I Believe

I believe in the decline and fall of Western civilization, and I believe it’s good for a laugh or two. Everyone else can spend their time pointing to the poisons that clog the arteries of the modern world; I point out that poison can be something to giggle about.

All because of what I believe – that it’s funny when the center cannot hold. That it’s amusing when social institutions degrade, when civil discourse gets replaced by ubiquitous, instantly-available mobile communication.

I think it’s funny when corporate spending on campaigns balloons to the point where government has been purchased wholesale, because it’s a change that can’t be undone. Once a powerful entity takes political power, that power can’t be seized back by camping out in a park and having drum circles.

[pullquote]Once a powerful entity takes political power, that power can’t be seized back by camping out in a park and having drum circles.[/pullquote]

To seize power requires power, and this country won’t ever have another revolution. Why? We’ve got cable television. And cable television means we just don’t care. Not enough to take to the streets with our guns.

Which is funny. Not slapstick funny, unless a protester happens to step on a rake, or get hit in the nuts with an ill-passed Hacky Sack. Instead, absurd funny. That ancient amusement that comes into play anytime something is simply too ridiculous to accept – and yet true.

We surround ourselves with such absurdity today. And it’s funny. Provided you can get past your crying tears of despair long enough to look up and laugh.

I won’t change the world. None of us will. Instead, the world will change us. It always does.

I intend to witness that change and make snarky comments. It makes me feel good. What better reason to do anything beyond that it makes us feel good?

I’m not sure if cable TV makes us feel good, but it makes us docile, even as it sometimes feeds us pictures and facts about just how bad things are getting beyond our doors. A feeding that carries on even when things really aren’t so bad. TV is great at convincing you the safest place to be is right there on the couch. Can you blame it?

When you walk around campus and see every kid holding a smartphone to their head, or more likely, cradled in their hands as it feeds them delicious packets of information and entertainment, it’d be easy to be disheartened at the interpersonal disconnect on display. But it’s also easy to chuckle to yourself as they take on characteristics of electrozombies, shuffling from point to point, oblivious to the offline world all around them.

That’s my niche. I sit on the bench and observe the shuffling zombies. Unlike the fictional zombie apocalypses, this one rarely seems to necessitate a high-powered rifle and a fortified safe house. These zombies, you see, don’t want to eat our brains. Just their own.

The world seems intent on becoming a terrible place. I intend to find it terribly funny.

About Jared Kendall

A freelance data journalist and father of two, Jared Kendall has been using comedy as a coping mechanism his entire life. Born a Yankee, Jared's twenty-year stint in Baton Rouge still leaves him with one question: "Why'd I move here, again?"

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