We are a nation of procrastinators, aren't we? Activism in the midst of a passive period, and that's a shame because activists, throughout the years, have been able to alter the course of history. They advanced civil rights for African Americans, they protected the rights of the worker, they saved the whales from being extinct, and they once kept "Spencer for Hire" on for a whole extra season. And, I'm a "big" Bobby Urich fan.
I don't want to get off on a rant here, but it seems the activism times they are a changing. Increasingly, we've become such a nation of self-obsessed "me" monkeys that most of us feel like we've done our good deed for the day if we pull over and make a complete stop when an ambulance passes. And also the tone of present-day activism seems to have turned for the worst. There's nothing more unbecoming than somebody who's pathologically rabid about an issue that, in the long run, is cosmically inconsequential. To the overzealous I say, "Stop being so selfish and work your rage out in your personal relationships like the rest of us, okay?" I'll be honest with you. There are times I'd like to shout, "Shut the fuck up and stop blocking traffic with your 'Save the Headlights' rally, asshole!" Sometimes . . . Sometimes it's hard not to think, "Hey, could I please just eat my Cherry Garcia without some aging Vermont ice cream hippies constantly reminding me how bad the rain forests are doing?" "Hey, boys, as far as the rain forest goes, does a bear give a shit in the woods, okay?"
But every time I go to turn my back on activism I remember that in the sixties a bunch of college kids brought about the end of a profane war and helped boot out a corrupt President. Activism got results. People felt empowered. The '60s were the "Us Generation." The '70s, however, were the "Me Generation." And the '80s? Well, the '80s were the "Me-Me-Me generation" where cruel got confused with hip, serious with smart, attitude with belief, and the Mercedes emblem with the Peace sign.
Now it's the '90s. We've gone from the Red Cross handing out coffee at floods to Ricki Lake and the freak patrol blitzing Karl Lagerfeld's office and chaining themselves to the Poland Spring dispenser. When did minks become more important than people? I've watched individuals in New York City step over fellow human beings laying in their own piss to spit on somebody who's wearing chinchilla. And now they pretend to spit on you if you wear fake fur.
How far are we going to go with this bullshit, kids? Now the mink is everybody's precious cause celebre. The Jack Henry Abbot of forest creatures. How hard could a mink's life be? He's wearing fucking mink! Trust me, if the roles were reversed, he'd be wearing your pelt, okay? ] So when you hit your knees tonight, thank your walking, upright god it played out the way it did.
Now to me, Paul Newman does activism the right way. Makes delicious popcorn, salad dressing, marinara sauce, and then he mentions it in small print that the profits from this enterprise are going to charity. He sneaks it by you instead of ramming it down your throat, running his whole operation with a truly cool hand.
Remember, there's a fine line between activism and just being a pain in the ass. But trying too hard is probably preferable to not trying at all. Believe me, we're all guilty of laying in the hammock, myself included. I'm about as societally active as J. D. Salinger during hay fever season because, quite frankly, it's a tad dangerous to get involved nowadays. There are forces of evil out there--powerful politicians, multi-national corporations, Dick Clark--that would love that would love for us to become complacent. The complacent, blond, Illiacuriarcan tribe from H. G. Wells' "Time Machine."
And does activism even make a difference at the end of the day? Is there a happy ending? Well, hey, I'm one of the more pessimistic cats on the planet. I make Van Gogh look like a fucking rodeo clown, and with reluctance, I will say this: When you get involved, most probably it'll suck for awhile. It'll be hard work with unclear results. But you know something? So what. That's life in all its glory. Life is not a movie. The right thing to do is to simply get in the game. The price of apathy is too high to pay. Remember "We Are the World?" You want to see Dan Akroyd singing again? If only to prevent something like that from ever, ever recurring, please, get up off your ass, put some goddamn underwear on, and go do something.
Of course that is just my opinion...I could be wrong!