Kevin James Tackles The World Around Us
You may or may not know this, but ever since the pandemic started in March, Kevin James has spent his time making weird and oddly hilarious video shorts on his YouTube channel. Most of these shorts are just famous movie scenes with him spliced into them, but this one seems to go pretty deep. It speaks of the human spirit in a way we haven't heard in a long time. At least, we haven't come together as a nation in such a way since 9/11, and I'm afraid it's going to take another catastrophic event like that to put us back in that mindset. I don't think nostalgia is enough to make people remember. It's a gloomy thought, but it's one shared by millions of people.
You probably don't know this but Critter has been a mentor to me since the moment I walked in the front door at Z94 in 2006. When I would share my feels and junk, really just complaining about stuff that was eating me up inside, he'd always have words of advice for me. I think one of those private conclusions applies to the country today.
A little backstory... Since the dawn of radio, there have been ratings. It's the measure of popularity not only between radio stations, but also between radio personalities. Those statistics can break down the average listener tuning in and how popular a specific DJ is. He and I always flip flopped having bragging rights on the station, but we always focused more on stations as a whole. Then one day, it changed. There are three radio stations in our building. The rock station, a country station, and a pop station. While we live rock individually, we work for all three. We've built, programmed, and bled for these stations over the years, and a few years ago, for the first time, our three radio stations represented #1, #2, & #3 in our little SWOK market. We won the battle and celebrated appropriately. Then, as more ratings came time and time again, nothing changed. Being the top three became the new normal and, well, we needed a new challenge. Maintenance mode is good for a moment, but becomes dull in time. We needed an enemy to chase after, which introduced a new problem.
Both Critter and I are trample the weak, hurdle the dead type people. There is no second place with us. You're either first or last. So naturally, with the lack of competition in town, we ended up adopting each other as enemies and went to fighting each other over the only metric of measure left, who's number one... I admit, I took it far enough that we had a come-to-Jesus sit-down on a blazing hot summer day. We had it out, realized what we were doing to each other, and once again, he had the words of advice that made logic of the entire situation... Everyone needs a villain.
Those words make so much sense. At the turn of the century, it was a collective "us" vs "them." America versus terrorism. al-Qaeda, Iraq, ISIS, etc... The country united and everyone was brother and sister to everyone else. It was a golden time to be American... but those enemies eventually came and went, America went into maintenance mode. With the lack of a villain, we turned on each other. Now the us-vs-them battles are squabbles between citizens. White vs black, religion vs religion, conservative vs liberal, Karen's vs science, mask vs just a flu... It's entered a fever pitch of activity too during a worldwide pandemic. Some predicted coronavirus would be the catalyst that would reunite American citizens, but it hasn't had that effect at all. We poked fun at the low death numbers, went out into the streets squabbling, and now we're cruising on to those original projections still denying we even have a problem.
I don't know what will unite our country once again, there's no easy answer to that question. Everybody can't have what they want, the world can't work like that... but we can all work together to find a common ground we agree on. Maybe if we fought as hard for unity as we are for the opposite, we might find it.
Everyone needs a villain, lets not be each others.