Home Americanism David Texting Goliath to Look Down

David Texting Goliath to Look Down

NYPD helicopters regularly wake me in the middle of the night.  Usually they’re looking for someone who accidentally shot a close relative while intending to shoot the person holding her by the waist.  This past week the police were hunting Seinfeld fans: Occupy Wall Street protesters – the silent majority, as Nixon would have said.  The majority that listens to Bob Marley and stands up for its rights but a majority which cannot quite decide which rights.  Either that or it’s a majority that enjoys being politely silent about its rights.

I thought it was only Romanians who enjoyed being bullied as a national sport.  Now I find this form of entertainment comes naturally to Americans too.  More exactly, it comes naturally to the American middle class.  Out of practice and out of breath, they would rather smile and hug one another.  True, this is a different style than the Romanians’ who looked very grim during the Ceausescu dictatorship, as they did in others before and since.  People here are bullied out of their homes, their jobs, their schools, their parks, then hunted down as if they were criminals.  And they take it.  Silently.  Which is another indication that the American Middle Class in unable to articulate a unifying message or find one voice.

By nature judgmental, I blame the age in which we live.  All we need is chic, and everything is chic if it does not represent you.  The rich pretend to be like the common folk.  Unlike the rich, the poor do not want to seem to be penniless.   Being poor is chic… for the rich.  The fashionistas dress down as if they were beggars, and buy clothes in tatters for thousands of dollars – fortunately, those clothes do not last more than a week or two.

 Pretending to be inarticulate and stupid must be chic too.

This chic inanity may well be caused by the way we use the Internet.  We read, we write, and we publish in a rush so we develop only half-baked ideas.  Too much to cover in too little time.

We invent parallel lives rather than rage (not chic) at our failures.  We create imaginary friends, and they come with pictures we can use to prove they exist to other imaginary friends.  In the process we erode our ability to distinguish between people we like and those we don’t.  We treat everybody as if they were the same and thus alienate those who might have stuck around.

We give thanks to Steve Jobs for the iPod but I blame him for my need to push people out of the subway – they cannot hear my, “Getting off.”

Let us stop pretending that we can manage feeling lost and forgotten. Being lonely sucks.  The Internet allows us to believe we are something else which often means not alone.  Twitter tells us where we can go to end our solitude.  It even tells us what to do when we reach the posted destination.  But we are humans and we cannot act like sheep for long.  To stick around and achieve something, we need first to have a face to face conversation about what it is we want to do at a specific destination.  To do that, we usually need to read and think about our reasons for engaging in a particular activity – that is, if we’re to move beyond the mere texting about feelings or throwing imaginary stones in anger.

David achieved something by throwing a stone.  But that’s the official story.



  1. Really enjoyed this one – particularly “We give thanks to Steve Jobs for the iPod but I blame him for my need to push people out of the subway – they cannot hear my, “Getting off.”

  2. I love this article. Very sophisticated and also literate. David and Goliath…good read

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