Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | February 26, 2008

Fads . . . They Come And They Go

PeaceAt the risk of coming across as really “not with it at all” (which my kids already think is the case), I would like to offer a list of a dozen current fads that I wish would just go away so that we can go back to living life as it was meant to be lived—or, barring that, move on to the next fad. I have named each fad, and then offered a comment or two to try to put each into perspective and show that they are most likely not permanent marks on society, but merely passing fancies. Here they are in reverse order of importance, as I see them:

12. Social networking sites, e.g. Myspace, Facebook, et all. Do you remember when you used to meet people at school, at work, at social or cultural events, and through mutual acquaintances? If someone should ever unplug the internet, real social interaction might once again become a valued skill. It might be something worth practicing once in a while now, just in case it is ever needed—in a pinch, you know.

11. Blogging. This one is tough for me, because I enjoy blogging. But have we somewhere along the way lost the art of personal letter writing? There is something about putting pen to paper and putting paper into an envelope, applying a stamp, and dropping a letter in a mail box that is just not quite the same thing as “blogging.”

10. Text messaging. I hate this concept so much that I instructed my cell phone provider to remove text messaging from my phone. (It didn’t help their cause that I had received a couple of “spam” messages for which I was obligated to pay.) If you need to converse with someone and you have a phone on your person, why not just dial their number and talk? You will get much more accomplished in a lot less time. I don’t “get” text messaging at all. I guess that just makes me old. Do I sound like Andy Rooney yet?

9. Bottled water. Does anyone besides me remember when you used to turn on the faucet and the water came up directly from a pipe in a hole in your back yard? There has never been better tasting water (unless, of course, you had a lot of minerals in your water—in which case, just skip ahead to fad number 8). I have never been able to figure out why anyone would want to pay for something that they can get essentially free. Thankfully, this fad looks like it is starting to wind down—not over the scam of charging exorbitant amounts of money for “free” water, but because of the concern over what to do with all of those empty, one-time-use plastic bottles. Don’t you just love the juncture where pop-culture meets serious, whacked-out environmentalism?

8. Government solutions to all of the problems of life. This one really pops my cork. Government can’t do it all, and shouldn’t try. Have we stamped out poverty after all of these years of government programs? Have we eliminated illegal drug importation and curtailed the use of such substances? Have we captured Osama after many years of trying? The government can’t even balance its own budget, and that should be a fairly easy thing to do compared with these other things. Bottom line: Don’t plan on the government to bail you out when you get into trouble; you will be sorely disappointed—just ask the folks in New Orleans. Try a little self-reliance instead. It is good for one’s confidence, and it feeds the soul.

7. Accumulation of personal financial debt. Do you remember when they would smile and take cash at Sears or Penneys instead of looking at you in a weird way as they wondered what that green stuff was that you have in your hands? Credit used to be what the town grocer gave you when you stopped by for bread and realized that you left your wallet at home. Then you came back later in the day and settled up with him. I stopped at Menards the other day and bought a four-dollar pair of vice grips and they wanted to know if I would like to put it on my “Big Card.” I asked if four dollar bills would be OK, since I had them handy and it would take little effort at all to retrieve them from my back pocket.

6. Peace, love, and joy, a.k.a. kumbaya, or “can’t-we-all-just-get-along” syndrome. Somehow there is this sense that if we just make nice with countries around the world all will be bright lights and celestial joy. I have just two words for that: Neville Chamberlain. If you don’t know who he was, look him up. Here’s the link for you lazy folks: Neville Chamberlain. I think the opposite was proved in the 1980’s when President Reagan pursued a peace-through-strength strategy. We began seeing the benefits of strength and of standing our ground beginning with the fall of the Berlin wall, and continuing on to today, nearly 20 years after Reagan left office.

