15 01 2010

Seldom have I had one of my own insights better articulated than this!

It’s a comment made by a reader to a newspaper column in which Paul Krugman spoke ill of the the bankers who got us into the recent near-depression:

“Ken H.
Athens, Alabama
January 15th, 2010
9:49 am
Your bemusement regarding the bankers is easily understood and well justified. You stop too soon, though. It is the American people who ultimately are responsible for the tragic economic tailspin that already has occurred and those that inevitably will occur in the near future. We live in a shoot-from-the-hip, fastest gun wins society. We glorify risk takers and shower them with rewards. We see ganging up on them through statutes and regulations as cowardly and counter productive. In fact, we live vicariously through their successes.

Ours is a make-believe world where the mighty are heroic. It is evident in our worship of Hollywood idols, sports superstars, and fictional super heroes that we constantly are seeking unrealistic saviors from an otherwise mundane world. Ultimately, we will not destroy such icons, even those whose flamboyant antics led us to our present crisis. Doing so would require a sudden attack of adulthood that just is not in the cards.”


As a passive person, I personally am so out of place here in the USA it’s almost pitiable. Here much is made of people who are temperamentally the opposite of me. Day after day, year after year, decade after decade it’s the same. I can never identify with America’s usual heroes.

Even when people get a debilitating or killing disease here they aren’t allowed to be described as “suffering from” the disease or, god forbid, just “dying of it” (if they are). No, the media always describes them as “fighting” the disease, as in “He’s fighting bone cancer.” What did he do to fight it exactly? Punch it out?

And of course there are the heroes with large parts of themselves burned off or otherwise traumatically missing who go on to make their mark in the public eye. I heard a story on the radio about such a guy (I’ll spare you the details of his disfigurement.) who did stand-up comedy several nights a week. Admirable! And I bet not one in a million other people so disfigured does anything like that. Those folks and their suffering and justified sadness are beneath notice, though.

I realize that people who accomplish unusual things are worthy of admiration. I just wish someone around here thought that the quiet and introverted were at least worthy of a little respect. The more retiring of us, including me, don’t accomplish much, true, but at least we do no harm.  Could those energetic, go-get-em bankers say that?

We quiet ones are the folks the go-getters go out and get. They energetically think of ever-new ways to extract money from us or lord it over us.
We are their sheep.