Sunday, August 16, 2009

To Frank Rich August 16

Frank Rich wrote a very interesting column in the NY Times.
Here is a quotation from it.
It’s through this prism we might re-examine the raucous town hall eruptions this month. Even if they are inflated by activist organizations and cable-TV overexposure, they still cannot be dismissed entirely as made-for-media phenomena made-to-measure to fill the August news vacuum. Nor are they necessarily about health care. The twisted distortions about “death panels” and federal conspiracies “to pull the plug on grandma” are just too unhinged from the reality of any actual legislation. These bogus fears are psychological proxies for bigger traumas.

The column was about Mad Men, the 60's and 2009. I was too late to post a comment on the column so I post my thoughts here.

Wrong on bogus fears.
Yet right on bogus fears.

My husband and I sent links to a very funny blog, answers to health care questions, to many people we know. It was an extremely funny blog post. It was sarcastic irony at its best.
To our surprise, though why we were surprised I do not know, several people took it seriously. What has been and is wrong with our educational system? Or is it as a friend reminded me. “Just remember the average IQ is 100. Therefore about half the people are below the average.” (He was being sarcastic)

Many people do believe the “bogus fears” about pulling the plug on grandma and some government panel deciding who can have treatments for ailments. They already live with insurance companies doing some of this so the fear of government doing it is easy to accept. Grandma is told that she is sapping the younger generation, “your kids or grandkids”, by taking Social Security and Medicare. By the way, Grandma probably paid into the system for years and is helping support those "kids and grandkids". So Grandma may believe it is possible that some may well want to pull the plug. (Why is it Grandma and not Grandpa we talk about in this context?)

We have lived as if addicted to consumerism. Many of us who could afford it have not paid attention to our own health and expect a drug to “take care” of any problem that arises from it. More consumerism because of the constant barrage of drug ads. We are told over and over that our educational system is failing. Yet, there are no real answers forthcoming and most of us don't take time to demand real answers. And the kids in school hear that their schools are no good-so why stay in the system. We talk about our kids as products-consumerism mentality. Some of us buy things to learn how we too can be among the wealthy classes. We frantically purchase anything and everything. We now see programming on how to save money, yet keep spending, by purchasing things we don't need at discount stores or flea markets. We purchase goods from many of these discount stores that are made in China to undercut our own economy. At the same time we are told saving and investing is great, but then told by saving now we hurt the economy.

Yes, there are so many anxieties. Many of us are watching as the economy is in a mess. We fear, maybe it is a fear well-grounded in reality, the government is not paying attention to “we the people”. There is no government watching or regulating much of anything. It seems corporations and various industry coalitions have purchased control. Is anyone going to really do anything about “too big too fail”. Really do anything. The very air we breathe is in question. Yet, some of our government is saying we can't change now the economy can't take it. The debt to China is concerning at the least. The deficit and the debt are in numbers we cannot even picture or read. The TV media, and much of the print media, jumps quickly from “hard news” to the latest scandal from any sector-cultural or business or … Why? Because we, the consumers, want to forget all the anxieties we cannot control. And business wants us to keep watching and reading so they can advertise at us; therefore to keep us spending.

We do feel “Don Draper's disorientation”.


  1. The various news stories and articles that totally contradict each other and the people who will dismiss any evidence because it doesn't fit in with their view of the world; are frustrating at best. I often don't respond to opinions or comments because I know someone will call my comment false or without proof. The proof I bring will be dismissed as liberal journalism or bad science or what ever. Its like all of the health studies that contradict each other... Who do you believe?

    I am sorry that I haven't read your previous post entirely yet... I have been trying to find credible material for an article that I promised on my blog and that I have not finished yet... I hope to have time this week.

  2. I am happy to hear from you.
    Thought maybe you were on vacation.
    I am looking forward to your post.
    It really is a confusing time. I think too, so much more access to "news" is part of the problem and why so many tune out.
    I do agree with Mr. Rich that there are fears and many of them.
    I just wonder sometimes about the things people do fear. Reminds me of the old Orson Wells radio story. The one about the aliens attacking.
    I am sorry for many folks. Young and old, poor and middle class, as we go through these changes. Horse and buggy whip changes. We made it then and we will again. It just may not be pretty getting there.
    Thanks again for commenting.