I had an exchange with Chris Hardie about Mayor Pete. He said:
I’m excited about Pete’s campaign, especially as a Hoosier tired of how our state is usually seen politically. Just hoping we don’t trade our appreciation of his candor, authenticity & thoughtfulness for the buzz of celebrity.
To which I replied:
I share your concern, but this is a very Hoosier reaction. Like when the weather is nice, and the assumption is that we’re going to have to pay for it with bad weather.
(And, as Chris pointed out, it was glorious and sunny yesterday; rainy, cold, and windy today.)
So, the assumption is that if Mayor Pete rises too high, a hammer of some sort will pound him down. Maybe there will be a Milkshake Duck situation (though I kind of doubt it). More likely that the zeitgeist and his political opponents will just kneecap him with some variant of a Dean Scream attack.
But it’s not just the weather or in politics where we can’t have anything nice. Last week, the news came out that a group of scientists were able to essentially use the planet as a giant telescope and coordinate data collection that resulted in the first ever imaging of a black hole. The work of Dr. Katie Bouman in developing an algorithm to process that data was instrumental to the imaging. There was a great picture of her excited as her work came to fruition. An earlier Tedtalk on the matter where her knowledge and enthusiasm about the subject was clear. At 29, she’s relatively young for a scientist. So, it was a good story. Moreso in my household because she went to high school where my kids go and she grew up in our neighborhood. The message around here was “work hard and you can achieve great things”
But, the Internet being what it is, it was utterly predictable that trolls would try to bring her down, because having something nice is intolerable to some folks. In her case, there was a strong thread of misogyny — a sort of bitterness that a woman would become the face of an achievement where men were also involved. Social media having turned into a click-driven sewer of misinformation, the emotion-provoking misinformation featured as prominently on, say, YouTube as hard news because their algorithm and advertisers value eyeballs more than accuracy.
It’s difficult to resist the onset of cynicism. Why strive for greatness? Why seek to create something new and good? Why seek to improve upon the status quo? Any achievement of value will just get dragged down into the muck. Nevertheless, I guess like the song says, you gotta kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight.