I’m a pretty pro-America guy overall. I like to support local markets in hopes those goods and services will continue to be available to me, but I have strong limits on this thinking. I am usually first to check out new new businesses for services such as oil change places, salons, eating. Big chains have been tried and I understand the experience of going to Taco Bell, but sometimes I want something new and different, something unique to my area and maybe even unique to me. I’ll shop around on the big ticket items and won’t put locality above price for example. I support the market if the market supports me.
In one part of my life, I continue to dismiss domestic brands and lean toward foreign though and that is in entertainment. For much of that, I look to England. Everything from the BBC to their far superior sense of humor has enticed me since I was a young lad to the present time of being an old bloke. My interest began where many others did, with Mr. Bean. I ripped through the entire series of Mr. Bean in about a day, no big feat considering it’s only 14 episodes and loved every second of it. I knew virtually nothing of the world in which it was created or even of the people on screen. I just knew something about its presence was hitting me hard like nothing before it had done. I had been interested in comedy my entire life and still consider it first on my list of creativity. Sure, I had been interested in many things before then, mostly Alf and Perfect Strangers and while I loved them, I felt something about their voice was more limiting in nature than something created in a British culture. Mr. Bean was my first window into that world of allowing for virtually anything to occur. That was not something I sensed from watching Alf or Perfect Strangers.
As you probably know, Rowan Atkinson is the star of Mr. Bean. My huge liking of his portrayal of Mr. Bean lead me quickly to his other work and before long it was not odd as a viewer to see him speak. I started with his one man show and laughed harder than I ever had before. He was conniving and willing to be quite rude and put others in harm’s way for his own selfish drives. This is not something I personally like to see reflected on screen, but the fact a character was willing to be vindictive and almost unlikable in attempts to get a laugh really spoke to me at an early age. I felt these characters were not willing to sugarcoat anything for me. I was being shown another angle than I was getting in any American sitcom and I was enjoying its darkness immensely.
They call it dark or black humor when not so nice things happen to people while trying to make them laugh. It’s a genre of comedy you either love or you don’t. It’s surprisingly more mainstream than one may suspect. Anything from Death to Smoochy to Death at a Funeral or other death related comedies are all examples. Mr. Bean didn’t deal much with the darker side of comedy, but Rowan Atkinson most certainly has. His other material is much more adult oriented and after years of growth something I have found far more appreciation for. To me, there’s just more substance in an episode of Black Adder than Mr. Bean. There’s something they are trying to say about the world, about hierarchy, about trying to get ahead both figuratievely and in some episodes literally.
I’d like to acknowledge July 20th is probably the coolest day of human history. Specifically 1969. It was the first time a human being ever stepped onto a piece of land that was not Earth and we began our off world exploration of other places. Our journey is currently suspended, but I’d like to remind everyone on this day that it is not over. Our species must at some point scatter ourselves amongst the heavens for any chance at long-term survival. When we are all centrally located, we are to mimic the fate of the dinosaurs. In some regards, space travel is paramount to all other human concerns in that way.
While the American space program is indefinitely on hold, private citizens are stepping up to flip the bill for further research and the cool idea of space travel for all is slowly beginning to take hold. There is a tremendously long wait for this to become affordable for the average citizen, but luckily, all our indications do lead us down that path in a timely enough manner for it to become doable. Programs like SpaceX have already sent rockets into space without any government assistance whatsoever and currently have their sights on visiting Mars. Our grandchildren may be the ones to see this happen. We may even be fortunate to witness this if we live so long. Remember it has been speculated the first person ever to live to 150 years old has probably already been born.
There’s a lot going on to be excited about. It’s been a bit of a sad year to those strongly promoting we don’t give up our programs, but progress is not on hold. That is something I, myself, am extremely happy about. Mars may be our next big step in our goal of protecting ourselves from total annihilation in the face of one planet of trillions being destroyed. I hope we see it happen. In the meantime, take the day to remember it was only 42 years ago today that we began spreading ourselves to other worlds. I submit we’ll see it again without having to sit through Transformers 3.
I am starting this blog to bring you into this discussion of talking about whatever it is that makes you happy. I’d like to take an intellectual approach to everything in our lives that is not intellectual.
There’s an old Roman saying that stated:
“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.”
I understand the writer when saying this was saying this with disdain of the people observed. He was saying that these people have given up so much power. They had say over how they were to be ruled and instead all they care about is being fed and being entertained (bread and circuses). I want to look at it as a a truth of human nature.
Roman governments across the world started applying this model of providing in one way or another for their people only those two things. Food and entertainment. They observed this was somehow enough for quite a long period of time to keep the people happy so they wouldn’t revolt. It was a win/win for everyone. The people didn’t demand shelter or health care. For the most part they were content with only those two things. They were happy.
I understand food. It’s essential to not starve to death and we can not live without it. But entertainment? Is entertainment an essential part of being happy and living a full life? I submit it is in one form or another.
It’s with that thought that I start this discussion with you. I will have several bloggers featured on this blog discussing what makes them happy. They will be taking a thoughtful look at why these things make them happy, what they have in common with one another, and why they ultimately matter.