Date: Jan 23rd, 2018
This is Round One: Letters To The People I Love: John Oliver
I had to write Johnnie another letter, because of everything going on, and because he’s just a very good man.
. . .
I am ZMKF. I am 16-and-a-half-ish years old. It’s been about a year since my last letter. I’ve grown up some. I’ve debated with myself about whether I’m agender or genderfluid, been through two amazing Marine Zoology semesters that inspired a new website, joined Children’s Book World’s Teen Reader’s Council, and made two brilliant, somewhat exotically European deserts – apfelkuchen and pavlova – for the first time.
I was driving back home after accompanying an adult friend to their audition for whatever (they were “teensitting” me, the timing worked out) today, and I saw this:
That was a bad quality photo of a street ad version of this:
Isn’t he a crack up?
…He’s so much more than funny.
Yes, he’s very funny. But he has a heart. A big, kind heart beating in him. And he has power.
A few people have a few different opinions about this power.
This is from “two” (technically a year and half I guess, somewhere around there) years ago: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/04/late-night-comedy/475485/
And this is from two full years ago: http://time.com/3674807/john-oliver-net-neutrality-civil-forfeiture-miss-america/
Net Neutrality seems to be the thing that everybody thinks of when they think of the “John Oliver Effect” – a term I know may give you the willies. But as I’ve said before, in Round One, the John Oliver Effect does not exist according to your terms – it is a force of nature you have simply personified. Or, a couple forces of nature combined – whatever exists to create an “Age Of Reason.”
Allow me to explain – you know those times in history called Ages Of Reason, where the leader, whether they last for 100 years or 12, seems to know what they’re doing? They’re kind, smart, honest, understanding, and fair. In India, for instance, long ago, a lovely man named Akbar seems to have been this leader. But Ages Of Reason span regions.
It is my personal belief that Ages Of Reason are due to their common people just as much as their leaders. Some great leaders are born in the wrong time and fail, horribly. Sometimes good people rise up, and, again, fail horribly. Whatever scientific force or social entity there is to make sure everything works for a time, you are that.
To me, at least.
But that’s worse, isn’t it?
That deeply profound crap I just came up with is worse than the John Oliver Effect, isn’t it? For you?
The Atlantic, in the article of theirs I linked to above, calls you a “violent man.”
I don’t think they’re right. You’re can get reasonably frustrated about the state of the world, sure, but you’re more goofy than violent.
And we really need goofy in times like these. (Which is why I saw Paddington 2 today with my older friend before her audition. It is everything Rotten Tomatoes and The New Yorker say it is. Perfect. Anyway…)
Our President could kill us all with one bad move, and he is more likely to make that one bad move than pretty much anybody else we’ve had.
I don’t know what else to say other than, “I love you.”
You are so strong, so brave, so ridiculous and penguin-like.
If I were able to hug you once, that might help me.
Racial tensions are high in this country (they’re high pretty much everywhere…), but as I’m “hella” white, it’s not my personal fight – which means there’s almost nothing I can do to help. Global warming is indeed a thing, and I try to shout at people to go and help. I don’t reach a lot of people. I feel like I have to save the world sometimes. And I’m in a wheelchair. I’ve gotten used to it, but sometimes…I don’t even know. Yeesh. And I worry about time. Some people describe me as smart, that’s not a good thing, that just means I have philosophical anxiety, rather than worrying about a math test. I worry about time constantly, and it’s troubling, because time, linear or not, “keeps going.” I’m relatively almost 20 and I still feel 12. I’ve diagnosed myself as a “optimistic nihilist” (traditional nihilists are “death death death i don’t care about my wife,” while we optimistic ones are “we try to be positive and it works sometimes! We care about people and being nice! Memes!”) but sometimes, I’m just…not optimistic at all.
You’ve saved the world…a bit. You haven’t done enough for the world, and you know you haven’t done enough for the world (saving the world; that would require everyone pitching in), but you’ve done something. You’ve done enough for you. And that gives me hope. I’d rather have The Atlantic’s “violent man” than someone who doesn’t care at all. I’d rather have a man who brushes off his accomplishments rather than a man with no accomplishments.
You’ve taught me about so many problems I didn’t even know about before, and though that may seem like a complaint, you’ve also taught me about solutions, and weird wonders of the world (dog congress, traffic zebras?).
I just want you to know, if you’ve also felt the “I need to save the world,” you’re not alone.
And you’re not the last. You may have heard weird reports that Americans, or people in general, are getting more stupid over time, more attached to technology. Some of that is correct. I admit, the lower-than-millenials definitely have their faults. I sure do.
You’re not the last.
My people are next.
This is a thank you.
Thank you, so, so much.