"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Friday, January 2, 2009

Cynical

I've become cynical. Of course, some people would hear that and say, "Rachel, you were born cynical." This is probably true. I mean, I've always been skeptical anyway. But I think it has gotten worse. Part of it is because of my own life experiences, of course, and part of it is from being in the news business.
Funny thing about being in the news business: Nearly everyone goes into it because they are by nature idealistic and believe in ethics and principles and free and open communication and the right of people to KNOW, etc., etc. - but nothing sucks the idealism out of a person faster than being in the news business (except maybe law enforcement).
Unlike the rest of the population, those of us in the business can't ignore the news. We HAVE to read the crimes and scandals and horrors and misdeeds going on in the world around us, and we become jaded. During the election, I was frequently heard saying things like, "Write me a headline when a man DOESN'T cheat on his wife! THAT would be news!"
I used to be empathetic when I read and saw the stories of tragedy on the news every day, then the more I learned about the seedy underbelly of seemingly every person on the planet, I grew numb to it. Eventually, I have even found that they have lost their "tragic" edge for me. I've begun to look at stories of death and find myself thinking that they have been blessed for having been spared from this world, if they are "innocent," or I think good riddance that they can't create more misery, if they are "guilty."
It's a conflict for me. I can't help looking for the good in people, but now I find myself expecting that it won't be there. I've stopped believing that "deep down" there is a good person in someone, because if there is good, it wouldn't stay hidden deep down. If there is good in a person, it will come right up to the surface. But you can't trust what you see at the surface. It's more likely that the dark is hidden inside, and that's what you have to look out for. I am quick to judge (more often positively than negatively, though, still), slow to trust, skeptical of intentions ... and yet, a tiny thing can make me remain hopeful.

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