Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Allow me to be glib one last time

I’ve always found “farewell” columns odd, like a graduation speech in front of confused, moderately interested people. Or maybe like having one of those lingering, awkward hugs with your readership. Presumably, I’m supposed to draw on my “experience,” which is almost as laughable. Either way, here it goes.

To The Crimson White and Crimson White readers, I love you, and I thank you for the opportunity. Here’s some advice on how to be happy and successful, from a 22-year-old, single-degreed Honda Civic driver who shops at TJ Maxx and lives with his parents.

I think we should all turn off the TV. I think liberals and conservatives both need to realize that a lot of the information they get and things they hold dear to their heart are simply products that have been sold to them. That they were custom-designed for our needs and desires, and that’s the problem. Then we should get off our lethargic, foggy, cynical, red, white and blue fat asses and start creating something real.

On a related note, we should stop playing the part of the victim.

I think people should get really into politics, science, culture and the examined life. I’m not talking about getting Netflix and TiVo-ing Rachel Maddow; I mean really into it.

Blow your friends off for days at a time and go to the library. Watch, read and experience things that are either: 1. Unsexily chocked full of impartial, empirical information; or 2. So weirdly ambiguous that they force you to think for yourself. Then find a way to apply what you’ve learned.

Learn a lot of things. Every ape on this planet necessarily engages in eating, sleeping, screwing, ritualistically showing off and running with the herd in the name of sustenance. The most important difference seems to be that only we have the beautiful privilege of asking why.

I believe that in the next few decades, it’s possible that people will wake up and find it unacceptable that the world is ruled by the rich, the sexy and the morally retarded. It’s also possible that they will then go about changing that.

Right now, our generation seems content to complain on Facebook about how much we hate the political charlatans we’re actually empowering, and how we’re depressed, and how we miss him, and how our job sucks, and how we “just don’t know some time…,” and how, man, these Coldplay lyrics are totally about my life.

Posting that kind of white flag and waiting for sympathetic comments to pile up under it is the ultimate example of an unsustainable welfare program.

The key to beating depression and disillusionment is the exact opposite of solipsistic bellyaching.

One of my favorite films of the last two decades is “Memento,” and not just because you see that guy’s head blown off in reverse. The protagonist is a man unable to remember anything for more than 20 minutes, driving nomadically from one shady consternation to another, wielding a gun and empty threats. His unsolvable crisis is that without memories, purpose, or a sense of resolution regarding anything, he has no real self. In the end, he comes to believe that what is outside of him is more important than anything within: “I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world is still there.”

His resolve was to create meaning by being a violent catalyst to the world around him. He insisted that – and some philosophers will disagree – there exists a world outside you that doesn’t need your permission to be there. That’s filled with people who don’t share your temporary sadness. And it’s beautiful. It’s filled with people to help, poverty to avert, points to be argued, icons to be mocked, drinks to be downed, songs to be lip-synced, and races to be endlessly run. And, inasmuch as you can leave a handprint on those things, you can, in a sense, live forever.

In closing, I’d like to thank the friends, professors, and most importantly the family that made my writing possible. That’s pretty much all I’ve got. Also, if you’re going to play in Texas, you apparently have to have a fiddle in the band.

Josh Veazey is a senior majoring in telecommunication and film. This is the final column in his series.

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