I'm not sure you youngsters know just how hard it is for me to keep writing light, amusing things on this blog while the world around me is going to hell. There is so much to be angry about -- legitimately morally outraged -- at home and abroad that I can scarcely get through the day without encountering six or seven reasons to despair. It requires an advanced utilitarian calculus just to decide how to rank order them. I am not talking about natural disasters like tornados and hurricanes and droughts and new strains of deadly diseases. I am talking about genuine man-made evils [and they do seem to be mostly man-made rather than woman-made, by the way.] Sometimes they spring from religion, such as the barbarism of ISIS or the oppression of the Palestinians. Sometimes they are rooted in bureaucratically entrenched racism, like the murder of Michael Brown. Often they are grounded in the very structure of our political economy, like the obscene inequalities of wealth and income.
And the worst of it is that at least in this country, many of those evils could be eliminated or at least lessened if the people most harmed by them would just get off their Barcaloungers and bother to vote.
Why, you may ask, do I not fulminate more, as many bloggers and political commentators do? Well, I am eighty years old, and it seems I have been angry at the evils of the world for all but the first twelve or thirteen of those years. I feel as though I came into the world angry, and I really would rather not go out the same way. Besides, any decent composer will tell you that you cannot write all four movements of a symphony fortissimo. There has to be a rondo or a minuet or a gigue, and at least an occasional passage piano. Not even Wagner made everything loud.
But it is hard, it is hard.
So let's have a little sympathy for the old guy, apoplectic though he may be.