Wednesday, May 11, 2005


My sister Elena (or as you Illustration Fridays know her, French Toast Girl) brought a great book to my attention: Father Joe, the Man who Saved My Soul by Tony Hendra. In addition to knowing him from National Lampoon and Spinal Tap, I have many of the albums mentioned in the book (the two Beyond the Fringe Albums, and National Lampoon's Radio Diner, which features Hendra's own pants-wetting screaming John Lennon satire, Magical Misery Tour.)

Anyway, one of the conversations between Hendra and his monkish mentor details the finer points of satire. Hendra explains that we break up into two groups, that there's always an "us" and "them."

I've always seen this as one of the major problems with human beings on this planet. The point was brought home to me this past weekend. I was flipping and I came across an interview with Jeanne Garofalo on PBS. Though she was preaching to the converted, she actually made many good points. However, these points were overshadowed by her obvious seething hatred of all conservatives, Republicans, the Christian Right (bum dum duuuuuummmm) and all those in the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (or VRWC).

As with most people who see everything in black and white (at least in politics,) she seemed oblivious to the fact that those in the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy (VLWC) do exactly the same things as those in the VRWC. I don't want to hear about how Fox News is manipulating news stories unless you want to also talk about how CBS spins its news stories and uses false evidence to support them- and vice versa. The problem here is media manipulation, and it crosses party lines- or should I say, the lines of the media conglomerates that support their particular party's agendas.

Another example: One of my friends and former coworkers is a staunch liberal. Once, we had a conversation about the 2000 election. My friend went on and on about how Bush stole the election, what a travesty it was, that it was the end of democracy, etc. I asked him to tell me honestly: if the exact opposite had happened- if Jeb Gore was governor of Florida, if Bush asked for recount after recount (aside here- was Gore hoping to win best two out of three?) If Bush won the popular vote but the courts decided that Gore won the electoral vote- would he feel the same way? Would he be lecturing about how Gore had caused the end of democracy? My friend thought for a moment, and being the honest guy he is, answered "probably not." QED.

Please do not write in and tell me that you hate Bush or Clinton and what this president did isn't any where as near as bad as what that president did, etc. etc. etc. The point here is how we're desperate to split up into two camps over issues. (Scan down to see my blog about Terry Schiavo.) It then no longer becomes about the issue, it becomes about being against those who have the opposite opinion. For example, Miss Garofalo went on and on about how the VRWC have turned "liberal" into such a dirty word- then she went on to talk about the evils of all "conservatives," completely oblivious to the fact that she was doing the same thing!

So what's the solution, I hear you cry. All I can suggest is try to keep in mind that there are people in this world who have other opinions than yours. If you have a problem with an issue, then keep it with the issue, and not with the people who feel differently about it. Have respect for them as human beings. Actually listen to what they're saying and try to understand their point while their talking, rather than thinking about your own comebacks. Perhaps then the issues will become resolved, rather then getting lost in the mire of us vs. them. Start small. Good luck.



steve said...

Humans come first. Humans tend to forget that. To be perfectly honest, humans would probably only band together in harmony if an alien species tried to invade us from outer space. (and that species would probably only be invading because they would see us as not only a danger to ourselves but also a danger to the rest of the universe.) Humans hate each other due to isolation and rampant rumors. Just because someone is different looking or has a differing opinion doesn't mean we gotta become screaming heads. We sell ourselves to hidebound ideals (usually by tradition, not common sense) and then sell out everyone else to maintain those ideals. Goofy way to treat each other, huh ? Like I said, humans come first.

Anonymous said...

As a totally wierd note for the day: Not knowing you and "French Toast Girl" were siblings, I have you listed in the same blog group and right after one another in the list. Now I know cosmicly why. :>

Elena, FTG
Tony, IBEW artist guy