Thursday, February 16, 2017

These Old Walkin' Shoes: A Pirate Looks at 40

I turned 40 a couple years ago. I had a big party and they tell me it was a very good time. But, now that I’ve entered my 40s, I’ve officially become old according to every teenager on the planet. While I don’t feel nor act old, I do have some questions firmly from the Land of Curmudgeon. There were some questions from childhood that have yet to be satisfactorily answered.

I grew up watching the Jetsons. I want to know where our flying cars are? How about robot maids? Sure there is the Roomba, but can that really be considered on par with Rosie? They had houses on stilts, way above the ground below, and could make them move up and down depending on their needs. Of course, they lived high in the sky because of the nuclear wasteland below, so maybe we don’t want everything from the Jetsons. Wouldn’t we all like a monkey changing records with an extinct bird providing the needle?

Star Trek: The Next Generation was another show through my formative teenage years. It was a virtual reboot of the original series, although they disguised that by referring to the original team regularly and making it years and years later. The original communicators became our first flip phones. The pads used on TNG became the first iPads. I’m waiting for the first holodecks to come out. I have a big attic.

Do you want to know why I really liked that show? It was because we all got along in it. Sure, there were issues with other beings from outside the Federation, but human all had gotten over their pettiness and were able to come together for the advancement of the human race.

When did it become a weakness to be polite to each other? We have this beautiful thing called the internet. It could be a wonderful thing. However, we abuse it, using it for cheap porn, bad games, and making fun of people. We’re really good at that last one. Maybe too good.

There are a lot of keyboard warriors out there and they come out in droves when there is any political article that invites comments. Of course, members of both parties attack the other with reckless abandon. We see terms like “idiot” and “moron” screaming out of the gate. Too soon, we get the clever little phrases like “libtard” and “repugnacant.” And things just go downhill from there.

Recently, I had a chance to discuss the current administration with some friends. Additionally, I’ve read some comments about the same thing. This has been especially true with the nomination of the Secretary of Education. There are many people who think she is wrong for the position. And then there are some people who attack those people and counter with, “I support my President.” I want to assure you that you don’t have to agree with absolutely everything the President does. You can still support your President and still disagree with some of his policies. It’s totally okay.

Heaven forbid you attempt to quell the fires of hatred. Introduce reason into an argument and all of a sudden, you’re a tree-hugging hippie, or you’re called a “snowflake.” Compromise has become a dirty word, and even mentioning it will bring a shower of disdain and derision. Yes, it has become the new American pastime to insult anyone who doesn’t think the same way you do.

I had hopes that someday we would get to the point shown in the Star Trek episodes. I guess we have to hit rock bottom before we can find ourselves finally able to live with one another without ad hominen attacks. Meanwhile, if I smile at you, it doesn’t mean that I’m creeping. It means that I’m happy to see other people. Either that, or its gas.

I still want flying cars. I still want a faster-than-light space vessel like the Enterprise. Really, I want one of those a lot. Hanging out on Risa for a week or so could be a ton of fun. I’m sure there is a bunch of nice going on there.

Craig Bacon thinks it’s okay to disagree. He doesn’t think it’s okay to be rude while having a difference of opinion.