Friday, January 16, 2009

February 2007

I had a bee in my bonnet about apathy. The posting frequency of this blog might indicate that there were some pots calling kettles black, or stone-chucking from inside glasshouses, etc, etc.

Apologies, all.

Apathy, noun: lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern. ‘I am apathetic about my country because I suspect all footage of my elected representatives to be in fact outtakes from The Office.’ ‘Ryan Tubridy representing my generation in the media induces feelings of apathy in me. Also, nausea.’

Nausea, noun: a feeling of sickness, with an inclination to vomit. Origin: late Middle English, via Latin from Greek nausia, from naus (ship). ‘I became nauseous when I climbed aboard the good ship Bertie.’

A lot of people, usually perched in BMW’s, complain about the young. What those things usually boil down to are: too much freedom, not enough respect, slow bloody service and apathy. We can add charity muggers to the posse of ill-respected youth movements, although let’s all agree that if they were really serious about their nicknames there’d be raids of the IFSC by bands of merry men swathed in Concern T-shirts.

It’s understandable that there’s a barrier between the older and more experienced and the younger and maybe less so. After all, while they’ve been off backpacking around India or experimenting with their creative urges, all the grown-ups have had to watch Questions And Answers and wonder about how to get the semi-d in Dalkey. The thing of course is that the gap between the young and old is now so financially and politically massive that it’s hard to think of a way that it might be reconciled.

Consider the Labour Party. If ever a political movement was crafted to appeal to the unwrinkled of brow and righteous of heart, that was it. How, with that advantage, could it manage to be so dull that a plank with a face painted on would be more appealing? We might analyze the rest in this fashion, but suffice it to say that watching the slow maneuverings of the Dail towards the next election is like being forced to watch an episode of Pop Idol populated entirely by the less interesting siblings of middle managers.

It would be so easy with that background, to become apathetic, to resign and leave the playing field of ideas to preening commentators and moronic debates about the perilous states of rural pubs, (as though it were an issue with any relevance at all to the gaping holes in our country’s infrastructure and economy). It might seem that it is that way too, that to be under 40 in this country is to be blogging on Bebo, getting drunk in the Market Bar and going surfing on the weekends after your weekday job of staring at a computer screen and checking your email finishes for another week. Maybe it is that way, or perhaps we just don’t want to think about actually committing to any definable political belief, having suffered enough of those earnest conversations at dinner parties, being earwigged by, alternately, people made entirely of dreadlocks or who think that fascism just didn’t have the courage of its convictions.

But I suspect people do care, or else there wouldn’t be so many trendy sorts in the organic markets at the weekend, reading newspapers, thinking about the issues, going off to see the world, even chatting with the charity muggers. I’ve been wrong before though. Next month: less ranting, more jokes.

Eoin Cunningham

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Welcome to my blog. I'm a freelance writer/journalist/researcher/editor. I write about education and ideas I've had for the Irish Times. I also research, write and edit for writers, publications and websites. Here I put things that tend not to fit anywhere else. Enjoy.

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