OK, the title question may seem harsh. Until you spend a week stuck in bed experiencing the 24/7 gush of sappy happy-talk television. From the Today Show to Kelly Ripa to The View, deep into the night's evangelical ministries, PBS documentaries on the Koala Bear, and those organ-music sunset reflections, we are advised between commercials that life is good...America is good.... investments are good....most all of, all drinking Coke and buying prescriptions is very good.
Let me grant here and now that life can indeed be good. If say you think of it as your chance to inhale a summer day and sing along with Louie Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World." Who of us would really pass that up? But let it also be said the quickest way to spoil the song is with too much sugar to help it go down. Louie's world is wonderful without any artificial sweeteners, thank you Dr Phil very much!
Does this mean today's network world of happy bubble-gum-and-ginger-snaps may actually have some authentic historic and philosophic heft to it...? You may be surprised to learn how many heavyweights have weighed in on the side of "happy talk."
Augustine believed "it was a world made perfect by its creator." Francis of Assisi "loved everything that walked in it." The French write Couce coined the phrase "The world is getting better and better every day." Candida's Dr. Pangloss and America's Norman Vincent Peale both agreed. Philosophers like Gottfried Leibniz to troubadours like John Lennon had this happy hangup about people being worthwhile.
So maybe my sickbed in front of the glowing TV eye was not entirely a waste of my time. Scrooge and the Grinch would have despised it, but then they were born with under-sized hearts. In my case, I may have had a happy epiphany this week. Of course just when I suspect I may actually start to applaud my fellow species, I read this sobering news from the Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington advising their new members: "The model daily schedule recommended is one to two hours meeting constituents, and at least four hours making phone calls to potential donors......."
Quick! Where's Dr. Pangloss when you really need him?
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