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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

The Eighth Wonder of the World - Human Nature

Posted Tuesday, July 1, 2008, at 4:35 PM

Smokin' Cheetah, I invite you to be the first contributor, since this was your idea. Please answer the question "We woke up this morning on the right side of the dirt, so why is everyone complaining?"

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I think you (and Bob Stewart) have put your finger right on the truth - things turn out the best for those who make the best out of the way things turn out.

Maybe it's expectation, too, that get in our way. The online news organization Poynter.org had a contest in which they asked for six-word biographies. My favorite: Not quite what I had planned.

Most lives turn out that way, don't they? Not quite what we'd planned - and I think it's our reaction to what we planned versus what we got that drives some of this viral ill-feeling and the need to strike out at those who (we think) got what they planned.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 5:10 PM

Eric, NanaDot, Oklahoma Reader...please join in!

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 5:11 PM

The 8th wonder of the world is that Kathy Fairchild actually has a job as a reporter!

-- Posted by Paulie Walnuts on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 9:47 PM

You're right, Paulie. It's a wonder (as in wonderful). It would be a tragic waste of talent if Kathy wasn't a newspaper reporter.

-- Posted by Eric Crump on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 10:48 PM

Or should it be "It would be a tragic waste of talent if Kathy weren't a newspaper reporter"? I forget. Kathy will know.

-- Posted by Eric Crump on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 10:49 PM

Thanks for this blog. I will comment, just not at the moment beyond saying that greed and avarice are root causes, and that the zeitgist is shifting.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 1:18 AM

Paulie - Is it my spelling, grammar and syntax, or just my subjects that irritate you so much?

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 6:01 AM

NanaDot - I think maybe you and OK reader have hit on another important part of the subject - "greed, avarice...thou shalt not covet." Somebody else has what we want, something we think we deserve that they do not. Even something we didn't know we wanted, but now that someone else has it, we gotta have it, too - and we're angry we can't seem to get it.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 6:05 AM

OK Reader - you're right, something has shifted very dramatically in American culture. It's very hard to pin down when it started, or to identify exactly what it is, but there has been a fundamental change in how Americans view their place in the world, not just individually, but as a country. We've always admired individuality, but when it was required, we could unite against a common threat. That doesn't seem to be the case now. We argue about *everything* and attach meaning to things formerly meaningless, identify people by the cars they drive, the clothes they wear, even the food they buy and where they buy it. There is apparently no subject now on which we can all, if not agree, at least allow an opposite choice on grounds it's none of our business where someone goes to church or if they go at all, just to cite one example.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 6:54 AM

I always wonder why people feel it is okay to insult people on an anonymous blog. It is not just on this site, but almost any blog I have ever been on. People seem to bicker and insult much more than they ever would in person. Is that just part of human nature?

Through the years I have seen a lot of reporters come and go at the Democrat-News. I think Kathy does an excellent job.


-- Posted by Marcia Gorrell on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 7:23 AM


-- Posted by yomomma on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 7:56 AM

Cheetah - another blog idea? Do tell!

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 4:17 PM

I do believe that the level of complaint rises among us when we get uncomfortable with the way of things. I also believe that starts at birth. A baby will cry immediately at birth, likely due to distress at change in its environment, and perhaps due to hunger. The first lesson it learns is that complaint brings warmth, complaint brings food, complaint solves my problem. It may not be cognizant of the source of its distress but complaint has solved it. Soon the cries become more complex adding overtones of demand to its cries of distress. As this happens it may be that the brain physically changes, grows if you will. In those instances when a baby's cries go unanswered it will not thrive.. As we grow older we add layers of sophistication, and new techniques to this basic survival skill. This gets us through unchallenging times. These differ in degree of development for each individual, therefore some are more successful with their demands than others. Allow me a brief aside. This begs the question is even altruism a sophisticated veiled effort to strengthen our demands by asserting that they are the needs of many others (not my demands)? After all it has been proven that altruism develops only as children get older, hmmm. Back on point, when life becomes more challenging more people can not overcome the challenge with the array of survival tools each of these has individually accumulated many of these revert to basic emotion and COMPLAIN. Life has gotten more complex, more challenging. Some avoid complaining because they have developed survival tools such as stoicism, others hope which has led them to faith in something greater than themselves. Having said all that I have come to the conclusion that complaint is an instinctual survival tool and more are complaining now than before simply because there is more to complain about. When enough of us resolve that we are as mad as hell and we aren't going to take it anymore we have taken the first step toward change. Let us hope that we head in the right direction. Sometimes we do.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 1:53 AM

This is just an addendum to my last comment. I inferred but did not state that complaining about complainers is unfair to them. They are doing the best they can with the skill set they have developed. If it is under developed it is often not entirely their fault, and sometimes not at all their fault. It may be best to look for an opportunity to apprise them of the source of their anger and point them to a source of alleviation. In the current situation I fervently believe that the progressive message is the antidote.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 2:23 AM

OK Reader - That drive to complain certainly gets stronger as we get older, have to agree on that point. I'm far more likely to complain about poor service, etc., than I used to be - but then, as you point out, there is more to complain about, too.

Somewhere in my house I have a book called "The Culture of Complaint," that addresses this subject - I need to go dig it up and take another look.

I don't disagree with people's right to complain, but what bothers me is the tenor of the complaining - seems to me it is far more aggressive than in the past, and often misdirected. And, too, it seems as if we *only* complain, instead of getting off our collective rear ends and doing something to help address the reason for the complaint. For example, there was a lot of complaining about courthouse renovation, but a mere 15% of the populace bothered to vote on the issue.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 6:44 AM

Just a short note to Kathy, Cheetah, and NanaDot. I had meant to mention earlier but had forgotten to do so, that last Sunday morning as I sat reading my beloved Sunday New York Times, and had just began to read my favorite op-ed columnist Frank Rich I found the word "bloviator". He was using it in reference to Fox News commentators (which I find totally appropriate). As I had spelled it "bloviater" it sent me immediately to my computer, not in a state of panic, let's just say concern. After all there is no comeuppance to a smart *** like a mistake illustrated by one for whom said smart *** has deep respect. With much relief my limited research revealed that the spelling is optional.

May you each enjoy today's celebration by not forgeting that it is partially a celebration of our right to alter our form of government should it be failing us.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Fri, Jul 4, 2008, at 5:18 PM

For more information on the word bloviate, I turned to one of my favorite websites, worldwidewords.org, for comment by Michael Quinion, a regular contributor to Bob Edwards' morning show on XM Radio. You can read his commentary on the word here:


It's a great word...and, not incidentally, a very direct comment on human nature, quirky as it is. Quinion says the word largely died out, then was revived in the 1990s. Considering Reagan-speak,and government-speak in general, that's no great surprise, I think. :)

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Sat, Jul 5, 2008, at 8:34 AM

Kathy I added the site to my favorites. Thanks for the tip.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sat, Jul 5, 2008, at 5:03 PM

Just a short note. Frank Rich used bloviator in his Sunday column again this week.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Jul 7, 2008, at 12:53 AM

Well, there's a reason that we have the saying "The grass is always greener on the other side." People forget that happiness is not an entitlement - even in our own Declaration of Independence, it is a right to the "pursuit of happiness" that is a given.

I'd say a number of people (some whom I have the misfortune to know personally) wake up complaining simply because they woke up and their life is not what they envisioned it to be. They don't look at how their own actions have affected their life - it is far easier to blame others than it is to take responsibility and credit for what happens in your life.

I teach my children that their actions have consequences (negative & positive) and that whining & complaining don't get you anything (well, at least not anything GOOD). If a 4-year old can understand and learn from that, you would think some adults could figure it out on their own!

-- Posted by koeller77 on Mon, Jul 7, 2008, at 9:33 AM

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Kathy Fairchild received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 1986 from Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa. She is also a 2003 graduate of the paralegal program at New York University. She moved to Marshall in 2006, following a career of more than 30 years with the world's largest farm equipment manufacturer. She is an Air Force brat and grandmother of four.
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