Mursi Mursi Me: On Blowback, Self-Interest, Idealism, Long Weekends, Pain. And Bourbon

The world is disappointing. It almost always is. Sure there is beauty but overall, it’s disappointing. (The human world. Let’s make that clear. The world itself is stunning. Most of the time. Except on the drive between Montreal and Toronto. That’s the world’s worst drive.) It’s more disappointing for optimists. Or most disappointing. It’s probably least disappointing for cynics. Pessimists can never quite feel fulfillment. They feel satisfaction, perhaps constantly, because the world keeps confirming their view of things, but they are never happy. I say this because I’m imagining what it must feel like to be one of those brave people who called for the downfall of Mubarek’s regime in Tahrir Square in Cairo last spring. Politically, the result of the recent election, was entirely predictable. Of course the Muslim Brotherhood was going to win. These people had decades of pent up suppression to exorcise. But can you imagine being a young liberal, surviving the water canons and smoke bombs and plastic bullets of last spring only to see the Muslim Brotherhood win the election? Win everything? With the army, the army, basically pulling the strings everywhere?
This is what happens almost every time. The law of unintended consequences is the ultimate law in human history. How many Russians wanted to overthrow Communism and then get stuck with Putin?
We are all spitting in the wind. Don’t you think? I mean, think about all the effects, the myriad of things, that happened once the US and the West backed the mujahideen in Afghanistan. Against the Soviets. Think about that. We’re still getting spat on for that one.
This is not a political entry. It’s really about consequences. It’s really all I write about. The consequences of each and every decision we make. Intended or not. About the awesome march of history and how one little insignificant thing can change everything later. The Butterfly Effect. Yes. But also not. Humans are generally idealists. The brave Egyptians protesting against the Mubarek regime were idealists. Even though almost every semi-smart political commentator saw the election of Muhamed Mursi coming.
Idealism is easy. Thinking is hard.
It’s just that thinking isn’t all that fun. Idealism is though. Because it makes you feel better. It empowers you. It’s a way to find a tribe and then you can go yell at other people.
Some idealism seems benign. What are the Olympics but a vision of an ideal world? A very expensive, doped up, ridiculous vision of a perfect world?
Idealism doesn’t do anything for you. It’s just a blanket. But you can’t eat it.

Random thoughts:

1) I’m getting tired of people equating print with books. They are not the same. Ditto for magazines. Print is in trouble. Even profitable media brands are letting people go. Print is in big trouble. But not media. What’s happening right now is The Culling of the Boomers.
2) Every weekend needs to be a long weekend. I feel more productive squeezing everything in to 4 days. The three day weekend won’t ever happen, of course. Because everyone in Asia works way too hard.
3) Almost everyone in the world is in the business of selling something to someone. Have you noticed that?
4) There is too much serious in the world. I watch grown men seriously discussing other grown kicking a soccer ball around and I find it funny in a sad kind of way. Very few industries have internalized the ridiculousness of life into their fabric. Except perhaps fashion. Which is why Robert Altman’s take on it didn’t work (and you know why it didn’t work? Even the trailer is ridiculous. It’s so dated as to be prehistoric). The only serious thing in the world is pain. There’s a lot of it. Especially when we ignore it.
5) I’m not talking about country music pain. I’m not talking about the pain Existentialists felt while hanging out in the cool caf├ęs of Paris. I’m talking hunger. Extreme poverty. That kind of pain. Jerry Sandusky victim pain (which was enabled, I believe, by what I say above – college sports in the US is one of the most faux-serious things in the world – and another thing: Happy Valley sounds more like a really great Chinese restaurant than the site of a large state college).
6) Self-interest is the second worst kind of interest there is. After credit card interest.
7) When all else fails: bourbon.

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