Friday, January 06, 2006

Give Me Back My Family!

Spending some time visiting my family and staying with my Grandfather. My Grandma died last Christmas; I was very close to her growing up; and so, I want desperately to hear about their life together. I don't think he's ready to talk about it though; they were together for almost fifty years, so it is understandable. I'm not pressing the subject.

But, this means that I have to listen to his thoughts on politics. This happens a lot lately- people want to talk to me about the news seemingly all the time. My Grandfather will read the paper, which he hates, and tell me all about their "liberal slant" for hours at a time. Every article proves this to him. Yesterday, he read me a news story about a local excavation for Civil War relics. "Listen to this: 'Archaeologists will be digging for the next two weeks. So far, they have recovered a canteen and two musket balls.' Do you hear that? You see the liberal slant, don't you?" Of course not. It was literally an article that banal. I kept my mouth shut.

I'm sure the media really is slanted, or biased, or stupid. But, I don't watch TV, or read the papers. And I also don't care enough about it to see it as some vast alien mind-control conspiracy. I read the wires, on occasion. But, half of my family reads the papers religiously, which they hate, and watch CNN every night, which they also hate. And then they all email each other the stories to make sure that they're right about reality being against them. They weren't always like this. They used to talk about gardening, and carpentry, and house building. Now, it's all about "the bums" who are trying to steal the country away from them. The family get-togethers are like the O'Reilly Factor. Every book they read and email they send each other has a title like:

"Traitors!: How the:
a) Liberal elites,
b) Hollywood elites,
c) Media,
d) Academic radicals,
are trying to:
a) Subvert
b) Destroy
c) Molest
a) Nation,
b) Culture,
c) Children,
d) Minds.

Always the front line of defense against straw-men. But, look- I love my family. Really I do. And I've never objected to their conservative opinions. I grew up in a die-hard Republican part of the country. Live and let live. But, was it always this way? Were people always unable to talk about anything else? Did it always consume them so? Were our lives always this empty? I don't know. Maybe there really is an alien mind-control ray...

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