posted Apr 10, 2007

I've chickened out on going to see The Last Mimsy. Subsequent reviews make me fairly convinced that the scriptwriters completely missed the point of the original story, or simply didn't care, and took the opportunity to turn a story of wonderment into yet another polemic about how the world is doooooomed. (Sure, in the movie it's saved in an utterly unbelievable way, but since that's not going to happen in the real world, it's just another Doomed World story, in the vein of Spielburg's AI.)

I can't tell you how tiresome this pessimism in our country is getting. Things are, by and large, pretty damn fine in the ways that most people claim to care about. The economy is quite solid, in that you have to go looking for reasons to be concerned. You can find some, but the balance is not in favor of the thesis that we're in trouble. (Unless you live in Michigan.) As annoying as radical Islam is, if we just had the will we have a massive advantage in almost every other way that matters. (If it weren't for the existence of nuclear weapons I don't think I'd spend much time worrying about them.) Every month our economy grows in size comparable to the entire yearly output of some countries.

It's important not to misunderstand my point. I'm not saying things are rosy, because they aren't. What I am saying is that the unrelenting tone of pessimism is unjustified. The future is unknowable and uncertain, and I'll freely admit that's somewhat stressful in some ways, but it's hardly doom and gloom in every direction you look.

The Easter weekend I was able to spend some time with a childhood acquaintance on furlough from a mission trip in Mali. Even as I am intellectually aware of the state of Africa, simply having a personal connection into it somehow brings it more alive, even if in some sense nothing he told me was really a surprise. It's a human thing.

Huge chunks of the Mali population live in mud huts, thatched with reeds. Now, to be fair, this isn't as utterly horrible as it would be where I live in Michigan, but nevertheless, mud huts. The simplest medical problems can present insurmountable obstacles. This is reality; even as you read this, millions of people are living this. Just writing that sentence nearly blows my belief circuits out again.

There's just something so horribly wrong with the wealthiest culture on the planet pissing and moaning about how horrible the future is sure to be, led by some of the wealthiest people of all (Hollywood elite) and fed by the most influential people (the media). Give me a break!


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