More and more often (at least two or three times a week), I find myself exasperated and exhausted by the stupidity/greed/cruelty of people. Idiocy abounds, and sometimes I feel the need to remind myself that not all human activity is a roiling ocean of rotten pus. At these moments I never think about mankind’s great achievements, be they scientific, architectural or athletic. Moon walk, pyramids, Everest scaling… these kinds of lofty accomplishments do not make me feel any better about my fellow man. And while I can find solace in great art and music (Chopin “Nocturnes” soothe and smooth) it’s really only the goofy stuff that can restore affection. Like YouTube videos of the “Soul Train” line dance, for example.
Soul Train (Series 2, Episode #47, 1973); The O’Jays, “Love Train” (1972)
If watching that clip improved your disposition even a little, I invite you to take The Video Cure for Day-to-Day Disgust. It starts with eyeballing a performance of virtually any song from “Guys and Dolls.” Here’s one.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, “Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat: Guys and Dolls” (1951)
If you’re in a profound people-hating state, you may want to opt for a student production, which is even more endearing and warmth-inducing.
Unionville High School (PA), Guys and Dolls (2013)
Watching fireworks (and watching people watching fireworks) has always made me feel good about humans. These absurdly expensive, carefully choreographed eruptions of pretty exist only to awe and delight, and that purposelessness makes me happy. The collective oohing and ahhing of a crowd assembled for no reason but to gawk at sparkly lights in the night sky also fills me with gladness, and even hope.
Explomaniac, “Japanese Ground Shells” (2007)
And finally, any civilization that could produce the theremin, and a woman with this hair-do to play it, can’t be all bad.
Clara Rockmore, “The Swan On The Theremin” (1992)
– Elyse Friedman