Unless you totally avoid social media, the news, talking to co-workers and never leave your bed, it is not hard to imagine that the world has truly gone crazy. It seems as though on a daily basis that violence erupts, some new scandal breaks and the lunatic in the Oval Office is tweeting gibberish.
Toys in the attic, I am crazy
Truly gone fishing
They must have taken my marbles away
Crazy, toys in the attic he is crazy
--Pink Floyd, The Trial
Police seem to regularly be shooting unarmed people on routine traffic stops. Others are shot by stray bullets as they sit in their cars or walk down the street. Hatred seems to be the norm. Tolerance is low on both sides of the political spectrum.
For the most part, I am used to odd behavior. Seattle's weather has always been a magnet for the unhinged. I walked past Starbucks yesterday and a woman stood with outstretched arms spinning slowly. A supersoaker water gun sat on the table next to her.
No one around her paid any attention.
The homeless seem everywhere. Tent cities crop up under freeway overpasses. There is hardly a exit and entry ramp onto a major roadway that doesn't have someone standing there with a sign pleading for help.
And bipartisan politicians point fingers at each other and slip through legislation that broadens the gap between the haves and the have nots.
I have been around long enough to know that the world is always crazy. Even growing up in Idaho violence would erupt in the most peaceful of settings. When I was five, my cousin's wife lost it and shot her five year old son with a shotgun for tearing up pieces of paper at the kitchen table. Then she did everyone a favor and turned the shotgun on herself and left her twin toddlers crawling through the gore.
And that was in 1963, the same year Kennedy was killed and his alleged assassin was gunned down on National television. The Missiles of October had brought the world to the brink of nuclear war just a year before.
You see, craziness is the human condition. It just took longer to get publicized before social media. Social media though amplifies it tenfold and creates this mad dog frenzy that sweeps through like wild fire before moving on to the next atrocity.
When I was in college studying Journalism, I wrote an essay on media sensationalism. I cited cases of a reporter simply reporting every crime committed in a given week and describing it as a crime wave. However it wasn't any worse than any other given week.
That is social media on a daily basis. It creates drama out of the mundane.
I could drop off the grid and ignore it all. But that is just like ignoring a full refrigerator after a week long power outage. The food rots anyway and eventually you are going to have to open the door.
The answer (if there is an answer...I'm not even sure there is a question) is to see the madness for what it is: life.
Call me crazy, but I escape the madness by watching my box set of The West Wing.
You are crazy.
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