Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Sky Is Falling…AND…The World is Flat

Will Rogers proclaimed, “All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that's an alibi for my ignorance.” The same could be said for almost everything going on line these days as soothsayers are crawling out of the keyboards, crystal balls in hand, while the rest of us sit poised by our computers, iPads, Androids or Smart(?)Phones waiting for predictions that match our personal predilections as we careen headlong into the "juicy" part of the 2012 skating season.

Keeping that in mind, I am constantly amazed at what people are willing to believe. In this era of “instant communication,” almost anything – from the most mundane to the most insane- seems to trend in a media frenzy worthy of the parable on lemmings. We’re ALL lemmings this time of year; especially me. We’re following the sometimes self-proclaimed social media “leaders” who regale us daily with their reporting-cum-editorial quips and quotes. Many are legitimate, educated journalists; most (like yours truly) are sometimes humorous, mostly wildly opinionated but relatively predictable pundits of the pond. It’s the preamble to the US and Canadian Championships, as well as to Europeans and 4CC; it’s very much like predictions for the Golden Globes, Oscars, Tonys and Emmys all rolled into volumes of frozen verbiage that occasionally resemble a giant Slurpy.
 With a very few, erudite exceptions, Skakespeare described it best in Macbeth:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Back to lemmings..
“You’ve probably heard the woeful tale of the tragic lemming, the small mouse-like rodents who, as the story goes, occasionally will spontaneously commit mass hara-kiri by doing a Greg Louganis off a cliff. This happy little parable is meant to illustrate how a lack of self-awareness and individuality can lead to a ‘follow-the-leader’ kind of mentality, even when that leader is taking his crew to a watery grave. Question authority, see the big picture, don’t just blindly follow, the story means to say. In short, don’t be a lemming.” (quoted from “The Lemmings Were Pushed.”)

Yeah, right. I’d like to say I resemble that cautionary remark. I don’t. I dare say - if you’re reading this - you don’t, either.

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