Tag Archives: pessimism

A Dismal Future?

220px-Marvin_(HHGG)

Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (We already miss you Alan Rickman!)

Hollywood—so politically correct and socially conscious—loves to produce movies about a dystopian future. I admit, I’ve watched–and enjoyed many of them: Blade Runner, Terminator 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and counting, Mad Max 1 through nx, I Robot, Planet of the Apeses, etc. What’s the point?

 

Is Hollywood trying to convince us that in our world with global warming, bigotry, greed, corruption, and disease, things are only going to get worse? And they promote this in the name of entertainment? I suppose it makes sense. After all, this is an industry that insists on making more Adam Sandler movies.

Why not make movies predicting a future in which:

  • No one has to deal with the DMV. In fact, historians cannot even find out what DMV stood for.
  • Whenever mail (physical or electronic) includes an unwanted advertisement, it’s normal procedure to call the postal inspector—with every reason to believe that there will be an immediate arrest of the perpetrator.
  • Issues concerning climate, medicine, nutrition, are debated ONLY by experts in those fields, with minimum criteria for the validity of the data, hypotheses, and conclusions they reach. Soundbites would be based on these factual notions, and periodic updates would be published to reflect the peer review process. Celebrities without a PhD and current peer reviewed publications dealing with the question at hand need not apply.
  • Cute kittens would be adored by their owners but prohibited from cluttering the internet.
  • In the entertainment world, the media focus would be on the characters that actors portrayed, whether Petrucio, Spock, or Professor Severus Snape—not the actors themselves.
  • Blog writers would be universally revered as geniuses, giants, and heroes.

Okay, the last one was a reach, but I had to take my shot.

The Good Stuff

Some of the good stuff -Music by the Moody Blues

Some of the good stuff –
Music by the Moody Blues

As you may have notice, lately I’ve been trying to write humor. Something to just cheer people up.

I look at the online news (CNN, FoxNews, NBCNews, etc.) and they are full of nothing but doom and gloom. Worse still, the stories that are real downers stay on their pages for exceptionally long times. It’s like they’re trying to milk tragedy for all it’s worth.

I know that the media believes, “If it bleeds – it leads.” Murder, for example, is going to make the headline on page 1 of the newspaper, while the good things (if they’re lucky) will end up on the middle page of the Sunday “Living” section next to the ad for hearing aids.

Therefore, if you want to be famous – kill somebody. Otherwise, if you’re really lucky and work real hard, you’ll end up with the hearing aids.

The media isn’t going to change. Sadly, they’re not going to wake up one morning to overpowering guilt and shame, repent and try to do good things. However, they ignore the fact that long term, this is not an effective tactic.

The most experienced practitioners of these practices, the print media, are dying off. It used to be that cities would have two or three daily newspapers. If something extraordinary happened, they actually would stop the presses and print an extra edition. The cliché newspaper boy shouting, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” actually was real.

Today most cities have one and only one newspaper, and even those are at risk. It’s no wonder – the newspaper delivers the exact same information as what was on the internet the day before. Whatever the “wire services” (aka The Associated Press) decides to send out will be on CNN today and tomorrow in the morning newspaper – often word for word.

Of course, most people already got the “tweet” and so even CNN is providing second hand news.

News magazines are practically a novelty. If you’ve got a copy of Newsweek, put it in an acid free plastic sleeve and save it with your pristine copy of “Amazing Fantasy #15” (the comic book in which Spiderman first appeared.) The printed Newsweek may also become a collectors’ item.

Interestingly, not all magazines are at risk. I look forward to my monthly “Smithsonian,” “National Geographic,” and my technical magazines. Why? Because they make me think and they make me smile. My wife and I have real live interesting intellectual discussions about articles in “Smithsonian.”

“Make” magazine is full of things from basement inventors and weird and wonderful projects. Want to play around with a 3 dimensional printer – “Make” is the place to start. How about programming a credit card sized computer that costs around $30 to automatically water your plants? “Make” again.

Our kids love to learn, as did we when we were kids.

“Help me learn to ride a bicycle!”

“I want to take gymnastics!”

“Can you teach me some magic tricks?”

“Can I try soldering?”

My son recently asked us to teach him how to wash his clothes. I don’t expect that he’ll regularly take on this chore, but he was proud of himself for learning – as well he should.

This world is full of wonder and potential. It was designed and handmade by God himself. No subcontractors. No shoddy workmanship. “…and He saw that it was good.”

There’s lots of good stuff to learn and enjoy, and that’s what I’m going to focus.

Anybody with me?