(This post is entirely editorial in perspective and content.)
I have felt for a long time that we are talking about all the wrong things.
People focus on the other people. We focus on the banal concepts that give allow for conversation rather than discourse. We talk about the weather. We talk about sports. We talk about the boss' daughter's overpriced wedding. We talk about the Kardashians and other obscenely unimportant gossip of the day.
The ibid and common quote goes: "Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people." And in my experience we have all become small people.
I admit that I have become as guilty as most anyone, being a regular observer of dlisted.com as one of my daily web visits. But I also ascribe to a higher aspiration. I also visit cnn.com, politifact.com, and thedailybeast.com as a point of daily ritual and intent on seeking relevant news and information for my daily input. (The latter of which is HIGHLY UNDER-RATED, and in my opinion should be high on most people's list of informative sites, as it seems to encompass most any political and social view in features and editorial pieces.)
The fact is that we as a people have become far too complacent in ourselves. We scrutinize the latest update on the impending royal wedding in England (Something that we are not invited to, and doesn't even impact the U.S. economy, aside from raising airfares to Europe for spring 2011,) and the latest update on espn.com about the most current sports scandal, (which will serve no purpose other than to be further divisive to drive up ticket prices for our chosen favorite teams). Does it impact our daily lives? NO. Does it influence how I am going to make ends meet on an annual basis? NO. Does it do anything other than inflate or deflate my opinion of myself and or my opinion of the celebrity or sports affiliations I tend to root for? NO. Meanwhile, we're not teaching people about ACTUAL civics, or math, or important concepts of language... Why just this week, I LITERALLY (YES, LITERALLY) had to take twenty-five minutes out of my unemployed day and explain to someone in their late 30s (who makes $40 an hour) how cause and effect relationships work... I'm not kidding. This person is nearly 40, and I had to spend nearly half an hour explaining what cause and effect was, and how it operates in language theory and reality. Yet, I am the unemployed idiot, and they take home upwards of 80 grand a year. (Do the math.)
Like I said right out of the gate... We're talking about the wrong things.
Politics. The economy. Money. Job satisfaction. Quality of life... If we delve into these topics on more than a surface-level basis, they are considered TABOO! We don't want to upset anyone. We don't want to rock the boat. We don't want anyone at the office to talk about their pay grade or benefits package for fear that someone else is catching a raw deal. We might imply that we are open about these things, but we're not. This politically correct atmosphere we've established as a cultural norm is something that is running us into the ground and damaging people's lives along the way.
We're not talking about the person who is assisting the dentist cleaning my teeth... she might only have a high school diploma and some limited in office training. I don't begrudge her the job she does, but I do take issue with the fact that she makes more for turning on a machine to sterilize the instruments going into my mouth and taking notes on a chart than someone with a college degree in social work who spends their days going into poop houses and supervising visits between child molesters and the kids they abused.
Think about it.
It should enrage you. I'm not just talking about dental assistants. I'm also talking about Hollywood starlets, celebutantes, agents, marketing directors, cash-flow analysts, unionized auto workers, finance magnates, celebrity chefs, Las Vegas pit bosses, and a thousand other jobs... I could very easily spend my time memorizing a script and decide I am better off improvising a few lines, or looking at a chart and saying, "Yeah, that's likely to be profitable" or saying, "I'm calling my agent and getting a cover on US Weekly about a crazy pregnancy rumor!" I could easily screw in five bolts per car on ten cars an hour. (Hell for $80 an hour, you can step it up to 12 cars an hour and I'm pretty sure I still wouldn't complain too loudly!) I could spend years in a kitchen studying the exact conditions necessary to yield a perfectly cooked steak and how to pair it with pan seared scallops and a potato puree that would make your mouth water. I could stand and watch people deal cards and decide when a player is getting too hot and costing my boss too much money that we need to switch out the dealer and the cards... And I could get paid obscene amounts of money for any of it. But I don't. And do you know why?
I didn't think it was worth tangible value. And there are others out there too!
They don't get paid obscene amounts of money for what they do because teachers and policemen, and firemen, and public defenders, and social workers went to school and decided that people were their currency. (Hell, there are greens keepers that make more in a week than a public school teacher makes in a month!)
I don't mean that they trade in people... That's slavery... Highly illegal and generally frowned upon pretty much no matter who you talk to.
I mean that we consistently culturally value the wrong things. We value the wrong things because we are focused on and continue talking about all the wrong things.
Don't get me wrong... I know that those movie stars are making $20 million a movie for their efforts at entertaining the masses while teachers and social workers are touching just a few lives at a time... But how hard are those Hollywood actors working for it? I mean how many hours a day do they have to put in to figure out that a specific line isn't working, or that their character is going to be more believable to a mass audience if they weighed 140 lbs rather than 95,(or vise versa depending on the role). That's not rocket science. You know who should be making that money? ROCKET SCIENTISTS! (Or engineers who figure out how to make a zero emissions car, or people responsible for educating the next generation to enter the work force, or UN peacekeepers...etc.)
Basically I think we need to be far more concerned with where this country is headed than the weekend box office returns, or the next new gaming system? Do you know how many hectares are in an acre? Do you know how many sides a dodecahedron has? Do you know what bodily systems are most impacted by hypoproteinemia? HELL, DO YOU UNDERSTAND CAUSE AND EFFECT? For example; The cause is, "We are culturally concerned with ALL THE WRONG THINGS!" What is the effect? -- To be determined.