Note to self:

You need to start writing again here on the Guy Cicero blog. It’s good for you! Don’t expect that anyone will notice. Don’t expect “likes” or “attaboys” or great reviews. Just do it. Show your respect and appreciation for all the bloggers you follow who crank out their thoughts and creations weekly, or even not weekly. They have taken the writing bull by the horns and are riding it to self-enrichment and fulfillment, even when they are scared to death of being thrown off into the dust any second. Even then, get back on and grab those horns. Get your ideas out. It’s part of being really alive.

Chuck Todd on Meet the Press recently referred to the 2016 Presidential campaign as happening in the “post-truth world.”  Add this to the post-church world and the post-modern world, and what you have is a whole new world. Get on board, or not.

The very idea of a post-truth world sets my teeth on edge. Isn’t this a bit hyperbolic? There’s nothing new about news people making stuff up, right? Remember the Maine! (Citizen Kane) Boy sportscaster Ronald Reagan making up baseball play-by-play from newswire transmissions. Hildy Johnson (The Front Page) made up the news at a screwball pace.

Nonetheless, the very idea that Wayne’s World (Albania edition) is pumping out fake news just for kicks, and we’re buying it, is a bit much…isn’t it?

I cried when the country elected JFK over Ike’s man Dick Nixon. It’s true; I was thirteen and a lifelong Republican, or so I thought. The Democrats got lucky again when we elected their Georgia peanut farmer, (although he turned out more than OK as an ex-President), and later, a glad-handing, wanna-please-everybody, philanderer who just kept […]

Continue Reading...

adulthood

02/23/2017 — Leave a comment

I blame no one.

NPR ran a piece this morning on a school that teaches 20-somethings some basic skills helpful to running an adult life: money management, making a bed, etc. Some, according to the reporter, think this is coddling—that they don’t deserve to have someone show them skills that others see as basic, skills you shouldn’t need help with.

When I went off to college in 1965, my mom intentionally taught me two new skills: how to scramble eggs and how to iron a shirt. These both came in very handy. I’d be glad to teach them to anyone today (except for the shirt thing, who cares?). Just having these two skills under my belt boosted the confidence of a young adult who was to have his confidence squelched many times for many years.

So what skills do young adults need today? I mean they know about computers and social media and activism and cause-based organizations and the chemistry and artistry of craft brewing and their music is amazingly sophisticated and they care and know a lot about the Earth and bio-diversity and sous vide and civil rights.

But unless someone has shown them how to clean the lint filter, how would know that this is why their clothes aren’t getting dry?

I remember so well how mystifying the world was at 20-something. I blame no one for not being able to put air in their tires when no one has shown them how.

Never

02/06/2017 — Leave a comment

Never in my lifetime have I seen

So much, so fast, so soon.
Facts, ideas, opinions, innuendo,
Flying at me wherever I go to watch and listen.

Being 69, television’s child,
I remember Little Rock and Einstein’s dead,
and the Hungarian Revolt and Sputnik paranoia,
and Khrushchev in Disneyland,
and Selma fire hoses and Nicholas Katzenbach in Tuscaloosa,
and the funereal drumbeat,
and the Six Day war,
and Daley with a bullhorn and Kent State,
and the run-up to resignation (I just hated the Washington Post),
and helicopters over the embassy.

Lots of moments to ask
“What?” and
“Not that, too.”

But never have I seen triffids in the Oval Office,
making it look like any old room. Except for Clinton.

So many events have occurred on my TV that made me question
the viability and sustainability of the democracy.
Iran-Contra, the Bork and Thomas hearings, but not 9-11.

Because we are so many, all yearning to be free, and so driven
to speak out, and so diverse in our facts, ideas, and opinions.
That makes all the difference.

thucydidesJust about every day, I hear something on the news or Facebook, or in conversation that leads me to think, Wait a minute. Don’t you remember that….” whatever. And being a history enthusiast, even with all the faults and biases of historians (like Thucydides), I always like to replay in my mind the historical events I can remember that bring better understanding and, I hope, wisdom to my interpretations and imagined solutions to the problems and crises of the day. For people reading the same news who don’t know or remember the history, I feel sadness, and for the media, exasperation that they seem satisfied to spew headlines and leads that excite and feed our anxiety but fail to place today’s tragedies in context. We are left to cower, fume, and worry instead of pause, ponder, and prepare to be watchful for other news that might help us discern a trend, plan a response, or take an action that would get us engaged.

