Friday, May 09, 2008

Gullible's Travels

My inability to comprehend the workings of the world and the actions of its inhabitants is, as you may have noticed, a recurring theme here. I wander through life wide-eyed with disbelief at the boundless gullibility, curable ignorance, and outright stupidity of people who should know better...including me.

Every now and again, when I am in a particularly mentally-masochistic mood, I will glance quickly down the endless list of stupifyingly idiotic message titles in my Spam file before hitting the “delete” button. The other morning, among the dozens of guarantees of sexual potency, invaluable tips on how to make “her”—have you noticed, it’s always “her”?—scream in pleasure, offers absolutely guaranteeing to cure every disease known to man, and amazing ways I can earn $20,000 an hour working at home, there was one offering “uncensored” photos of Miley Cyrus, a young woman recently famous for something or other, and the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus who had one hit song several years ago. She has attained shock status by posing for photos for a magazine! Can you imagine? I know this only because I’ve been bombarded by it every time I turn on the TV. From what I have been able to determine (and the fact that I have even taken the time to “determine” it speaks poorly of me), the photos are largely innocuous. She’s posing with a lot of skin showing (now there’s a photographic first!), and in one photo she is seen lying in her father’s lap. (INCEST! DEGRADATION! SIN! SHOCK! HORROR! PUBLICITY! CASH!)

My immediate question, and one to which I have been seeking an answer all my life, is why I or any other biped on the planet, should give a hoot in hell? People are out there starving. AIDS is still rampant throughout the world. We are engaged in two simultaneous and endless wars fabricated and led by a president who has done nothing but lie to and mislead the American people for eight glorious years. Gasoline and food prices are steadily climbing. Our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling. People everywhere are suffering needlessly. But take hope: Brittany may get visitation rights for her kids.

And I am expected to give a shit about uncensored photos of Miley Cyrus? Oh, dear lord, it is to weep.

But we humans are experts at the old “Oh! Look over there!” method of avoiding problems. We eagerly distract ourselves with inconsequential garbage. Better, I guess, to stare in breathless fascination at one maggot than see the entire rotting corpse. (Oh, my, that did sound rather harsh, didn’t it? Bitter, even. I do apologize: it’s just that, despite mountain ranges of evidence that I am a fool to do so, I expect so much more from the world than it is willing to give. And once I allow myself to start contemplating egregious stupidity, it’s a very slippery slope.)

I suppose it is human nature to sit in a sandbox with a little pail and shovel and build our own little mountains rather than to go out and try to climb the real ones that are already there, just as it is easier for grown men to go absolutely apeshit over today’s “big game” rather than actually get out there and engaging in some sort of physical activity themselves. It is far easier to distract and delude ourselves by fixating on things which, in the overall scheme of life, mean little or, more often, nothing, than to put forth the effort to do something constructive. And by becoming totally enraptured with the lives of others, we can ignore the fact that we have so little control over our own.

And I, who take great if perverse pride in ignoring reality, have just realized that the Miley Cyrus Syndrome shows clearly that I am not alone in doing so. The difference between me and most other people is that I admit it.

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