After a big Thanksgiving Day meal (since I’m now a vegetarian, supporting my daughter’s efforts, this consisted of fake Turkey, kale, quinoa, asparagus and other foods that leave you starving) , I sat down in a comfortable couch to catch-up on Black Friday shopping fight videos. I was a little disappointed. Have you noticed that since Amazon has taken over the world, people shop less at malls, and, therefore, we have fewer fights and mayhem on YouTube?
Yes, I admit it: I’m a little white trashy. Since I’m coming clean, I also watched Rick and Morty with my kids. If you are unfamiliar with the show, it is an existential, nihilistic, inappropriate cartoon – mainly for late teens and weed-smoking, 20-something-year-olds, and adults like myself who fail to grow-up and act their age. I could redeem myself by saying that I went with my wife to see the opera at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, but I bailed out on her after having watched one with her in the past.
There is an upside to my bad habit, I had an epiphany! It dawned on me why most people in the United States are poor, have little savings, and are angry and unhappy.
To steal a phrase from the 2017 Presidential Campaign: “The system is rigged.” In this case, the system is the equivalent of Rome’s “bread and circuses.” We have created a culture that appeals to the lowest common denominator that pulls everyone down.
What do we value in our society—athletes, actors, rockstars, popstars, celebrities that are famous just because they are famous, and freaks who pop up and flame out.
You can name dozens of actors, musicians, and athletes, but how many scientists? Bill Nye the Science Guy and Neil Degrasse Tyson don’t count! Where are profiles on TV about the doctors who are working toward curing cancer?
We fight over our favorite sports teams, even though the multi-millionaire athletes couldn’t care less about you. It is socially acceptable to call the President horrible names just because you don’t agree with him. Scores of politicians, stars, actors, and comedians have been accused of rape or sexual harassment.
The top-rated TV shows are filled with violence, destruction, and zombies. Have you watched a primetime show lately? They are vacuous and inane.
We prize stupidity, nonsense, and trash. News shows are now shows of split-screen fights. Everyone is looking to out-crazy each other, so they get a 30-second video of themselves to go viral.
If someone happens to succeed in business, we suspect they are a cheater or crook, and can’t wait to knock them off their pedestal.
At a young age, we push kids to spend hours playing football, baseball, or dance, with the intention that they will get a college scholarship or become a superstar. The odds are ridiculously against them. Instead of a society that encourages studying, they are off playing a game so that their parents can live vicariously through them. Imagine if all the hours playing a dopey sport were spent on learning something useful? But that is the issue. We don’t celebrate the perceived boring stuff, like working hard, studying and responsibility. We love and idolize partying, drinking, and going wild.
Wouldn’t we be better off glorifying scientists, doctors, astronauts, business people, and teachers instead of arguing about NFL football players who are overpaid, pampered, wife-beating animals that become messed-up due to concussions?
On the college campuses, basketball and football players are gods. Don’t we realize they are playing a game? Shouldn’t we prize the kids who are studying to become doctors, lawyers, social workers, and teachers? No, that is too boring.
It takes great effort to shut out the noise and achieve something great. That is why most people don’t. It is too easy to get lulled into a complacent stupor of fast food, junks news, and the silliness that we all argue about.
I suggest that we stop, shut off the stupid, half-hour, comedies on primetime. Get off Facebook and Twitter. Focus on yourself and making a future. Tune out the noise and turn on your drive to succeed. Imagine how great our country could be if we reset our value system. No more Kardashians and lots more of scientists.
I will start. Every day, I will write motivating career articles. I will help people find great new jobs. I will shut off the tv and talk to my family. I will grow my business. If we all do this, our country would be unstoppable.
The downside is that the celebrities, rockstars, and politicians will have to get real jobs.
Fast forward through the holiday season, and we are leaving the office this evening, and will be celebrating The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday over this long weekend. On Monday, we celebrate the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America. We commemorate his values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service. Also, we appreciate Dr. King’s message of universal, unconditional love, forgiveness, nonviolence, and living up to our noblest values.