Monday, August 08, 2011

A return to bread and circus


Some people like to know what's going on in the world. They watch the news, read newspapers and/or talk politics at their local watering hole. I fit into this category. As, mostly likely, do you, seeing as you're reading this column.

There's also a group of people who have no desire to know what's going on – aside from the results from their favorite talent competition TV show produced by Simon Cowell.

Some days I envy that second group of people. Ignorance is bliss, after all.

I read the news today, oh boy. And all did not seem right with the world.

Our bond rating's been downgraded, despite the fact that we reached a last minute deal on the nation's debt limit. Stocks are tumbling because of the bond rating reduction. The price of gold climbed to an all-time high. Eight dead in Ohio. Rampage in London. A helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. And there was a firefight at a funeral in Saudi Arabia.

It seems the world is so surreal at times. All these things can't be happening at once. This must be a trial run for a new song by R.E.M.: “It's really the end of the world this time, we mean it.”

And I'd like to say that I feel fine, but I don't. It's all downright scary.

Maybe you think I'm being over-dramatic about the whole situation. And who knows, maybe I am. But it doesn't seem good, that's for sure.

Meanwhile, back in TV land, the American Idol crowd goes about their life oblivious to the cares of the world. As I said, I'm jealous. I kind of wonder if these world events don't affect them.

If a tree falls in the forest and you're not there to see/hear it, who cares if it makes a sound? But this isn't a tree we're talking about. And we're not in the forest. This is the world economy, seemingly on the brink of crumbling.

It's not like you can ignore the world into being better, right?

Or … could you?

The biggest problems in this country are still economic. And the best way to improve the economy is for us to all spend money. But when times are tough, we hold off on spending money, saving it for a rainy day, which ironically, increases the likelihood of rain.

But if we just pretended everything was alright, and spent all our extra money on concert tickets and football jerseys, that would mean more jobs, which would mean more money, which would mean an improved economic outlook, right?

At least that's my understanding of the economy.

Maybe the Romans were onto something with their bread and circus after all.

Maybe the best thing you can do this weekend is order some takeout and then watch some football at the corner bar.

I'm not sure if it will work or not, but it sounds like it's worth trying. It beats watching the stock market collapse.