Ism

“Not that I condone facism; or any ism for that matter. Isms, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself.”

Listen to it in Matthew Broderick’s voice. Move the “I.” You restructure the first sentence a little, “I don’t condone facism or any ism for that matter.” Think about any “ism.” Ferris Bueller doesn’t condone racism. All right, he’s the literal poster child for white male privilege, but he doesn’t condone racism, it’s an ism. He can’t condone communism. Or socialism. Or feminism. Or nationalism. Or eroticism. There are a lot of ism words. I got off track a little. Because the interesting part is the second half of the statement, it’s an argument to reward you for agreeing. John Hughes did have certain talents.

The rest of the quote, the less memorable John Lennon part, is just to make Ferris Bueller feign self-effacement.

I don’t really have a political philosophy anymore. I probably did in the late nineties. I read. I thought about things. When I was in high school, for a while I had some friends who had older siblings getting into the dread communism. It’s 1994 maybe. Wall hadn’t been down long, much less the Soviets (they were still leftover bad guys in new movies); we learned from James Bond movies. Rabid anti-communism sold and everybody had been selling it. It wasn’t just big “C” communism, it was small “c” communism too. When I was in high school, I also heard the first carefully measured acknowledgement—from a history teacher—maybe communism wasn’t an all bad idea. That kind of statement was saved for the honors class, I feel like, not to be a cynic but whatever. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyway.

Pretty soon after, socialism became something of a buzz word. I don’t know why it did at that time, I have terrible memories of the mid-90s as it turns out. I apparently watched “Star Trek: The Next Generation” a lot more than I remember because going through it again, seeing lots of familiar episodes. But after I graduated high school, before the ’96 election, I got into a really weird political state. I was very NPR well-informed. PBS and NPR well-informed are about the same thing, or used to be, I’m neither now so I don’t know. But then I was talking to people who thought they were well-informed, but weren’t. Or didn’t seem to be well-informed.

And now I’m going to go watch a “Star Trek.” Possibly to be continued.

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