Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Jul 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

It’s Time to Lose the Cynicism

tom_honig_s

I was looking in the mirror one day last week when I realized that when it comes to the public dialogue, I’m part of the problem. Chances are that you are too.

I had been watching one of the endless congressional hearings going on these days. It might have been about Goldman Sachs or maybe Fannie Mae or maybe even the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Then came on the analysis. Who was at fault? Who is to blame? What did he know and when did he know it?

This is the part we’ve become addicted to.

Take the oil spill. The damn thing hasn’t even been plugged yet and already we’re buzzing around in the discussion over whose fault it was. The federal government is spending more time looking for a culprit than it is in figuring out how to solve the problem. It’s as if an airplane goes down and instead of looking for survivors, the rescue crew starts investigating what went wrong and who is to blame.

Playing the blame game is just another way of expressing our collective doubts that we’re powerless in life to get much of anything done. If our business fails, we blame corporate America or we blame intrusive government regulation. If we make bad decisions and owe more money than we make, we wait for a bailout. If we don’t get it we angrily denounce those that did.

We’re all at fault here. Let’s start with me. For 35 years, I wrote for a newspaper, analyzing and documenting life in Santa Cruz County. Sure, I wrote some articles about someone’s success or another person’s achievement, but the memorable stories were the ones where something went wrong and I set out to find out what it was.

Maybe that’s where the well-practiced cynicism of journalists begins. It’s true—we look for the negative. Everyone says they want good positive stories in the newspaper, but in actuality the most-read stories involve scandal or avarice.

(Good Times is an exception, by the way. It’s nice to be associated with a publication whose goal is to celebrate the best of life in Santa Cruz.)

The height of success for most journalists is the investigative story. It’s the one where someone messed up—or even better, how an entire company, or department or organization did something wrong.

Look at the success of 60 Minutes. For every nice feature about, say, Johnny Carson or Mick Jagger, there are dozens that feature a hidden camera, a crook, an innocent bystander and lots of outrage. The effectiveness of the negative hasn’t been lost on political candidates. Look at their television commercials. It’s not enough for GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman to say she disagrees with her opponent, Steve Poizner. Instead, she impugns his honesty and mocks his integrity. And Poizner does the same thing  right back.

And the lesson for us all is that they’re both horrible—and probably anyone else who’s going to run for governor. “They’re all crooks,” we say.

Is it any wonder that we have no trust left in anyone? As I watched the Goldman Sachs hearings I watched in vain for someone to believe in. The Goldman guys were sleazy; the congressional questioners (many of whom received campaign dollars from Wall Street) were opportunistic. A pox on all their houses, I thought.

That’s when I looked in the mirror and realized that I really don’t believe in anyone. I have become, like apparently a lot of Americans, one of those people that don’t trust any institutions anymore. The next step is to watch The Daily Show and watch Jon Stewart make fun of everyone, and revel in the snarkyness of it all.

That’s a hell of a fix. Because in reality, there are good and decent people who are part of our institutions. Good people work at Goldman. Good people serve in congress. Someone, somewhere, is out there trying to figure out a way to stop the leak in the Gulf. Whoever it is, he or she isn’t losing time in figuring out whom to blame. Let’s get the leak plugged.

Or, look right here in Santa Cruz. Some have blamed the City Council over recent acts of violence. I’m not sure why. The council has, in fact, taken several steps to solve the problem. They’ve beefed up the police force, offered rewards and organized neighborhood groups to address the problems. Some critics say the City Council has done nothing, when, in fact, it has done a lot.

Maybe it’s time to lose the cynicism. Distrust isn’t helping.

 


Contact Tom Honig at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Send comments on this article to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit goodtimessantacruz.com.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Jailbreak with Reality

‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ revisits one of the most notorious studies of all time
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover