The curse of being smart dumb



Every day, I’m telling myself that if I don’t stop looking at the “news” - especially at so-called political blogs - and get angry about it I’m guaranteed to have my first heart attack the day after tomorrow. Unfortunately, I’m a bit underdeveloped in the will-power area of my brain - which, I guess, is good news for those people who come here to look for links to photography (other things I keep telling myself: Stop spending so much time for cool new photography online). Every day, I look at the “news” and at political blogs, and then I spend a good hour fuming, occasionally posting a little something here on this weblog. I guess you are used to this - you probably take this as the kind of quirks that are to be expected of those artsy types.

But what do you really gain from looking at what they offer us as the “news”? If you have a brain that’s more developed than that of a five-year old, what you get to see in newspapers, on news websites and especially on political weblogs is really quite sad. I especially detest the oh-so-popular “repeat after me” which has become so common now: If you don’t agree with what is supposed to be the consensus you’re… well, let’s just say it (and there are people who say this openly) you’re a terrorist.

Needless to say, with this kind of political discourse there’s no way we’ll be making any kind of progress; assuming, of course, that “progress” is more than just a theoretical construct - something I’m not so sure of any longer.

There also is no way for any person to keep whatever is left of his or her sanity, and that’s where it starts to bother me. In the end, I do not want to just ignore what is going on. Being German means I always have the big question in my head why people didn’t do anything seventy years ago when their country was sliding into the abyss that ended in an orgy of destruction.

You don’t have to assume that the circumstances then were the same as they are now to realize that that is where the problem is: What can or should the individual do when he or she realizes that the society he or she is living in is moving towards something that doesn’t look too appealing? Keep in mind that in retrospect, it’s quite easy for us to make a statement about the past - we have extensive knowledge of the past; but given our non-existing knowledge of the future it would be foolish to rule out anything.

That brings me back to where this post started: I sometimes succeed in ignoring the latest “news”, but eventually, I come back to looking at what happened, only to immediately regret it. It just keeps getting worse. The kind of people that we seem to be willing to sacrifice for our “security” now also include Brazilians in the London subway. It’s quite sad to see that most people don’t realize that maybe that’s where the problem is: As long as we think it’s OK to kill other people some of those other people will get angry enough to make an attempt to kill us. It’s as simple as that.

And you, or probably I should say: I can’t disconnect the stuff that I like to do (photography, amongst other things) from life in general or the larger picture or whatever else you want to call it. Because it’s foolish to think you can disconnect it; and as many photographers know, even if you’re just interested in photography, you’re suddenly restricted in what you want to do because of “security” reasons.

Hence, there will be the occasional post here about politics; and sometimes, there will be a few days of silence as I’m trying to reassemble my sanity after having looked at too much of what they call “the news”. That’s what you get when you visit the weblog of somebody who’s not dumb enough not to worry about where things are heading and not smart enough to figure out how to deal with it.