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Who Cares Anyway! I do! by Lorena Bowser

Who Cares Anyway! I do!
by Lorena Bowser

On my way to class yesterday while waiting at a stop light, I watched a man on the corner “running in place” lifting his knees all the way up to his chest and bobbing up and down like a cork in water. But there wasn’t any water.  I knew that he was warming his leg muscles while stopped for the same light. He was just another health enthusiast out for a jog. I couldn’t help thinking, however, that if I had seen him a few years before jogging had become a common sight on our city streets, I would have thought him crazy. From the back he really looked comical! He, of course, was oblivious to everything around him and probably couldn’t care less that he was somewhat of a public spectacle - nor did anyone else apparently.

Have we all become so uninhibited that the refreshing words anything goes” has become “who cares!” My sense of aesthetics fights continually with my sense of laissez faire as I walk about the streets of my neighborhood.  On the one hand, I think it’s great that we have finally arrived at a time in history where people are not instantly criticized for looking, acting, or being different.  On the other hand, I’ve realized that beauty and decorum are no longer appreciated as they were before.  It’s cool to be different, even if “different” is weird – or downright ugly!

I hold to the belief that the pursuit of excellence is the key to success and to peace of mind. I don’t criticize those who like to be different by pushing the envelope “over the edge” in their dress or behavior, but I have to ask myself if this way of thinking does not actually represent something disturbing about our society.

Excellence in all areas of life, from the mundane to the profound, is apparently no longer worth pursuing. Those proven spirit- and character-builders, the arts and sports, are being eliminated in our schools. Academics are being dumbed down so that more students can “succeed” in their studies, and our public servants can commit heinous acts and still get re-elected. In matters of art, what I see consistently appreciated by more and more galleries is artwork that displays ugly colors and infantile drawings in garish compositions that break all the rules of aesthetics in the name of “free expression.”

This new freedom of expression is actually a protestation of the time-honored and trusted norms that have previously produced some of the greatest artists, musicians and composers – not to mention statesmen - that have ever lived.  Why try for excellence after all, when mediocrity is applauded. When a group of people resist this new face of society, they are immediately pegged as “fanatics.”  When in truth, it’s the other way around!

I don’t mind someone looking silly when they are out jogging, but when I see no one else looking his way in amusement, a mental image comes to me of thousands of people all over the world dropping whatever they are doing and bobbing in unison like corks in a rushing river - and I wonder where everyone is going….

Lorena Bowser is a lifetime artist and linguist. She has lived all over the world and really knows how to make the pennies scream. Enjoy more of Lorena's resourcefulness at her website and blog: at http://lorenasartandprose.blogspot.com

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