Wednesday, March 3, 2010

These Times ...

Lately, I've felt a little perturbed about the times. Three things put those vague thoughts and feelings about that into words.

The first was this review of the book
Next Man Up: A Year Behind The Line In Today's NFL by John Feinstein. In it, he quoted Brian Billick, the former head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. It appeared in the January 8, 2007 issue of The New Yorker:

Billick says grimly about cutting players, "Whenever I have to make these cuts, I always think about what Clint Eastwood said in 'Unforgiven': 'when you kill a man, you not only are ending his life, you're taking away everything he ever had or is going to have.'" The unhappiness that you feel among the (Baltimore Ravens) players is hardly the misery of the oppressed, but is something more familiar these days, the rancor of the near-miss. Why them and not us? is a radical question. Why the guy at the next locker and not me? a bitter one.

(I forgot to note the author of the piece. For that, I apologize.)

The second is from the blog It's entitled What Are You Even Doing, America? Here's the first paragraph:

The Way We Live Now: Ass out. We barely even know what we're doing any more. Stealing a bus? Living on the front lawn? Buying in before yet another real estate crash? It's a party!

The rest of the post was written in the same tone. Click here to read it.

The third is also from Gawker. It's about Joe Stack, the man who flew his private airplane into an Internal Revenue Service office on February 17 of this year in Austin, Texas. Click here to read it.

After I read all of them at about the same time, I wondered to myself: How fucking screwed are we? The bad economic times do not seem to be going away. There's a strongly vocal minority who opposes the president either for his policies, his race, or both. Add to that the lousy weather this winter. It's no wonder that I, along with many other people, feel somewhat helpless.

But when I think of all that, I think of this picture:

It reminds me of a famous quote from Candide, the satirical novel by the 18th-century French writer Voltaire. While Pangloss, Candide's mentor, tells him that "All is for the best in in the best of all possible worlds," Candide replies, "We must cultivate our gardens."

I cultivate my garden the best that I can. I hope you do the same.

There also is a quote by Shakespeare that's from Act 4, Scene 1 of King Lear:

And worse I may be yet: the worst is not/So long as we can say, This is the worst.

I believe that. I hope you do, too.

So take care, please.

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