5. Health care crisis. What crisis? We have the best health care system in the world, accessible in a timely fashion by all—show up at the emergency room and see if they turn you away. We could opt for the government-run system that they have in Britain or in Canada?. But I think most Americans would prefer to have their medical problems resolved before they die? Granted, our system may need a little tweaking; but the need to tweak does not constitute a full-blown crisis. Private sector, free market reforms will take care care of the vast majority of the problems in our health care system very nicely. The more competition and price consciousness we have in the system, the better it will be for all of us. Shall we give it a try? Maybe we should start by having doctors post a price list for their services on their doors, sort of like restaurants post their menus outside their establishments.

4. The economy is in recession. It seems like everyone who is anyone wants us to be in a recession, but I sure don’t see it going on just now. Maybe if we try really hard we can get one going.

3. Political correctness. Isn’t it time to once again begin to say what we think instead of what we think people want to hear? You can’t make everyone happy, no matter how hard you try. And, in fact, you will lose your credibility if you try too hard.

2. Barak Obama. Like a lot of fads, he has become the basis for a religion, and he is on the verge of becoming a cult figure. The man has few ideas, and even fewer good ones; and he has no experience or qualifications for the job he seeks. I’ll grant that he can give a good speech. But how serious can you take a guy who says if you elect him president he will be out of Iraq within a year. I don’t know how he can say that with a straight face, when he knows it is not true. In the realm of foreign policy, that will not happen, no matter who becomes the next president. When Obama does talk about foreign policy, it is in terms that are reckless at best. He is willing to sit down with the likes of Ahmadinejad, Castro (I guess that would be Raul now), and Kim Mentally-Ill with no preconditions, and with no expectations for a favorable outcome from such meetings. Even Hillary Clinton knows that this position is absurd. Personally, where Barak Obama is concerned, I will not be drinking the Kool-Aid, thank you.

1. And that brings me to the number one fad today: Global warming. This has quickly become a religion and, indeed, a cult; and Al Gore is the Grand Poobah well on his way to becoming deity. Like every other fad, though, I predict that this one will run its course and fall into disfavor. Where I live, this is the coldest, snowiest winter in a number of years. In fact, February will be the snowiest month ever recorded here in Western Michigan. More of the US is covered in snow today than happens in “normal years.” One of our local weathermen reported on his blog that “the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, has published the news of the increased ice cover in the Arctic. You can read the article here.” Arctic Ice Cover And if you don’t want to read the article, than take a look at this image of the arctic ice cover in February 1980 compared with February this year. The purple areas indicate the ice cover. To this untrained hack, I see no difference, except for a lot more white in this year’s picture (is that snow by chance?). And yet, we are to believe that the arctic will be ice-free in 20 years, and coastal cities will be covered in many feet of water. This fad/religion/cult is, in fact, a hoax. That is the politically incorrect reality of the situation folks. Look for the onset of the next ice age instead, and you will probably be looking in that realm of possibilities that is closer to the truth.

And so you have it; my top dozen current fads that I wish would just dry up and blow away. Is it time for coffee yet?


  1. You REALLY should freelance and get paid for it!!! Have you ever submitted something like this to a magazine? It’s GREAT! 🙂 I actually did write a letter to a cousin today … it felt very … unnatural!

  2. Yup. Unfortunately I agree that only 1,3,5,8, and 9 are actual fads. Like it or not, Barackness (or those like him), doom and gloomness, “love-allness”, buy now pay laterness, and “let’s create streamlined yet confusing ways to communicateness” are here to stay.

  3. 10, 11, and 12 are technology fads. Of course, we will never leave these fads to move back to such things as letter writing (in lieu of email or blogging), but technology will change and things like text messaging, social networking sites, and blogging will morph into newer kinds of things that accomplish the same purpose, only do it better. Does anyone remember personal pagers, fax machines, diskette drives? We have moved on.

    Concerning 2, we will move on from Obama—though that might take eight years or so; on number 4, recessions will come and go—but the fad in this case is talking ourselves into a recession, which we can do just as well as talking ourselves into prosperity (e.g., much of the movement we see in the stock market at any given time is due to mass movement of the psyche, rather than changes in economic fundamentals).

    Numbers 6 and 7, I will concede, are not so much fads as they are grave annoyances. They are born out of frustration as if to say, “Will we ever learn?” To answer the question: “No, probably not.”

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