As much as I’ve always enjoyed Conan O’Brien, I didn’t really pay much attention to the drama surrounding his brief time on The Tonight Show (my TV only plays Turbo Grafx). I followed the news just enough to love Conan a little more, all while shaking my head at the apparent worsening state of the world.
Today I read this great article about Conan’s farewell speech (Maisonneuve). Then I watched the speech (Vimeo). And then I read the article again.
Conan’s rally to end cynicism deeply resonated with me. I haven’t felt this way in some time.
It’s easy to be cynical. One can simply criticize everything without ever having to stand by anything. Easy maybe, but what kind of dark pit of world would if be if there weren’t any hopeful dreamers?
Maybe the state of the world isn’t worsening at all– just my view of it. Maybe it’s okay to dream of achieving seemingly-impossible things! Maybe all the awfulness in the world will get a little better if we all work a little harder rather than just complaining and awaiting the failure of everything. Maybe I’ll spend the rest of the evening drawing swell pictures of unicorns!*
So here’s to hope, hard work, and all that good stuff. Rest in Peace cynicism, you’re not cool anymore. In fact, I have the sneaking suspicion that you were never cool in the first place.
*But not really because a certain editor will wonder why I’m not working on my super-important assignment for the next print issue of Prairie Dog.
During a recent, brief stint working at one of the better cable companies here in Regina, I encountered a moment of confusion and despair.
Amid wind storms that swept through the province late last week, we were inundated with calls from customers disgruntled at the trouble in connection. What was disturbing was the number of people who implied this was a tragedy. My colleagues and I had customers ask us in all seriousness what they were supposed to do now that there wasn’t any TV. These callers did not sound like people who were ill, or could, for whatever reason, do little else than watch television. It appeared they had resigned themselves to being this way. I suggested reading a book, putting on their favourite music or (novel idea) talking to family members and friends as ways to pass the time. These suggestions were met with a) laughter (followed by “not funny”), b) swearing, or c) a simple hang up of the phone.
What has the world come to when cable TV is as necessary a family staple as bread? When taken away from us we turn into angry, irrational children, demanding this vital artery of our existence be switched back on immediately, as though someone has pulled the plug on a life support machine? Is there any hope for us, when people are needing to be told how to go on living without this big, rectangle box? A service that is in actual fact a privilege is somehow being demanded as a right, like so many other ‘things’ we have grown tenaciously possessive of.