Unanswerable Questions.

Last week, when Jeff and I were out on date night (for the first time since February), I found myself ranting about, of all things, football.

Specifically, I was ranting about how the NFL has seemed to turn an eye to players who do things like beat their fiancees in an elevator or abuse dogs or rape women, but then jump to the conclusion that someone is lying because he did not want to cooperate with an investigation about the pressure of a football in a game.

And then, the people who actually opined this same thought on social media end up arguing with the haters who, instead of acknowledging, yeah, our priorities are kinda screwed up, aren’t they? How do we fix this? they say things like it’s the NFL and he cheated, he should be suspended and you’re just saying that because you’re a Patriots fan and you wouldn’t care if it was someone else.

The irony? I actually kind of don’t give a shit about football. I’m kind of a fan: I watch most of the games during the season, but that’s mostly because Jeff and Owen love it, so we watch with our neighbors. But for me, football games are a convenient excuse to spend time in my kitchen and cook and then share awesome food with people who appreciate awesome food.

So really, it’s not about the football. Nor Tom Brady. I’ve been rubbed raw lately about most things in the media.

Because I felt the same way about the “discussions” people were having during the Baltimore riots, where they were yelling at each other over social media over whether or not it was okay to riot.

I felt the same way the week Bruce Jenner’s interview overshadowed the earthquake in Nepal.

I felt the same way when a nice couple from England got married a few years ago and, since the man happens to be a prince, immediately the world started wondering when they were going to procreate.*

I felt the same way when the Boston Marathon bombing verdict came in and the topic of discussion was the punishment the bomber should face.

I felt the same way when I recently saw the statistic that there are only two countries in the world which do NOT offer paid parental/maternity leave: The United States and Papa New Guinea.

I felt the same way when President Obama took office for the first and second time and watched as the rhetoric, almost instantly, changed to all the people decrying how awful of a President he is.

I felt the same way after Sandy Hook, when people were arguing over the fact that one mentally ill person with a gun is an outlier, and no more gun control or regulations are needed, because most gun owners are responsible, and it be awful if those responsible gun owners had a tough time getting those automatic assault weapons they want.

So really, I’ve been having a really hard time with the media and everything that goes along with it for a while now.

It’s just been recently that I’ve been feeling like one big nerve ending whenever I go online.

And I think it might be part of my Middle Age Crisis: I’m now acutely aware of just how fucked up this world is and how little power I have to change it. Consequently, I am struggling with the idea that my son will inherit all the problems I couldn’t fix for him.

Because wow, so many problems.

And the thing is: I don’t think our problems are necessarily bigger and more scary than the problems every generation has faced before now.

But I also don’t think we are in a place, culturally, where we can actually find solutions to problems. I feel like person who puts an opinion – or a even a solution – is put down by haters, who feel cheated that they will potentially lose out on one of their freedoms for a solution that won’t even work.

There are no perfect solutions. There are only compromises and trying new things and working together in the hopes that we’ll make the world a better place.

And all along, I’ve had this probably naive and idealistic belief in the sheer power of humanity.

If we got together, all of us, and really WORKED at finding solutions – real, imperfect, halfway there, let’s start the process kind of solutions?

We could do it. No question.

Except I don’t know if there are people out there who really are trying to find solutions. I feel like I am one tiny voice in a billion other voices all yelling to be heard.

So what do I bring to the table? Is there anything I can contribute? Is there a way to facilitate a real discussion via social media? How? Or am I just being too sensitive and need to buck up and deal with the fact that in the real world shit happens? Do I just focus on the good in people and don’t worry about all the yelling? Do I quit the internet and social media altogether? How do I keep a balance between knowing what’s going on in the world and not overly identifiying with the issues at hand?

Is this where I need to let go of the idea that I can do anything to effect change in this world? Should I instead just raise my child and live as happy of a life I can in my own little microcosm and hope it all works out in the end?

All the questions.

None of the answers.



*Admittedly, our own history with infertility makes me sensitive to ANY question about anyone about having babies. I own that. But still. Do we REALLY need to know that Kate is pregnant (again) or has given birth or need to see pictures of her maternity fashion?

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4 Responses to Unanswerable Questions.

  1. Turia says:

    My sister is a microbiologist- get her started on climate change and what’s coming down the pipeline, and it’s enough to wonder why we worked so hard to bring E. into the world. But she’s trying to have a baby too. Because we want to leave something of ourselves in the here and now when we’re gone.

    I have to believe that every small step helps. Otherwise, why bother trying at all? But I think we have to pick our battles. Tackling everything is exhausting.

  2. Ana says:

    Great post. SO true. I get frustrated and tune out, but then again, I know I’m not in the fray helping to get solutions either, so am I part of the problem? I try to take a balanced view, but my “balanced view” may be someone else’s shrill propaganda. I used to believe (didn’t we all?) that I WOULD help save the world, and now I know that’s unlikely to happen, but I’d like to find some way to contribute.

  3. torthúil says:

    Interesting questions. There does seem to be something about the internet that can make people nasty and unhelpful. It’s easy to lose sight of people’s common humanity and the probably significant number of SHARED concerns and values that get ignored when people disagree over something polarizing.

  4. noemi says:

    I haven’t commented on this yet because I really struggle with this stuff. I find when the Internet (and world) get like this (it feels like it’s becoming constant) I just shut down, retreat, stop going on FB or even online and just escape into my Kindle, into the neat and tidy worlds of fiction and memoir and stories that have already been told, most of them with a happy enough ending.

    Because I don’t think our ending will be happy. Not at all.

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