The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

July 9, 2007

My Seven Blunders of the World

THERE was a big worldwide web popularity contest that unveiled the new Wonders of the World on the weekend.

You probably heard about it. The list of the new seven (actually, it's eight, they relented to pressure and granted the Egyptian Pyramids a special spot) is at

The list:

1. Egyptian Pyramids in Giza
2. Great Wall of China
3. Colosseum in Rome
4. Taj Mahal in Agra, India
5. Ancient city of Petra, Jordan
6. Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
7. Machu Picchu, Peru
8. Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico

Like most any internet endeavour, this was dreamed up by a profit-oriented businessman, is not scientific, allowed multiple voting so its results are skewed and and it's designed to make big bucks.

But despite its contentious objectives and the perception by some that it was a hollow and shallow exercise, it did create a lot of buzz and web traffic and, basically, much ado about very little.
So in that sense, it succeeded.

Seeing as I didn't cast my vote, I decided to come up with my own Seven Wonders/Blunders of the World...and I invite you to post your own or simply to add others if you decide to comment.

1. The American Soldier

He and she keep shipping off to fight in a war that was created under false pretences by Bush and his cronies, a war that can never be won. The numbers of dead and injured staggers the mind.

They're like lemmings or buffalo being herded overseas, where they're essentially being stampeded off a cliff while an Iraq Study Group contemplates yet another troop surge or withdrawal.

They must be amazing people and very patriotic. But thousands are dying for no reason. Well, actually, they're dying because of the misguided or simply stupid illogic of No. 2 below...


2. George W. Bush

Having put fear into the heart of the world by manufacturing and then mass-producing the "War on Terror," he has de-stabilized the world, increased Al Quaeda's resolve and has caused more terror, not lessened it.

He has his own troops and others, particularly weak-kneed and stupidly obedient Canada's, in Afghanistan dealing with another unchangeable reality while Iran watches Americans, Britons and others die on its western and eastern flanks.

The wonder here is that Dubya was elected twice. And that he's still in office, openly defying the American justice system by commuting the criminal sentences of his buddies and maintaining the invasion of Iraq was justified.

But hey! At least the U.S. military manufacturing sector is sure humming along!


3. Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears, Anna Nicole Smith and other

That we pay attention at all says everything about us and our Entertainment Tonight culture of fascination with idiocy, monumental failure and non-achievement except in the most shallow of ways and for the most shallow of reasons.


4. Professional sport "heroes"

Everybody knows Barry Bonds is on steroids. The Tour de France has become a drug-infested laughingstock of a cycling road race. Every day, NFL players are getting busted for DUI or physical violence offences.

But we still keep watching.

I suppose if many of our "celebrities" are liposuctioned, silicone-enhanced, facelifted and otherwise artificial reproductions of what they originally were, why shouldn't our sports heroes be?

It's all about ratings and what we'll watch and pay attention to. We want sleaze and living on the edge? We'll get it.


5. Rampant Commercialization

"This pitching change is brought to you by Rolaids, when you need relief..."

"The first down line is brought to you by Ford, Ram Tough..."

"The Mutual of Omaha Masters Open of Golf is brought to you by Blue Cross, the Color of Caring..."

Everything is brought to us by money or the interest in making money, particularly ours.

Watching pro sports -- watching almost anything, but particularly watching pro sports -- has become one big constant, never-ending sales pitch.

We can't escape it in pro baseball, basketball, football, hockey...there are ads on the hockey ice and boards, on the football fields, on the baseball home run fences and behind home plate.

Even the last non-commercial hinterland holdout, the Olympics, has gotten into the money game in a big way. The Olympics always purport to be about Faster, Higher, Stronger.

That's taken on a new meaning: faster (and feistier) commercials to get their brands out there, higher levels of saturating the viewer/reader with their repetitive messages and stronger sales pitches to market their products.


6. All Religions

I was raised Catholic. I was an altar boy and went to church regularly as a child.

What I've come to believe as an adult on the other side of the journey is that religion hurts more than it helps, it's borne out of fear and guilt, it separates people rather than bringing them together.

It's all about fear of the hereafter -- what's going to happen to us after we die? And we can't accept the uncertainty about that, we can't let that go, we have to believe in something, even if we can't know it's there.

So we form these groups of believers.

And if you don't believe in what I believe in, then you're threatening my little picture of what's going to happen to me after I die.
And I can't have that, because you can't be right, I must be, otherwise my whole belief system is wrong and I'm on a road to nowhere.

And because I'm so insecure about it all, I have to prove you wrong and me right.

Thus goes the theological battleground between Christianity and Islam and Buddhism and every other religion on the planet, none of which can be proven or disproven but which we cling to and fight wars over.

It's all so mind-numbingly stupid and irrational.
But then religion can't be rational because religion and churches and all that doctrine and everything else about it are solely created by us to facilitate our beliefs in something that can never be proven.

It's all driven by guilt and fear, in my opinion, at least the most extreme elements.
Everyone has a choice to be religious or not religious and to believe in whatever religion they want. If people could just let other people believe in what they believe in, religion might not be so contentious.
But the most extreme fundamentalists in all religions won't. And that's the problem.

The worst perpetrators are those most extreme elements in any belief, for example the Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. and the Muslim extremists who will blow themselves up in suicide bombings.

It's all so useless and ridiculous. Almost the entire population on the planet can't understand it, but it's these wars of the extremists that affect us all. And we're completely helpless to stop it as the idealogues battle it out.

These people should be on the fringes of society. Instead, they've taken centre stage. Argh.


7. Blogdom and the Thinking, Feeling Individualist

Just like religious fanatics and any other group, the bloggers I know are people who have found a home for their ideas and thoughts about a world that, for the most part, whizzes past us every day at light speed.

Blogging isn't for everybody and my impression is a very small percentage of people do it. The others, I guess, watch TV or work out or take their kids to soccer games.
Some amazing people can do all of that AND blog and more yet.

I look at bloggers as observers of the world, a mostly like-minded collection of individualists who aren't all caught up in the fear and confusion of the moment and who question life and existence.

While the internet has brought more exposure to the darker dregs of society, it has also opened up avenues for the best parts of who and what we are to co-exist on a platform of open, fair communication.

I consider the bloggers I associate with to be just those kinds of people...positive but honest, thinking and open, kind of an underground that hovers above the mass media message and with some awareness of where we are.

Blogging, to me, is one of the wonders of a world that has otherwise become more about blunders. And I'm thankful it's here.