Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Pretty Lady is not imagining things. There have been a greater than average number of blogosphere meltdowns lately, even for the blogosphere. Folks everywhere, including Pretty Lady, have been scooping up their marbles and going home.

Darlings, let us face facts. We are all terrified.

We are all terrified because we see news every day that our financial system is crumbling around us, taking our homes and livelihoods with it. We are terrified because the government is trying to fix the financial system, and governments in general are not particularly good at fixing things.

We are terrified because it is now too expensive to fill up our vehicles and drive to someplace safe and bright and calm. We are terrified because every day we hear reports of terrorism, nuclear proliferation, torture, and more ill-advised and half-baked military intervention.

We are terrified because the price of food and water is rising precipitately. We are terrified because our jobs are going to India. We are terrified because health insurance premiums are rising, health benefits are dropping, and millions of us are uninsured. A few of us are even terrified that the art market will collapse.

A salient characteristic of terror is that it causes one's universe to contract. Formerly expansive, curious and tolerant individuals start to Lash Out. Primal bigotries reassert themselves. The Other becomes the Enemy, even when he was your friend the day before yesterday.

At the moment, darlings, none of us can fix this.

So Pretty Lady recommends a holiday. All of you, please leave your computers at once. Go on a news fast. Ride your bicycle to the Botanical Garden. Build a fountain. Go to yoga class, or church, or synagogue, or the Zen center. Refrain from discussing politics. Bake a pie. Try out a new bean recipe. Work in the garden. Go to the beach. Do fifty pushups.

The world will still be there when you go back.


Anonymous said...

My inner demons became about 60% more docile the minute I declared a full news ban. I don't listen to news on the radio. I don't read news online. I don't read newspapers. I don't even read the little headline ticker on fancy elevator screens.

It really helps. You are not missing anything good. You are missing despair, sadness, loss, horror, fear, helplessness and other things that are VERY BAD FOR YOU.

As for folks who are scared about economic meltdown (including me), this is what my saner voice has to say:

We will be OK as long as we have each other. We will be OK as long as we nurture each other. We will be OK.

I know this. I know this because my country of origin ate itself and we came through it.

I know this because my mom and I came to Canada with exactly $72 between us, with all our savings seized at the Sheremetievo airport. We came through it.

Times are always weird. Societies are always in flux. Unintended consequences have been biting us at the ass since man poked fire, said, "Glurgh! Hot!" We'll make it. So long as we take care of each other and stay calm, we'll make it.

Chris Rywalt said...

Oddly enough, I've been following your advice without meaning to. I've been barely checking blogs lately.

My father told me today he doesn't watch the news any more. "As someone wise once said," he told me, "If you don't watch the news, you're uninformed. If you watch the news, you're misinformed. I'd rather be uninformed."

Anonymous said...

" We'll make it"
Unless we don't. Some of us make it and many do not. I'm not under any illusions that I, personally, will be one of the ones who does make it. And I'm not so sure that "we" as a country will make it either.

But I did go to yoga today, and it was good. Because as long as we're still alive, we may as well make the best of it.

Nancy said...

Come read the garden blogs...we're a hopefull bunch who plant trees and perennials and seeds...

Anonymous said...

"Unless we don't. Some of us make it and many do not. I'm not under any illusions that I, personally, will be one of the ones who does make it."

Dude. You sound so determined to keep it grim. By that logic, none of us will make it. We're all gonna die at some point

I am talking about making it in broader terms. Survival of self-respect, love, altruism - those things are up to us, and we CAN keep them, in good times or bad. If we do, we have made it. And even during bad times, people have choices and some power to help each other. And even bad times get better. Everything changes.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to rain on your parade, spatch. I applaud your good attitude. (Seriously; I'm not being ironic.)


Balhatain said...

I don't like discussing politics because people tend to speak in absolutes these days. It is almost like I'm in college again... people not wanting to associate with you if you don't follow every view that they have and all that jazz. Emotion is getting in the middle of everything.

Wollf Howlsatmoon said...

Excellent advice. I just returned to my office after firing a few hundred rounds at the range.

I feel much less terrified now....

Spatula said...

"I don't mean to rain on your parade, spatch. I applaud your good attitude. "

Lol. I would like to thank the Academy, my Mom and liberal doses of anti-depressants :-D

Anonymous said...

Gotta love those meds.
Don't forget your hairdresser!
Lols all around.

Anonymous said...

I am not affraid...

Anonymous said...

This was remarkably prescient considering what just went down at EW. It's comforting to hear that there's something in the zeitgeist and it's not just me one inch away from a rampage.

I read something comforting this morning my Verlyn Klinkenborg.

Anonymous said...

Well, there is the heat. It's about 95 in NYC. Franklin, if you added a meltdown to this, it would be intolerable! (I know you're not in NY, but a major rampage can have a ripple effect. Help stop global warming! Don't have a meltdown!) I send you soothing karma, karmically. But what do I know? I'm dumb like an assemblagist.

A friend used to say, "it's not the heat, it's the humanity."


Pretty Lady said...

Franklin, after reading that EW thread (after he closed comments, or I would have simply pointed out that I am dumb, and I am a painter!) I highly recommend a long bike ride, fifty pushups, a long shower, and inducing Supergirl to take a half-day off work. I do believe your hormones are peaking. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Are people really so terrified, PL? I don't feel terrified, I feel exhilarated and alive. How else to meet this world? You will tell me please if I am shockingly aberrant.

Anonymous said...

I spent the past weekend in the middle of the Ozark mountains, curling up in patches of dappled sunlight like a cat and hunting mushrooms (both edible and extremely deadly. I wonder what a few grams of Death Angels will bring me on Craigslist?).

Your advice is a bit late, but nonetheless perfect (as always).