Near the end of a miserable year, we reflect on the immoral things that make us happy
I will be 68 next week. Being a PI for 4 decades I understand people better than almost all walking this planet. Regarding guilt; those who do not need guilt to do the right thing are often overwhelmed by guilt. And, those who need a a Big Gulp size portion of guilt, don't have a lick of it.
Buy a real, live tree with a root ball, in a pot. Plant it in the spring.
I agree with comments below - your work is first class, Matt. We all look forward to you keeping it up. It does sound like you could use a drink, however. Merry Christmas everyone!
Re your comment on the Unabomber and technology, as well as various norms falling into sudden widespread disrepute: I wonder in particular whether we reached a kind of human pinnacle in terms of technology at some point in the past and now it's in the rearview mirror.
Paul Newman used to race Formula 1 cars and had a buddy who did the same. But the friend eventually switched to stock cars. Newman was mystified by this and asked his friend why he abandoned F1 for the comparatively slow and heavy NASCAR alternative. The friend replied that the speed and performance were at a more human level, one that could be appreciated. I suspect something similar is at work with, for instance, Tom Hanks' fondness for typewriters over computers and keyboards. Or with the widely shared romance with steam locomotives.
As for media, maybe we got as close to perfection as we'll ever get with radio, teletypes and broadsheet newspapers. Or maybe early television. Certainly once cable TV with dozens or hundreds of channels came along, something was lost.
The Amish are pretty parsimonious with technology. Personally, I believe they've stopped well short of the ideal mark (though perhaps not). In any event, at least they devote some serious thought to what they should collectively accept and reject. Maybe we can learn something from that.
You remind me of my brother. Fir or Pine? Or?
Enjoy your real tree and don’t worry about vacuuming up all the needles. Leaving a few here and there will provide relief in good memories as you run across them throughout 2021.
Please take your own advice and enjoy yourself, Matt; you deserve it. Thanks for all you do. I'm looking forward to your insights, humor, and wisdom for years to come.
Gee Matt, it makes ya wonder how humanity made it this far doesn't it?
Or, as someone who is really hard to insult, it makes me wonder how humans became so amazingly whiny & self obsessed.
Personally I think some explanation can be found in virtual interaction. Human communication, I do believe, is somewhere around 10% verbal, the rest coming from body language, eye contact, gut feelings, etc. But humans, in their infinitely lazy, yet needy, wisdom now communicate primarily with blocks of words from a nice safe distance, thus starving the 90% of the brain that's usually used to judge whether something is true or not.
As far as aliens go, in the past, alien hunters used to postulate that the US government knows they're here but can't tell us because it would cause instant world panic. All religions & governments would instantly crumble.
In reality, the government now says the aliens are here and, for the most part, the information has caused a huge silent hum of complete disinterest.
It's similar to how all previous apocalyptic film & fiction, like the Walking Dead, completely missed the irrational fear of an unwiped bum that would grip a population of toilet paper hoarders at the world's end.
And the environment, always an interesting topic I suppose.
One of the shibboleths of the new religion of Scientism.
Every time I think of someone doing their best end times Chicken Little I'm reminded of a commercial from my youth. Some say it kick started the environmental movement.
In it, a Native American man canoes down a stream. Both banks are covered in trash.
The commercial ends with a close up of the Native American man's face as a lone tear runs down his face.
The Native American was played by a man named Iron Eyes Cody. Mr. Cody was a character actor who also worked as an advisor on Native American culture for Hollywood westerns.
Sadly, Mr. Cody's Native American heritage was, much like Elizabeth Warren's, completely in his head. In reality Mr. Cody was born in Louisiana to Italian parents. His real name was Espera Oscar de Corti. While his real heritage eventually became public, venerable newspapers like the Guardian & the Observer portrayed him as a genuine rarity in his obituary. An actual Native American who made his living in Hollywood westerns.
Except he wasn't & he didn't. So much for fact checking eh?
So now, whenever I think of the environment, I think of a movement that was kickstarted with complete & total bullshit. And I can't help wondering how much of today's environmental concern/fear mongering smells equally as stinky.
But hey, Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas to you & yours.
The same to everyone typing here.
Your columns have kept me at least somewhat sane this year, so thanks for that.
I once had a really nice parka from LLBean that had a coyote fur ruff on the hood. Can’t get that anymore. Now you get some synthetic that itches and whose manufacture has a serious environmental impact. To save coyotes, who are really plentiful and wreak havoc even in urban areas. And we have fleece now which was supposed to reduce the need for plastic recycling but now we know that every time you wash a fleece garment you release millions of tiny particles that now make up a certain percentage of our bodies. We can’t win. But thank you for the tree article. I always get a real one and don’t think about the consequences, even though thanks to you, I now know I am actually doing something good. But , I really wouldn’t care: I love Christmas for the traditional reason and for the food, drink, and company that I hope will return next year. Merry Christmas to you too.
I also feel guilt for every decision I make. A friend of mine is obsessed with decreasing plastic waste and started using bar soap for everything - including to wash dishes. Her dad told her to stop taking the joy out of everything.
Love this and looking forward to TK 2021!
Interesting comment Matt about micro aggressions. I'm a minority, a liberal and I just don't get it. Sometimes a person has to put on her big girl pants and just suck it up. Or he does. Micro aggressions? What's next!!?? Micro dirty looks? Humans are different to each other, there is no perfect fit. There will be micro misunderstandings. If someone is focused on micro stuff, they need to get a life.....
Kids are watching the Marx Bros. in the other room even now. Still holds up.
Unfortunately, this is the decade of the busybody. Instead of minding their own business, an increasing number of these tortured souls live to loudly point out our flaws, and tell us how to live our lives.
When I read your articles I get the same feeling I get when listening to Bob Dylan. It is a sober kind of acceptance of a screwed up world because at least some sense it made of it.
Have a good holiday and New Year. And thanks.
Real trees smell good. I always thought that accounted for their popularity.
I can imagine our next president as a boy leaning in to take an inappropriately long lingering moment with one back in 1952, an audible gasp as he exhales almost losing his gum, his mother calls him to a Christmas table heavy with food, "jeepers mom this sure smells swell."
Thanks Matt, we have so much to look forward to.
I'm lucky. Just paid $10, and was able to drive up in the mountains an hour away, walk up a slope, and cut my own little tree (must be under 10 ft, mine a tabletop.) I enjoyed the pristine air, snow filled with a variety of animal tracks.
During the holidays, I hope you can also enjoy the great American outdoors. Our society is in shambles, but we still live in one of the most beautiful countries on the globe, the 48, Hawaii and Alaska. And it's free to wander in. It's a gift to be simple!! Happy 2021!!