Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nattering Nabobs of Negativism!

Spiro Agnew wasn't right about much.  But he was right about one thing...

Spiro Agnew was famous for coining the term "nattering nabobs of negativism", which may have actually been written for him by William Safire.

At the time, he was describing the attitude of journalists, which by their nature tend to concentrate on negative events.  Negativism sells newspapers and increases ratings on TeeVee shows.  Positive news rarely sells - or gets people to watch.  And for this reason alone, it is a good idea to "disconnect" from daily contact with the media - through TeeVee, newspapers, etc.  There is little useful information to be had from the Nightly Nooze - and often what little information they provide ends up being flat wrong.

But beyond the negative media, many people are also very negative, on a daily basis, about most things in their lives.  Depression is part of this problem - people see the world as a horrible decaying place where everything is going wrong.  And their world-view is validated by the TeeVee which says everything is wrong, venal, corrupt, and evil, as well.

And when you talk to these sorts of people, all they can do is say how bad things are - and they want validation from you - that you think everything is bad as well.  Do me a favor and piss them off by pointing out the brighter side.  Who knows?  Maybe it will cheer them up.

Now granted, some people have a shitty life.  People in Southern Sudan, for example.  But even many of those people are happy - compared to well-off Americans.  Many people in this country are quite well-off but can find nothing else to do but bitch about how bad they got it.

As I noted before, I live on a retirement resort island.  Endless miles of deserted beaches, an historic hotel and restaurants, four golf courses, miles of bike and hiking trails, etc.  It is a beautiful place and mostly undeveloped - by State law.  You'd think people living here would be experiencing the equivalent of an endless orgasm, right?

And you'd be wrong. Most never visit the beaches or the golf courses.  They stay home and watch Glenn Beck and mutter about having a "Negro President".  They are deeply unhappy people and will bend your ears for hours about how the government is no good, the island authority is no good, and how bad things are on a resort island.

You read that right - they live on a resort island and think they have it bad.

Go down to Key West and talk to any of the locals there, and you'll get the same deal.

You see, no matter how good things can get for some people, they will always look for the downside.

The secret to happiness in life is to avoid these sorts of people and their negative world-view - which is one reason throwing away your TeeVee is a good start.

And it's cheaper than Prozac!