Monday, April 10, 2006

Guest Blog: Bring Back the Whiners

As the millennium dawned, America was a nation of whiners. Whining was not just for children anymore, grown-ups seemed to need it too. As a result, whining spread throughout the collective (materialistic) unconscious.

My own qualitative study of this phenomenon began during its genesis in the late 1980s and than into the 1990s dot-com boom. During that time the shift in the haves and have nots began to steadily grow. Those who became the nouveau, nouveau riche began the whining that grew and has followed them, blending into the ethos.

Materialism was growing by leaps and bounds. The technology revolution kicked off its fifteen-year-plus marathon and people started to expect more. Money began to flow. Lots of whiners made lots of dollars.

Those were the days of 10-15 percent raises and most (but not all of us) thought more was better than less. People were grasping for not just the brass ring but the golden one. Americans got onto a whirlpool that helped whiners blossom.

Whining is easy to acquire and much harder to give up. It’s a distasteful quality and some learned to do it with finesse. Others were plain irritating. What possessed people to acquire such a tactic, which is known as a childish tool for attention?

By its nature whining implies a negative emotion. It unleashes a sort of guttural sound that rubs chalk across the blackboard of the senses. In this state of grumpiness the grousing becomes contagiously clear.

Whining was such an omnipresent trend that buttons were made with an anti-whining symbol. I wore one as a protest, but only those near and dear to me got why.

What did people have to complain about? Why were they easily duped into a consciousness that valued (and still values) things over hearts? It’s a question that I have pondered for twenty-some years and it gave birth to many other queries. How much is too much? When you have a lot, why do you want more? Why do you disparage those who are not as motivated? Why belittle those not able to rise above? Why is money more important than people in your life? Why are people easier to dispose of than your stocks and bonds? Why cry about trivialities? Why whine at all?

The saddest component of this whining of the haves is their acquisition of hardness. They lost their ability for empathy and sympathy. All emotions seem suppressed and their surface is made of plastic parties with McMansions, which are accompanied by second and possibly even third homes. Again how much is too much?

An illusion was created: greenbacks bring happiness. When all is said and done, if you have spent your life running after Cleveland ($1,000), moving endlessly toward Madison ($5,000), and chasing Chase ($10,000), you are shocked to discover that we all poop and we all die.

The movement that began from triviality eventually found a solid basis for its existence. In the millennium people really are finding things that are worthy of a good whine.

As a bottle of rare wine has its shelf life, whining may be transforming toward its end too. The whine may be morphing into angst, distress, indifference, and malaise. Our nation is on a path that may lead whiners to become mourners, because Americans have never lived under such conditions.

There is much to mourn: the loss of freedom, a world steeped in violence, the death of our people in a horrific war, and the creation of an age of fear. We fear: the health of the planet, the spread of disease, the spread of poverty, rampant world hunger, and the loss of America’s dignity and integrity. We fear the loss of individual financial stability and the insidious hold of the ultra wealthy on our country.

Bring back the days of whiners, I’d be happy to trade our current state of the state. Bring them back as fast as possible and I’ll never complain about whiners again.


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