Perhaps it was nothing more than a good way to avoid work on the first few daze back after vacation, but the idea of Popular Doom caught the attention of a lot of people. Last night, however, we had this wonderful essay by John Oliver at the Daily Show that I have to bring into the discussion, if for no other reason than to ride his coattails:
Even Better Than the Real Thing
His basic argument is that nostalgia for a “simpler time” is nothing more than nostalgia for being a kid – a time when everyone took care of everything for you and you didn’t have a lot of stuff to worry about. This may take a few leaps of logic, but I hope you can stay with me as I tie these together.
When you’re a kid, one of the big features of your life is that you are completely powerless or helpless. You don’t notice it or really care until you become a teenager, which is when it never stops being an issue (believe me on this, please). It’s a warm, happy kind of powerlessness, a feeling that the Big People are taking care of things that need to be taken care of and you don’t have to worry about a thing.
I realize that Fox Nooze isn’t necessarily popular and that this nostalgia isn’t all that they have to offer. But to put John Oliver’s brilliant commentary into some perspective, isn’t the pitch for a Happier Time (that never was) really nothing more than a way of looking at the same sense of powerlessness and/or helplessness that my readers have convinced me is the main root of Popular Doom?
Let’s try this one step further. We can see a lot of people, especially on the right, protesting in the streets that have never been at a protest before in their lives. Is it reasonable to say that a major cultural, social, and thus political driving force these daze is the feeling of powerlessness and, more importantly, how different people react to it?
I’d like your thoughts.