The Pony Express

The art of complaining eludes Americans

Laura Hogan, Opinions Editor

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Complaining pervades our society. From the Jersey Shore to the Iowa plains, there are individuals who find it necessary to whine about overrated issues such as politics, revolutions, and even education, all in a useless effort to incur change.

But just think with me for a moment: if all the people in the world focused their criticism on real-life issues, such as the variety of chips in school lunches, change wouldn’t remain a useless hope but would become an actuality.

Skimming the major news networks’ websites, I find headlines such as “An era of cheap food may be drawing to a close” ( With all the disturbing things occurring in today’s world, people deem the rising price of food important enough to be a leading headline.

Contrary to popular belief, whether or not food is cheap enough for the average consumer is not that significant of a problem. In all honesty, it’s a blessing in disguise.

Because according to statistics, a significantly large percentage of the American population (over 1/3) is overweight or obese. These rising prices of food are merely forcing people to buy, and consequently consume, less food. If individuals wish to complain about something that is helping them shed those few extra pounds, it’s no skin off my nose. And should comestible prices ever become excessively expensive, there’s always the broccoli from the garden.

But this is only the icing on the cake. As every American with a little dose of common sense understands, from December through March, the tilt of the earth’s axis causes the phenomenon we know as winter. This means that the temperature becomes predictably cooler.

Yet many northerners still find it within them to whine about the snow and the deadly blizzards and the massive power outages they face every single year, even though they know it’s coming. Last I checked, neither blankets nor snuggies have been labeled a scarce commodity.
And maybe if they pray for global warming, their situation will improve.

The only individuals who have a license to complain about the winter are Floridians. For those who have yet to experience what I’m describing, the weather in Florida is, in the literal sense of the word, bipolar.

For example, one day in late January I’ll swing out of bed and as the icy tiles hit my bare feet I’ll decide to bundle up in coats and scarves for school. But by the time midday rolls around, the temperature has climbed from forty to seventy and I’m sweating.

These dramatic changes in climate can be both mentally and psychologically unsettling. Girls especially will struggle in vain to decide whether to dress for warm weather or cold weather and will end up in a strange hybrid outfit, consisting of both boots and shorts.

While northerners can at least anticipate the weather and prepare adequately, those in the south have no such luxury. Politicians and environmental activists need to wake up out of hibernation and listen to the complaints of Floridians and begin researching remedies for this problem.

But maybe individuals would have a plausible excuse for their attitudes if they ranted about something they had the power to change.
But the fact is, complaining about the latest actions of the government is relatively fruitless, especially in light of the fact that most politicians are deaf to the public. However, there are other, far more important things about which people could bemoan.

For instance, the results of the Academy Awards depict a clear image of America to the international artistic community. Yet when movies such as The Social Network win the prestigious title of Best Picture, other countries will receive the impression that Americans are a people who esteem their computers and Facebook above all else. This negative image would lower the world’s standard of our country.

But protesting such poor choices would cause those designated with voting for award winners to rethink their decisions and choose something of greater cultural quality, thereby presenting a more positive picture of American society to the world.

The issue all boils down to choosing the right topic to rail upon. The course of the education system or our nation’s government don’t even warrant our attention. Instead with the right subject and the right tone of voice, complaining can be a most effective tactic to call attention to suffering and to incur change in hair styles, TV shows, and even gum flavors.

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The art of complaining eludes Americans