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 Loser's Guide to Life

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Life Ain't No Bedtime Story 

I originally thought that all this tireless non-update updating of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway on CNN was the result of a misunderstanding by media people of what is important, but apparently there are still countless blogs and boards where people go on arguing over it, even though everything to be known about the case can be summed up in a paragraph, and there is nothing new to be learned.

One accusation that comes up on the boards and fuels the discussion: the locals didn't do enough to investigate. As a matter of fact, they arrested just about everyone they could think of. Another impetus: van der Sloot, the teenager initially questioned in the disappearance, lied about his activities. But people lie all the time. I come across it quite a bit in my work of pretending to be a human being. People do an awful lot of it when they're frightened or accused of something. It's instinctive and very unfortunate, because it can lead to much worse trouble. On the other hand, it does work sometimes.

So why the interest? Why do Fox and CNN have to feed this creature? I think it's the same thing that caused JFK assassination conspiracy theories. A while ago I was reading about aardvarks or something, and naturally the JFK assassination came up, because when does it not? There was an interesting post on some board that was full of details about Oswald, some of which I had never heard before. Unfortunately, this man's remarks were all in bold and contained no punctuation, making them hard to read, to be sure, but also characterizing their author as less than completely sane. But I looked up most of the details and found them at various sites. It's impressive to see that there is always new work going on. And, of course, if you read everything carefully you'll soon realize that everyone in the whole world wanted Kennedy dead, for one reason or another, and that everyone had a hand in it.

It's hardly different with any of the abductions and mystery slayings that have been in the news. You can find fantastically elaborate theories involving politicians, mobsters, and a huge cast of extras. It makes me think that many people can't accept the idea that things just happen. People disappear. Some crank shoots at a politician. To a lot of people, this just isn't significant enough. There's no beginning, middle and end and they haven't learned anything from it. All this "closure" junk, what does that mean? It means no one considers the etymology of the word "happen" and prefers some mythological explanation that accounts for everything and acknowledges eveyone's existence.

I once showed a friend of mine a ministory about a man who finds himself plunging from an enormous height. On his way down, he thinks: Well, what should I do? There's some time yet before I hit the ground. Maybe I should go back to grad school and finish my MA. My friend asked all kinds of questions, "How? What? What happens next?" Well, next he hits the ground, I should think, and that's kind of the end of the story. And how? Well, the Earth itself is only orbiting the Sun briefly, like a pebble skipping on the water, and eventually it will fall in and be consumed. How did that happen? How can such a tenuous state of affairs have been allowed? How outrageous is that? You might well ask.


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Watching TV is a good way to tear yourself away from the computer.