James Lileks finally found a way to inculcate his classic Screeds into his regular blog, calling it the Wednesday Review of Modern Thought. This past Wednesday, he groused about the overuse of “crisis”:
One of the manifestations of twitchy, sullen, self-righteous miserabilism is the desire to see every problem as a crisis, and every crisis as a justification for the expansion of the state, or the abandoned of old norms.
This is, of course, correct. Fear creates the longing for security, for Direct Action. So, as the old-school Commies knew, the Worse, The Better. And of course, having infected the Fears, as “ethical” stumbling blocks to performing an activity, we then use these to declare that the Poor Little Dears can’t possibly act on their own. We’ve all become the nerdy black guy from The Good Place who can’t choose a hat.
If you can’t make a meal because you’re paralyzed by whether the beans were ethically sourced, and you feel like you’re failing your kid because you let him have a hot dog, you’re probably unhappy about everything in the gott-damned world.
The answer for the food crisis includes nationalized day care and government-run health care, if you’re curious. That’s for starters.
We have problems. Not every problem is a crisis. You need to reserve words for other things.
That would be wise. But they won’t. Because the overuse of the word “crisis” by ethical scamsmen has inculcated us to its use. We see it on the Internet all the time, and like that stupid Grammarly app that keeps emitting itself in my YouTube and Hulu, we have allowed the Machine to tell us how to write.
“Crisis” isn’t even a word anymore, it’s just a meme. Or rather, a program:
- Notice unpleasant reality
- Declare Unpleasant Reality a Crisis
- Make Pious Noise About the Hardship of Dealing With the Crisis
- Demand that Big Daddy make all better
- Share, Like, and Smash that Subscribe Button
- Boom goes the Click Rate
Meanwhile, I go home and make Macaroni and Cheese for my kids. Because I’ve been voting Republican since I was 20; I’m already a monster.