But, hey, the news is a business and not a public service, or charity, or “helping institution.” It’s on us to seek out the context and understand how this latest detail fits in a bigger picture (which they all do). Or cower.

He was called a poet from the start, and commented about himself, “I’m a poet; I know it; I hope I don’t blow it.” (I Shall Be Free No. 10, 1962). His poetry was a medium inside a medium, delivering mind-shaping ideas and observations that confirmed our suspicions.

The Guardian, 6 April 1965

 

globalization

09/05/2016 — Leave a comment

Get with it. Globalization is good for you. Well, most of the time.

Continue Reading...

frontierland

09/04/2016 — Leave a comment

File Jul 02, 8 14 11 AMI recently completed a vacation trip to California from Illinois, by car: Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada—and returning through Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Open spaces, not many people, an amazing number of wind farms —a very different experience from what you see east of the Mississippi.

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this country up close. There’s just so much land, ready and waiting to be populated. And things look clean and neat and prosperous…at least from the interstates. I imagined America one or two hundred years from now with our West transformed by a new economy and the movement of many millions of people out of the crowded East and into the land of the big sky and roaming buffalo.

But for now, it’s not that hard to see why this part of the country is mostly Red on certain maps. Out there, the land invites you to dream about having the space to grow into your potential, your own way—you and your family, or tribe, independent of big government, big money, big data, creating and living out your destiny expecting liberty and personal freedom to stake out your claim, build your homestead, and keep it safe and secure for generations. Oh, give me a home, where the introverts roam.

How different the open country and small-town America is from the big cities, or even the suburbs of the big cities, where life is dominated by the interdependence of things. We are completely dependent on governing authorities, institutions, and businesses for safety, order, employment, income, opportunity, education, growth, entertainment, and fulfillment. We crave being settled in, with our basic necessities provided for, or at least with somewhere nearby to find anything we need or want. The dream of personal liberty is still alive, for most of us, but is tempered by the recognition that we find ourselves in the greatest country with the most prosperity in the world, wrapped in the cloak of semi-invisibility, which is not a bad thing.

But immigrants and Silicon Valley billionaire wannabes keep the dream alive. If you’re still new to the USA, you have come to live the dream and may have learned that as gold-lined as the streets may be, you have to excavate and sweat and persist to get your share. If you are new to a sense of personal wealth, that is, you reside in imaginary Silicon Valley, you can touch and taste being rich and that keeps you going toward personal freedom nirvana where money gets you in at the golden gate.

Anyway, when you travel out west, you feel the independence dream again, and it becomes easier to see why big skyers and small towners vote for the party of Jefferson, the brilliant gentleman, intellectual, slaver farmer. If it weren’t for the electoral college system, these folks wouldn’t stand a chance to be felt in presidential elections.

I loved our trip out West, to frontierland. All Americans should get out of the cities once now and again to see how healthy and friendly communities can be, not that it hasn’t taken generations of community-builders to make the great ones great. But community-building opportunity beckons, once again, out west, young people.

 

I expect excruciating suspense from a Hitchcock movie, not so much from the presidential primaries. When will Trump followers finally say, “OK, we’ve had our fun. We didn’t think it would get out of hand like this. We didn’t mean it. We’re sorry.”

DBrooks-160318But isn’t this really something? I’ve been following David Brooks and a few other observers closely, and they’re clearly embarrassed, although they have nothing to be embarrassed about. No one, apparently, considered that America’s anger over a do-nothing Congress would translate to the Trump phenomenon. I’m still sure we’ll get it right in the end, do we look silly now. But fear not, for like a bad burrito, this too, shall pass.