Tuesday, June 8, 2010

All the Crap I Learned in High School

The title is from a line in singer/songwriter Paul Simon's early-70s hit Kodachrome: "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all." Loved that song then, and now, and it came back to me in a wave as I listened to this pathetic exchange between Dee Dee Myers, former Clinton Press Secretary, and the regulars on MSNBC's Morning Joe. The subject was (are you ready?) the always present racist component to any and all criticism of President Obama. And on MSNBC, who'd of thought?

Maybe this'll tell you something about who I am: It is impossible for me to express just how fingernails-across-a-chalkboard grating it is for me to listen to a conversation of this nature. And I'm not referring to the subject matter, which riles me up too, but for another reason. Listening to these people talk brought me back to the early 1970s and high school student body meetings in which I had to listen to a bunch of middle and upper middle class white kids debate and lecture and posture about subjects over which they had absolutely no control. And they would do this with all apparent earnestness. I say apparent earnestness, because in very short order it would become clear that their concern about the subject at hand, if concern it was, was limited to the room in which, and the hour over which, the meeting transpired. This was amusing to me then. But unfortunately for me it didn't stop at amusing, it served also to make me more than a little cynical about this type of person, the type represented by those gathered around Joe Scarborough's table in the clip. EVERYTHING about it is "crap". Hence the memory of the song and the line from it.

I'm not nearly so cynical now as I was then. That early cynicism has mellowed and matured with age and has settled into a very healthy and reliable realism. And my realistic opinion of these people and their conversation: Crap!

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