hold that thought

7/25/10

Tessa once said something to me that has resonated for about ten years now. I was having a terrible time at my Internet Job, continually feeling like the Marketing department was going out of its way to make me look bad, rendering me ever-mindful that the axe was about to fall (the half-and-half had already disappeared). After a particularly nasty day of passive-aggressive bullshit, I came home and Tessa calmly said, “you know, just wait it out… pretty soon the person making you miserable gets fired, or moves on. No matter what, the situation always changes.”

The person in Marketing left nine days later. Which, of course, was a coincidence, but the point stands: pretty much every state in America says “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. Buddhist say the same things, only they don’t have to.

It’s especially hard to take when you wait it out, and discover you were horribly wrong about something. As much as it pained me to put it in writing, I had to utterly retract any invective hurled at the Dook lacrosse team for assuming they did it. In more global matters, the New York Times kinda sorta apologized for printing a bunch of bullshit that helped shape the case for the Iraq War.

And now we’ve got two news events that show, once again, how waiting a few minutes for the weather to change can reverse everything. The Shirley Sherrod episode is a goddamned embarrassment for the White House and further proof that right-wingers begin to lie when they open their mouths to breathe. But the Toyota craziness is even more dramatic.

PriusOdometer(bl2).jpg

It turns out that there was NOTHING WRONG WITH THE PRIUS AFTER ALL. Billions of dollars and a destroyed reputation later, every single Prius “uncontrolled acceleration” was shown by the onboard computers to be driver error – the drivers thought they were pushing the brake, but they were actually flooring the gas pedal. Which happens in every car, regardless of make and model. ‘Cuz people are dumb.

There were some previous issues with the floor mat – which we had known about (and dealt with) sometime in 2006 – but all those Prius and Lexus stories? ALL BULLSHIT. Remember, this led every news broadcast for months. Prii were being sold at discounts, and Toyota was pilloried for being a bunch of dicks.

It makes you wonder how to teach your children constant skepticism without rendering them immune to empathy, or at least, impervious to excitement. It seems like every piece of information merits commentary:

“Well, BP is actually lying when they say that, honey.”

“It sure looks like that guy is guilty, sweetie, but do we ever really know?”

“I know it seems like everyone’s getting hurt on accident this season on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, but just wait a few months – there might be a producer scandal going on…”

6 thoughts on “hold that thought

  1. Neva

    I think I have learned another way to adapt to these situations… find the good news.. the silver lining so to speak. Now I am driving past BP stations in the lovely Sasha, my shining silver Prius that I bought at below invoice and laughing loudly!!

    Reply
  2. wottop

    The dook lacrosse team is stil full of self-righteous twits, so I wouldn’t feel too bad. They may not have raped anyone, but the racial implications of the party were not to be ignored.

    Reply
  3. Bud

    My mom used Santa Claus to teach me about different levels of meaning.
    I guess I was about Lucy’s age when I finally SAW Mom and Dad putting the Santa presents under the tree. I had long been skeptical (to say the least) about Santa.
    Mom saved Christmas artfully, explaining that, while there might not be a LITERAL Saint Nick going down everybody’s chimney, there was a Spirit of Giving that was very real, and that spirit was A LOT more powerful than any one fat guy in a red suit could ever be. And the coolest thing was, EVERYBODY could be part of that spirit.
    Actually the coolest thing to me right then was that I was still going to get the presents I asked Santa for, but I’ve never stopped thinking about the implications of a universal Spirit of Giving – or of a conspiracy so vast that practically everyone was part of it.
    I think it’s important to be skeptical and to teach kids to be skeptical. “What are they selling?” is a vital question to ask about any piece of information. “Are they telling the truth?” “What are they NOT telling me?” That line of thinking helps to separate objective reality from subjective spin.
    It’s also important not to lose a sense of wonder and it’s true that it’s hard to do that in a world where everything is suspect and where simple truth is so much less common than happy horseshit.
    But if pretty much everyone in the world can be Santa Claus, then I think anything is possible, especially wonder.

    Reply
  4. John Galt

    Amazing; so “The Shirley Sherrod episode is… further proof that right-wingers begin to lie when they open their mouths to breathe.” So terribly myopic today, dear Ian. Did you so quickly forget the Dan Rather’s 60 Minutes reporting during the Bush years? Or… Don’t get me started.

    Reply
  5. Ian

    JG: Yeah, well, the Killian memos might have been crap, but the story surrounding it was not. GWB’s “military service” is a well-known sham. Rather was right, but not careful.

    Reply

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