Joy in the crowd

It’s hard to recognize a feeling without turning it into a story. It’s hard not to believe a story told with such feeling. When we’re helpless and uncertain – if it were up to us, we know what we would do, by golly! We like to see people like us, saying what we’d sure like to say. We like to cheer ourselves on. Get out of our way, we’re taking charge now!

This makes it easy to create new media stars and politicians, since a handful of people in three or four companies can draw all our public attention to anyone, just by showing a few pictures. And they do. We have very famous figures today, taken seriously by thoughtful individuals, who really are as dumb as your dumb next door neighbor. They make us feel good. We’ve always secretly admired their belligerent single-mindedness, standing behind them in the checkout line.

There are others who worry about this, thinking¬† complex problems might require difficult solutions. Maybe they’re on to something. Various blow-hards were advertised, calling for thoughtless knot-cutting, in an appearance of conflict during the last election campaign. The screaming subsided, and both parties acted hastily to bolster the monolithic state.

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