by Jack Criss
I trust and hope all of you had a happy and safe Christmas and wish everybody all the best for the New Year.
In the spirit of the New Year, I thought it would be different to offer a few random observations and predictions for your perusal. Everybody and their cousin has gripes as well as ideas for what will be coming in 2014 so, hey—why shouldn’t I?
First, observations. And let me warn you: I’m feeling grouchy.
*I’m watching the Kennedy Center Honors recently on CBS, a black-tie and significant affair held every year to honor artists and their contributions. The President and First Lady are both in the audience, seated with the recipients, along with many other political and entertainment dignitaries. Musician Herbie Hancock was one of those honored which is all well and good and deserved: Mr. Hancock is a brilliant musician and very influential. But here comes the dreaded Snoop Dogg out to perform in honor of Hancock. Why, I ask, is a man who has produced and profited from hardcore porno videos, a known drug head, and all-around advocate of all things “thug” allowed in front of, and cheered on by, this select group of people in the audience? Yet another reason why I believe our culture is in the sewer and sinking rapidly every single day. Why sanction untalented morons like that aforementioned rapper on such a stage and platform? Pop culture has, apparently by neglectful default, become the only culture we have at ALL today.
*Two of the most overused platitudes this past year have to be “community” and “working together.” Most of us, indeed, do live in a community and usually work together with others at some point if not on a daily basis. In today’s usage, though, “community” has taken on a type of mystical, magical connotation when uttered by those higher souls who want to “better” where they live: the “art community,” the “vegan community,” the “urban community”—yawn. But, hey: Let’s all “work together” to make our “community” a better place! How best to do that? Well…it actually only happens when people pro-actively makes moves as individuals. To wit:
*Do your job as best you can. Be civil to others. Be polite and courteous. Put down the damned iPhone for two seconds. How about read a new book, perhaps by an author expressing a different viewpoint from your own? Call a manager to compliment instead of complain. Or do like I’m attempting and try—really try—to start thinking and taking a deep breath before speaking.
*And I suppose now we will all have to endure months of hearing about Robin Roberts sexual preference. Must everything now be public knowledge? This disclosure comes after endless coverage of her health issues over the past few years. I appreciate Ms. Roberts’ brave struggle with her cancer but let’s face it: MILLIONS of people deal with cancer every single day—as well as other serious problems—but don’t have cameras following them around in the process or write books about their anguish. I suppose ABC needs a ratings boost like A&E did recently with this revelation now about Ms. Roberts’ life. Whatever happened to private and personal matters? Yes, I understand the argument that by coming out about her illness and sexual preferences Ms. Roberts may be helping others. But perhaps I’m too cynical to buy into that reasoning. Catharsis as public theater is just too common today in our multi-media world; the cynic in me sees dollar signs for those who cry the loudest. If someone has been helped, that’s great. I just know it probably wouldn’t help me.
*Along the same lines, it now appears that what should be our most meaningful public conversations have been severely limited by the constraints of commercialism and sponsorships. Sound bites and squeezing in interviews between allotted advertising limits depth and meaning of dialogue. Watch any televised talk show if you don’t believe me.
*This year’s Super Bowl will feature Carolina vs. New England.
*Bitcoin will fail to make any further impact on financial markets or in the headlines.
*A newly-named American political party will emerge in 2014—and I think it will be progressive/liberal.
*The U.S. will probably send troops into another region of the world with a possibility of major entanglement. Yes, in the Middle East.
*Opposition to Obamacare will fade as the nation adjusts to the inevitable. Just like the income tax, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare…on and on…
There you have it—the first Mid-Life Criss of 2014. I hope you got something/anything out of the above.
Now—let’s go out and make 2014 the best ever. Happy New Year!
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