Resolutions for 2013: I promise to stop being a dick and shut up about Belle & Sebastian
There are a lot of super-serious things happening in the world, and while I feverishly absorb all that our 24-hour news cycle has to offer, I never relate to anyone who emotionally processes this stuff. This year I've written stories on gay-pride protestors, not tipping waitresses, and racism in society, all with the emotional detachment of a severe autistic with a junk-habit. I find these things fascinating, not troubling. I understand why other people are troubled by them, but when a pop-star ODs or a Republican congressman uses the term "legitimate rape," I'm not flustered, I'm titillated.
When celebrating Barack Obama's election victory last November with some friends, I couldn't rouse the same zest for the situation as they could. This was partially because I refused to vote this year, but that's not to say I wasn't happy for Obama or fairly optimistic for his presidency. I was. But all I cared about at the time was if it was interesting. And it wasn't. Obama's victory was mostly predictable, and I think he'll do a good (boring) job in his second term. To be honest, a Romney win would have made the whole thing much more engaging.
The initial response to this paradox is typically along the lines of: Stop being a dick. But it's more complex than that. I often impregnate my ego with the self-appointed role of cultural economist, assuming a benevolence that transcends silly empathy, looking at the world like an Old Testament creator, feeling little for humanity's struggles or successes, watching people like lab rats with beard-scratching fascination when they push the wrong lever and get the electro-shock instead of the food pellet. It has to stop. And if it doesn't, perhaps this can at least be filed away along with Belle & Sebastian and shouting at bad drivers under the heading: Shut the fuck up about it. Or maybe I do need to just stop being a dick.