Anyone remember this acronym—MYOB? Popularized by such now out of date seeming figures as Ann Landers and Dear Abby? Advice given to those who were a bit too concerned with the goings on of others and not concerned enough with their own goings on? The remedy for that long forgotten—although not gone—malady, Inappropriate Curiosity? That of which parents and families at one time instructed their children in the avoidance thereof and evils caused by?
So, in the past, I have written about our contemporary culture of Women Acting Trashy. This is the next best friend of our contemporary culture of gossip and boundary blindness, about making everyone else’s business your business, getting up in everyone’s business, spreading rumors and generally being a force for the Dark Side of social engineering, Emperor Palpatine’s Scheduling Secretary as it were.
Does anyone else remember macramé? Or what about decoupage? That’s a nice hobby. There are stores all over now that sell crafting supplies—I don’t want to use my vast powers to endorse any one outlet—but there are plenty of affordable vendors of beads, yarn, paper, stickers, etc, to find productive, money saving and even money making outlets for one’s creativity. If one is really into storytelling, find an author’s group and/or start a blog. (A-hem. <cough>)
But thus is not the way of things in Modern America. Oh no. Rather, the way of things is to devote one’s time to the speculation and the talk and using One’s Special Mind Powers to Unlock the Secrets of Everyone Else’s Universe by Reading the Ingredients on a Gum Wrapper. (With all credit to Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, Superman (1977).)
With all the resources in this country, what could we accomplish if people devoted their free time to productive pursuits—either selfish or selfless? Say, moderate exercising, or community volunteering, or other activities of personal or social betterment? My how very circa 1890 I sound!
I suppose, undermining your friends, neighbors and frienemies actually is a means of personal and social betterment—in a twisted and sick Emperor Palpatine kind of way (see above). If everyone thinks less of them, then in comparison they think better of you, plus everyone is grateful to you for the inside info, so your stock rises on two counts. How . . . . lovely.
Well, I never claimed to have all the answers and freely admit to being a bit of an idealist in my personal views. Gossip and Buttinski-ness has been around since I don’t know when. (If I knew the Bible better, I could probably come up with an Old Testament example—Eve and the Snake?) Doubt much will change, but one can always opt out of the drama, or at least associating with those who perpetuate it.
To better use of free time . . . .