It’s time once again for The Future American’s FAIL OF THE WEEK! Every Saturday, I name a person or group who has spent the past seven days behaving in a particularly idiotic way. Since it’s my belief that idiocy knows no politics, nobody is safe.
This week’s fail was brought to you by anyone who has ever engaged in the behavior I am about to describe. Many have been celebrities, but this is a widespread problem among normal people, and more severe since they’re neither expected nor paid to do it. The practice I am speaking of is what I call “random awareness”: generally apolitical people expressing their opinions of the mere surface of a political issue, and only when it suits them for whatever reason.
I was inspired to write about this when I learned that Madonna was planning to call out the Russian government for its anti-gay policies while performing there. Is it good? Is it bad? A more pertinent question is, will it matter? I am sure she believes fully in gay rights, but saying so at a concert will accomplish absolutely nothing. But the reason this irritates me isn’t even about the fact that it accomplishes nothing. She comes off as if she just found out that Russian society was less enlightened about homosexuality than the West – shocking, I know – and she saw an opportunity to speak truth to power or whatever.
But as I’ve said, random awareness is hardly limited to celebrities who want to look like they’re paying attention to the world outside their privileged little bubble. How often have you seen a Facebook posting, or an op-ed in a campus newspaper, or an intended-to-be-viral video that can be boiled down to “This bad thing is really bad”? How often have you engaged the creator of said post/op-ed/video and pointed out the deeper economic/mechanical/strategic story behind the bad thing? And how often have they had even the faintest understanding or interest of what you’re talking about?
I use the word “unimaginative” because the randomly aware are willfully incapable of political imagination. That’s because they do little more than skim headlines, looking for something outrageous to squawk about in a demonstration of the size of the shit they suddenly give. They don’t have solutions beyond “stop” or “the opposite.” They don’t have alternatives to those in power besides “someone.” It’s partisanship with even less thought behind it than usual.
It was said once that 80 percent of success is showing up. That’s not entirely accurate, in my opinion. 40 percent of success is showing up; 40 percent is staying there; and the remaining 20 percent is taking a solutions-oriented approach. The randomly aware have only made it to the first 40 percent.