Friday, February 16, 2007

America – The Driven Society

Okay, it’s the middle of February and we’ve already seen the Golden Globe Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Directors Guild Awards and the Grammy Awards. In a couple of weeks we have the Academy Awards, to be followed by the Country Music Awards and Emmy Awards. Haven’t you had enough?

Don’t forget the NCAA Football Championship, the Super Bowl, and the upcoming NCAA Basketball March Madness Championship. Of course Reality TV offers us a virtual smorgasbord of competitions including America’s favorite American Idol, Nashville Star, the top chefs, models, designers, nannies, adinfnitum.

Let’s face it, America is obsessed with competition, with the strong beating up the weak, with a win at all costs and with an arrogance that we can be best at anything. Even our leisure time is spent watching an endless string of competitions on television, at games, kids soccer, cheerleaders, even when it comes to SAT scores. There are probably more heart attacks watching these competitions than at work.

The result, baseball’s home run champions are on steroids, tracks stars are on drugs, and now NASCAR champions are caught cheating with their cars. Do we ever stop trying to find a way to enhance performance illegally? Well, okay, maybe Viagra is a legal performance enhancement but most methods are not.

I often wonder are the millions of fanatics watching so they can cheer for the winners or ridicule the losers? Why do we get so worked up over sports, or entertainment? To find the answer I turned to the Pointer Philosopher & Psychiatrist Hillbilly Joe.

Me: What are your credentials Hillbilly?
Hillbilly: I dunno.
Me: Sounds good to me. At least you admit it.
Hillbilly: Not on purpose.
Me: So what, in your learned loftiness do you think of the obsession with competitiveness of American society?
Hillbilly: It’s a by product, sort of the folly of the capitalistic system.
Me: Really?
Hillbilly: The inevitable conclusion of greed driven performance and a waste based economy.
Me: My goodness, that’s pretty deep Hillbilly. I take it you have some doubts about capitalism.
Hillbilly: I have no doubt it’s doomed.
Me: So what, in your omnipotent opinion, is wrong with our society?
Hillbilly: Too many people stopped nursing too soon, were raised by surrogate parents, were instilled with false ideals and were taught to worship gold, not realizing it was fools gold.
Me: So where did we go wrong?
Hillbilly: When you drive off the cliff it’s a bit too late to worry about where you went wrong.
Me: This is pretty serious stuff Hillbilly.
Hillbilly: Interview is over. Got to go watch Ghost Whisperers.
Me: Any reason in particular?
Hillbilly: Love that “Love”. She’s well equipped to handle the dead.

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