barbie by andy warhol
I find television very educational.
When somebody turns it on, I pick
up a book and go to another room.
It's late January, early February, the temperature is hitting 60. Weekly rain instead of snow. Scientists are saying global warming is a fact, like evolution is a fact. It's been common knowledge since the 70s, then the Reagan Revolution denied global warming and evolution as policy, like it's a matter of opinion, and now people tiptoe around those words like editing profanity in front of a preacher. Republicans don't approve of global warming, evolution, what have you, like Baptists don't approve of certain words and are quick to tell it. People who know these slow processes are the case prefer to stay out of shouting matches with the ignorant over the obvious. When a liberal parrot I know remarks about how wonderful the weather is, I like to say, "Bring it on, global warming." Faces fall making the transition from unconscious to conscious, "Don't say that."
I'm too old to be around adherents to Political Correctness. I refuse to be a robot or to talk like one. I suppose it's a fashion like tshirts that say Abercrombie. It gets more and more interesting observing American culture that changes from generation to generation. The fashion of the New leads us through the changes like it's all about fashion, keeping up with the latest. Don't want to be left behind. It's like a school of fish that swims this way, then that way, all of them changing at once. Generation gap first came out in the open along about the Sixties when it was discovered since the 50s that pop culture was changing so fast the belief systems change from one 10-year generation to the next. Political Correctness came in as a belief system since I was beyond school age, out of touch with the newest, the latest, the cool. After I had passed my own age of conformity and was well into my own age of non-conformity, I see PC a generational conformity issue that other people adhere to. I hear the young define themselves "very liberal," and I wonder what that means. Very conformist? Willing to believe anything to be cool? In this time of change, cool is the guiding light.
I used to think I could get along with any nationality, any generation without knowing the in-words and phrases that characterize one a member of a generational belief system. Mine was to crawl under the desk in case of atomic bomb. Long hair on men is a sign of a certain generational belief system. Men with button-down collars signal a certain belief system. Women with hairy legs signal a certain belief system, same as women with smooth legs signal a belief system. In my freshman algebra class was a contestant for Miss South Carolina. She spent the classes looking at herself in her compact mirror. Her appearance bespoke a certain belief system. Only the talking heads that worked at the tv stations had that clean a countenance, like children dressed up for church. By now, I don't believe any more that I can get along with any kind of people and different particular people. It's not that it's not possible, but that everybody takes their own culture, their own language, their own belief system to be the apex of reality. That puts a stop to communication with somebody before it starts.
The biggest gap I have with everyone else is that I stopped watching television in 1965. Since that time, television has become American culture. I am on the outside of that culture, unplugged. Right there says I am of a different belief system from everyone around me. I don't want Television-think for myself. I don't want television in my mind. I'm talking about commercial television. Videos of films are the same, to me, as going to a theater. It's not full of subliminal suggestions that I spend money on this, that and the other that I don't want. A film that is a good work of art does not fill my head with notions that I need things I can't afford, that who I am is not good enough--only what I am matters, and it not much, because I'm not on tv. As a result of living my adult life without television, I've become quite different from the people around me. I'm definitely not cool. Have never been cool, though there was a time in the life I could put on a cool veneer for a short time, but not any more. Don't want to any more.
I'm coming into the place where I understand why older people I've known have been so withdrawn from social activities, unless to go to a Ralph Stanley concert. I've come to the place I only have a short time left, and prefer to spend the social time with my friends, people I care most about, who care about me. I don't see any point being around people I know I cannot trust. And I sure don't want to waste time with people who judge me for not adhering to the codes of political correctness. I don't care that they judge me. The problem is, they bore me. I've become the old turd of the county. I could hope for no better position. It's time for me to stay at home more and spend my social time with my friends, instead of being judged for absence of political correctness. There is a very great deal in this world I can live without, and political correctness is near the top of the list.