AnnaSalamon's Shortform

by AnnaSalamon25th Jul 20193 comments
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An acquaintance recently started a FB post with “I feel like the entire world has gone mad.”

My acquaintance was maybe being a bit humorous; nevertheless, I was reminded of this old joke:

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on 280. Please be careful!"

”Hell," said Herman, "It's not just one car. It's hundreds of them!"

I guess it’s my impression that a lot of people have the “I feel large chunks of the world have gone mad” thing going, who didn’t have it going before (or not this much or this intensely). (On many sides, and not just about the Blue/Red Trump/Biden thing.) I am curious whether this matches others’ impressions. (Or if anyone has studies/polls/etc. that might help with this.)

Separately but relatedly, I would like to be on record as predicting that the amount of this (of people feeling that large numbers of people are totally batshit on lots of issues) is going to continue increasing across the next several years. And is going to spread further beyond a single axis of politicization, to happen almost everywhere.

I’m very open to bets on this topic, if anybody has a suitable operationalization.

I’m also interested in thinking on what happens next, if a very large increase of this sort does occur.

I haven't had this feeling; to me the world might feel less mad now than it used to, but that's probably more of a function of "Kaj coming to understand the internal logic in the actions that previously felt mad" than any real change in the world itself.

I also haven't noticed more people having the world-madness feeling now than before, though I feel like a lot of people have always had that feeling, so I expect that I wouldn't notice a large increase even if one did exist.

I just read this tweet, which claims that the author's nieces and nephews (who are teenagers) think that Helen Keller probably didn't exist, based on basically not believing things they can't directly verify. (The author seems to think this is a common thing for today's American teenagers.)

This is more extreme than I would have predicted, although in a direction I would have predicted. I have no idea if this is in fact true and common (vs made-up/exaggerated and/or uncommon.) Is there anyone here who knows some American teenagers (or other teenagers, really) and is willing to ask them about this for me?