Do calm, level-headed people exist anymore? I mean in significant numbers.
It seems the modern media culture - from networks to blogs - overwhelmingly comes in exactly three flavors: 1) overarching, pants-wetting panic, 2) full-on denial that any problems exist on a particular front, 3) frenzied celebration. Sometimes combinations of the three. And I've never developed a flavor for any of this, at least in large doses, so the end result for me is an increasing sense of intellectual alienation. Is this really necessary? Must we always be engaged in one or another form of panic or delirium, or - lacking that - studied, purposeful blindness?
I suppose so, since calm and reasonable reflection is an absolute death sentence for a whole litany of modern desires, on both the left and right sides. Part of the reason 'hurry up and do something!' is encouraged is not just because 'do something, anything!' is an instinctual hallmark of panic, but because slowing down and reflecting can be incredibly poisonous.
Everyone remembers the reliance on deception, invasion of privacy and strong-arm tactics from 1984. Few people seem to remember the instrumental nature of the wild and frenzied crowds. A panicking mob is pretty easy to control - it turns a group of troublesome people into one singular entity, and a stupid one at that. Lose the panic, and suddenly you have a large number of individuals who may, Christ forbid, stop and think things through for a moment.