be ashamed of how we allowed so few to completely corrupt this nation. The blame is equal. And there is plenty to go around.
    Measure twice, cut three times, start over. Repeat as necessary.

  9. #9
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    Wait a minute...I'm not supposed to belch or spit in public?

    Belching is just a compliment to the cook! It also makes room for more.

    Spitting saves trees (don't have to use a tissue).
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy Laird View Post
    Ed, if you think that the majority of this isn't true, visit your nearest high school or college someday - you'll see walking, talking, text-messaging examples.

    And you might want to give those 11th graders a 6th-grade history test--or watch "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader". The majority of high-school kids today can't name the 50 states - a lot of them don't even know how many states there are!
    I try those quizzes occasionally with adults and youth. The youth usually do just as well as the adults (or the adults do just as poorly as the youth).
    Veni Vidi Vendi Vente! I came, I saw, I bought a large coffee!

  11. #11
    Well, thanks for posting this.

    BUT, you'll find that overall our standard of living has gone up, even during the great depression and other 'bad' times cars gone safer, the ball-point pen was invented, houses got insulation as a matter of course and our kids stopped dying of polio. All to satisfy the crybabies wanting MORE.

    Are there babies out there. Yep and I'd like to slap a few now and then. But I'm on the other side and I know better than to act like an infant - usually.

    Good essay, but I'm sure an equally compelling case can be made contradicting each point presented. ie: are kids lazy? Harvard is filled to capacity and the greedy graduates have gone out, made their fortunes and come back with fat endowments for nearly 200 years.

    Lazy, not all. Slackers have been living on the streets for centuries. Greed. Nothing new there.

    I think the lens of time clouds a bit so we don't see all of the rot in past years. Grandma's photo album only shows happy people. The crybabies of her generation are long forgotten.
    .
    "I love the smell of sawdust in the morning".
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  12. #12
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    Sorry, can't agree. I'm guessing that at virtually any point in time, you could fill in those blanks with contemporaries of the time. Yesterday wasn't perfect and tomorrow won't be, and you can't judge America by the actions of a few who end up on the news.

    Perhaps we are more attuned to the vagaries of misbehavior, since modern technology has made it easier to disseminate. But that doesn't mean those misbehaviors didn't exist before.

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    Just be VERY AWARE......this thread is being watched very carefully and is nearing the edge of disappearing.
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  14. #14
    Yeah those shows can make people look really stupid. But in all reality if you do not use it you lose it.

    Does the education system need some work ? Yep. But every generation looking back at the youth thinks they are slackers.

    I think the statistics are about the same the information just travels a lot faster.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric DeSilva View Post
    Sorry, can't agree. I'm guessing that at virtually any point in time, you could fill in those blanks with contemporaries of the time. Yesterday wasn't perfect and tomorrow won't be, and you can't judge America by the actions of a few who end up on the news.
    That is true but there is a (subtle?) difference.
    The points Nancy described are now acceptable and, indeed, accepted. It's not just in the US. I think this is a general trend worldwide (mostly in the so called 1st World). In yonder decades/centuries people looked up at the admirable and the worthy of followers. Right now the worthy smell the buck$, look down at the masses and deliver what masses expect - panem et circenses.

    And shorty thereafter Rome fell.

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