The Problem with Passion

As I was watching the sultry and terrifying Christiane Amanpour lead a heady discussion (George Will is still alive, for the record) on my television this weekend, the programming surreptitiously morphed into local news coverage of the Occupy movement.

I saw cops beating students and professors at Berkeley.

"I'm so passionate about beating hippies! There's one! I must beat him! I have a job! I love my job!"

I saw an agitated cop recount a story of a protestor cutting an officer’s finger. The “attack” was somewhat exaggerated by the media, as it usually goes.

I heard the frustrated, ranting account of an obviously ex-hippie businesswoman near Occupy SF of how protestors were pissing and worse near her smallest-of-small business.

My only conclusion: People care much too much about stuff.

Sometimes that results in amazing ideas and things. Steve Jobs’ attention to detail is inescapably touted these days; without it, the buttons on the devices that engulf my life might be slightly larger.

Get my point? It’s all kind of meaningless. Most passion is horribly misguided, and that’s OK. That’s human. People just don’t think clearly when they’re passionate.

Maybe I’ve read too much Camus, but none of this really matters. We’re all getting worked up for no real reason. #OWS will be a footnote to a footnote (RIP, David Foster Wallace) in the great history of social upheaval.

People are willing to live outside in the cold to make a point, and that’s great. They can only do that right now because there are no better alternatives. If there was suddenly a surfeit of acceptable jobs and more equitable distribution of wealth in this country, they’d move back indoors.

In the end, and I mean THAT end, some protestors will say “Man, we kicked ass back in ’11 and really showed the world and effected change.” Some will say “Man, that was a waste of time; I should’ve been working and making two extra contributions to my 401k.”

Maybe I’ll say “Man, I should’ve been out there believing in something, doing something, anything, instead of just commenting on everything with my smug little blog.”

Maybe. But who cares?

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2 thoughts on “The Problem with Passion

  1. Anyone who has acted to the point of violence (police, protesters, trolls, etc.) loses all credibility in what they had to say since they can’t respect their fellow human being standing right next to him/her. Their passion dies in the face of the cold, hard truth that they just hurt somebody.

    Speaking of cold, winter is coming. I don’t think anybody, especially people on the East Coast, are willing to stand for hours in the freezing wind as they realize their bodily functions becomes more important than screaming vague messages at a nonexistent audience. After all, people do care a lot about things but they care about themselves the most.

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