Thursday, October 20, 2005

When you really stop and think about it, blogs are idiotic.

It's true. I read somewhere that a new blog is created every second. I'm sure there are plenty of nice arguments about how empowering it is that the media is finally in the hands of the people et cetera et cetera, but to me, this information is alternately incredibly ridiculous and severely depressing.

At the same time, I'm something of a paradox, equal parts idealist and cynic. I suppose that's how I came to write this particular blog.

And so it isn't a secret that I believe very strongly in populist causes. I work at a public school, I am absolutely smitten with the idea of public libraries, I support public radio even though the fund drives make me want to kill someone, I'm a proud member of a natural foods co-op, and I frequent a local bike co-op.

[Hark, and hear tell of how good a person I am...]

The point of the above is not to be self-congratulatory, though I definitely understand how it looks. In fact, I wrote an itemized list because I feel that community is more important than just about anything else in life (and that breakdown of same is the cause of many social ills, muggings and the nightly smattering of gunshots I've been hearing lately among them), and that maybe public ownership of good and useful things is a way of building strong community.

I know that I would love it if post-high school education was free and available to all Americans, and don't even get me started on health care, but those seem lofty and impossible (for now) goals.

I wonder if there are other, smaller steps that could be acheived in the meantime, other ways to build community (and to figure out what that even means or looks like, aside from some bizarre and abstract lefty phrase). I don't have any more ideas, and that's frustrating for me, because I feel like everyday I'm forced to peer directly into what's wrong with society, and I'd like to be more actively involved in figuring out how to do things right.

My wife rightly points out that we are in a stage of our lives (mid-college) in which it is easy to feel frustrated by these things, because we want so badly to be agents of change but first need to get to a place where we're able to do anything about anything, i.e. become degree-holders.*

I want to ask for ideas from you all (are you out there?) about ways to effect change in society and the world. The cynic in me wants to point out a couple of things, however: I live in Minneapolis, which is home to many well-intentioned hippy wingnuts. Often their causes look nice on paper but aren't necessarily practical. Either they only serve a very small community (who often share the same pale pigment) and are therefore not very comprehensive, or they are of the aforementioned lofty and impossible variety.

I should also mention that I'm not interested in joining groups like Acorn or PIRG. I want community, movements that don't involve canvasing. It probably sounds like I want it all but don't want to do anything, and maybe that's true - I certainly don't have much to offer in the way of time and money. Maybe what i want more than anything is to be encouraged. Can you do that for me?

*The degree-holder bit is based on the personal goals we've set for ourselves, not on what would certainly be a misguided belief that only degree-holders can do any good.
UNRELATED NEWS: someday i will make a clock out of an avocado (not sure how yet) and call it Clockamole and become very wealthy.

FURTHER UNRELATED NEWS: number of house majority leaders embroiled in scandal...
Bush Administration: 2
The Surly Vegan: 0

i am a very humorous individual.


Blogger Nathan said...

You could become a regular on the "Letters" pages of the local papers. You obviously like to write. Guess you're like Humpty that way.

I'm hoping that the serious problems faced by the airlines and automakers will be a kickstart for national healthcare. I fail to understand why this hasn't been a bigger issue with The People. In fact, I have a blog draft written on this but who knows if/when I'll ever post it...

1:08 PM  
Blogger the surly vegan said...

Humpty from Digital Underground?

I'll have you know that I have never gotten busy in a Burger King bathroom.

4:28 PM  

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