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July 27, 2004 - 2:23 pm

EXTREME!

While itís true that I feel like I relate to only about 5% of the population as a whole, I honestly donít feel that Iím the one whoís out of touch. (No, the irony of that last statement is not lost on me.) I think Iím just not EXTREME! enough to be part of my own generation.

Everything today has to be labeled EXTREME! to be worthy of consideration. We have extreme candy, extreme animals, extreme sports, extreme beverages, and extreme SUVís. On close examination, however, most of these things are not really extreme at all, and I feel sorry for the suckers who think they would actually put down the bong long enough to climb that mountain if they only ate the right flavor Powerbar. EXTREME! is the new middle ground.

One notable EXTREME! trend that leaves me more sick than sorry is the tendency toward extreme political viewpoints, which are really just partisan rhetoric and generally not well supported by facts, experience, or practicality. Open your mind to the other side of the debate and strengthen your own side. Being able to empathize with an opposing viewpoint gives your argument resilience like a tree that bends in the wind rather than snapping due to inflexibility. And donít rail me for my ability to see more than one facet of a controversial subject. Itís called rational thinking and itís why we donít wage holy wars.

My fellow Gen-exers, this is a call for the boring old-fashioned Centralism of our Founding Fathers. Get your dogmatic asses out of your SUVís that you never take off-road, and start thinking for yourselves instead of letting your tattoos and eyebrow rings, your flag (rebel or other), your gun, your sex, or your political party do all your thinking for you. Go out on a limb: be complex.

Itís okay to be a pro-life environmentalist (that makes sense, doesnít it?); donít be ashamed if you are a pro-choice member of the NRA (that makes sense, too, right?); go ahead and proclaim yourself an animal rights activist while wearing your fur coat (if you can pull that off, Iíd like to meet you). Whatever. Just think about what you are espousing and whether youíre really coming at it with a clear understanding of both sides of the argument or just being a jerk.

Like the violinist Jasha Heifetz said, ďNo matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other.Ē

~Samantha

recommended:
reading -The Constitution of the United States of America
viewing - Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
listening -"Teenage Riot" by Sonic Youth

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