This year I finally bought one of those mini souvenir Oscar statues that they sell all over Los Angeles. They’re fitted with witty, positively biting plaques such as “Best Stoner,” “Hottest Wife,” and “Coolest Cody,” (who the hell knows any cool “Codys,” let alone “Coolest”?). As truly…
The older I get, the less comfortable I am with putting my true thoughts and feelings about things online, at least in a manner any lengthier or more earnest than a tweet.
I think it’s because if time has taught me one thing, it’s that everything I think and feel will eventually evolve, and sometimes even change completely. There’s no such thing as having a static, comprehensive, fully formed worldview, with exacting ideals and positions on every messy question life has hidden for us.
I find myself increasingly put off by people who have strong, certain opinions on things. Authority is an illusion most of us try to project, or a hard-won mantle reserved for the rarified few who have actually earned it with patience, time and wisdom.
But in the endless static of the Internet, everyone is an expert so long as they voice their opinions loud enough to break through the clutter. I spent years doing this (and even worse, in the ultimately pointless realms of celebrity and popular culture), so I understand why it’s appealing. It’s easy to dismiss, to deconstruct, to find the flaws in everything. It’s difficult to empathize, to understand, and to grant even the most obviously troubled among us some small permission to exist.
I feel gross about always needing to chime in on the frenzied, hyperactive dialogue about what is Good, about who is Bad, about why this Matters when that Doesn’t. Over time, it all ends up sounding so pointless and obvious and stupid.
Anyway, that’s my opinion on opinions. I’m sure I’ll regret this someday, too.
But the country is changing. And this may be the last election in which anyone but a fool tries to play — on a national level, at least — the cards of racial exclusion, of immigrant fear, of the patronization of women and hegemony over their bodies, of self-righteous discrimination against homosexuals. Some in the Republican party and among the teabagged fringe will continue to play such losing hands for some time to come; this shit worked well in its day and distracted many from addressing any of our essential national issues. But again, if they play that weak-ass game past this point, they are fools.
America is different now, moreso with every election cycle. Ronald Reagan won his mandate in an America in which 89 percent of the voters were white. That number is down to 72 percent and falling. Fifty thousand new Latino citizens achieve the voting age every month. America will soon belong to the men and women — white and black and Latino and Asian, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, gay and straight — who can comfortably walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that they are in a world of certain difference, that there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions. The America in which it was otherwise is dying, thank god, and those that relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to whichever gated community from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance.