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When I Was Your Age

21 August 2012

Especially in election years, you start hearing about how things now are so much worse than they were before. Kids are stupider. People are more violent. Crime is higher. We’re under constant threat of… something or other.

It’s mostly a lie. Crime — especially violent crime — has been going down for years. and is now somewhere around the level of 1966 or so. Despite what you might see on the Internet. kids are actually pretty smart nowadays — studies have shown their massive texting habits have actually made them better with the English language than previous generations.

So why do we keep hearing this year after year? Why is everything always getting worse, and nothing’s getting better?

I can’t say for sure, but I can hazard a guess. There’s some part of our nature that wants to hear the bad news, that wants to believe that everything is horrible anyway, so why does it matter what we do? Why should we even try?

News networks know this, and they know that people will watch negative news — especially things that scare them — more than they’ll watch positive news.

So for today, why not think positive? Why not look for the good news rather than the bad?

*Apologies if today’s entry is a little more scattered than usual. Quitting smoking. Again.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 21 August 2012 1346

    I’ve noticed a total relationship to the level of tension on places like Facebook with how tense people are out on the streets. Most of us are safer now than in the past, but we seem more frightened than we’ve ever been…at least on some levels. Parents who let their kids play outside unattended so they have to learn to work things out are deemed bad parents by those who hover over their kids, solving their every problem. People come unhinged over every little thing and turn it into a battle. North Korea will soon invade, and only the WOLVERINES can save us!

    I read a thing today that Beloit College does every year, apparently…they look at the current new class and mention the things they never knew. Things like the current class never had airline tickets with carbon paper in them…stuff like that. And some of the replies I’ve seen go on about how spoiled they are and how dumb they are for not knowing the things generations before them used. And it’s sad because they’re the future, and I’m now “that generation,” the one slowly creeping its way into being in charge. We should be embracing all the cool stuff around us, including all the good news that IS out there.

    Sure, there are those who can’t name the vice president, but can name every winner of American Idol, but I remember the equivalent when I was younger. It’s just easier to see that kind of thing, now, because we’re all so connected. If you read nothing but the comments on a YouTube video, a Yahoo news story, or most places online, you’ll think we’re doomed as a species. But if you look around and open your eyes, there are so many people doing cool things. I look at the legions of fans John Green and his brother, Hank, have and it’s like, “Ya know, that’s an awful LOT of positive teenagers, there. They’re well read, they love science, and just as much as all that — they thrive on being positive.”

    I don’t watch the news like I once did. When I avoid “news” programming and social media and so many places where negative people speak out from frustration, I see a lot of great things. I’m not a Pollyanna, but I’m definitely a positive person, even when I may not have absolute reason to be that way. It definitely doesn’t hurt to step back and see the good in things. I will never deny all the heinous things out in the world, but to fixate on them is to turn away from the very things that can save us from Idiocracy.

  2. Christienne permalink
    21 August 2012 1419

    I agree there is a lie that is being told. It is the lie of fear. In many cases, a manufactured fear. Fearful people will do anything anyone in authority tells them to do, so that they may feel safe and secure. The tactic is to create an “other” out of our own neighbors and have us turn against one another, to engender mistrust. The tactics is simple, and if you take a short view of history, has been used with great success.

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