Monday, September 1, 2008

Yes, I was enjoying the drama (a confession)

I feel rather foolish about my last post. But I shouldn't, for greater minds than mine were writing about the rumors surrounding Palin yesterday.

At the back of my mind was this thought, "you were enjoying it." Yes, I admit it - I was. I was enjoying all the drama, the intrigue and the possibility of a huge scandal erupting. I have never bought a National Enquirer in my life and perhaps twice (really) opened one up while waiting at the supermarket. I don't even read mags like People. So, what was up?

I blame depression. I kid you not. I had written four blog entries in the last two days about how depressed I was and immediately upon posting them, I took them down. I was sure that my readers didn't want or need to hear any more on this subject (at least for a while). While I decided that being brutally honest was my intent, I thought that it was rendering this blog more boring than it had been previously.

And then Sarah Palin came unto the scene. What a great distraction! The weirder the stories got, the more distracted I became. I (almost) completely forgot that I was so depressed that I'd been sleeping all day. Last night, I stayed up unto almost 3:00am reading blog afer blog and finally quit reading after I found one mainstream media source that gave some credence to the rumors, or even mentioned them (see the post below).

Where a few weeks ago, seeing a hummingbird at the feeder would have raised my spirits, my spirits had sunk so low that I needed increasingly bigger doses of distraction to pull me up (or to keep me awake).

I wonder, in a nation of depressed people, is this why we love scandal and reality TV shows so much? I have never understood the appeal of any of these things. I think I'm on to something here, truly. What better explanation is there for our collective love of other peoples' misery and intrigue?

In any test you might take to determine your level of depression, there are always questions like "are you less interested in things than you once were?" or something to that effect. Depression zaps both ones' ability to stay focused and ones' interest in anything. Think on this for a moment - no one (that I know of) has given one good reason why we have an ever increasing societal penchant for distraction, whether that's in the form of following scandals, watching television shows about intrigue (both real and manufactured) and violence (but not the violence of the "real" news). I see a clear link between this and our collective emotional state.

America is depressed. Some of us know it and feel it and some of us haven't a clue. I am sure there are some who aren't (and I bet that Obama is one of them). Perhaps this is one reason I have cried when I've heard him speak - the audacity of hope is something that every depressed person needs, desperately.

And I'll say this about Sarah Palin (as much as I don't want to say anything remotely positive), I would bet she's not depressed either. McCain - I'm not so sure about him. Not only do I think he may be depressed, but I think he may be in the early stages of dementia. So, chirpy, pretty Palin is a respite for the conservatives. In this way, in spite of everything about her that is such a totally insane and inresponsible pick for VP, she was a good choice for the spirit.

At the moment, I'm quite sleepy, and feel I'm not giving this topic the justice it deserves. More another time. I just wanted to put this idea out there and see if it flies.

Image Note: 1950's comic book cover. While not completely relevant to the blog topic, I note that there seems to be as much (or more) fear about the imaginary than the real in this country.

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