Finneran: The Grouch

Friday, February 15, 2019


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Tom Finneran

Perhaps it’s a seasonal thing.

Lord knows that come February up here in the Northeast, even the most mellow folks seem a bit on edge. All those long dark nights followed by short cold days seem to take a toll. No wonder those Florida beaches beckon.

My friend The Grouch, however, needs no seasonal excuse to do what he does best. He is an ever-ready ever-grouchy character. Note however that his grouchiness is not without foundation. He usually has a point!

The Grouch complains:

  • That we have become a nation of crybabies. Everyone, absolutely everyone, is offended by or about something. We have become the grievance capital of the world. Once upon a time, Americans were known for humor, resourcefulness, and strength. Now the world sees a nation of social media crybabies whining their lives away, crying desperately for “safe spaces”. These are not adults in any sense of the word.
  • As American society becomes less and less racist, to the point of a trace existence, and more and more tolerant, to the point of exhibitionist celebration, it is ever more vigorously attacked as hopelessly racist and intolerant. The Grouch suspects that opportunists---and crybabies---can’t let go of a narrative that suits their purposes.
  • That the nation’s colleges have chosen indoctrination over education. He sees today’s college campuses as gulags, specializing in grievance studies rather than the traditional Western canon of science, literature, and history. In a burst of fellowship, The Grouch smilingly suggests that all employers study very closely the college transcripts of prospective employees and that wide avoidance be given to those who chose to imbibe in grievance studies. The Grouch notes, happily, that a declining college-age demographic is quite likely to force colleges to drop the grievance study nonsense that now runs rampant across the land. I’ve never seen The Grouch so excited by the probabilities.
  • That families can no longer afford to attend even a few baseball, football, hockey, or basketball games. Ticket prices are astronomical. Parking prices are piratical. Concession prices are pure thievery. The Grouch was once a big sports fan. That is no longer true.
  • That the Grammys, the Oscars, the Emmys, and all such nonsense is a colossal waste of time. The Grouch calls it the celebration of the vacuous. Such a fancy word for him to use………..I argue with him that the explicit sexual objectivization of such evenings makes the hypocrisy of those Hollywood lectures utterly delicious. Hollywood hypocrisy---is there anything richer?
  • That if high school yearbooks are now to be scrutinized for indiscretions, then absolutely no one can ever serve in public office. Think of high school---you are, by definition and in fact, a 16, 17, or 18-year-old idiot. You are stupid. You are immature. You are hormonal. You say stupid things. You do stupid things. Male or female, black or white, it makes no difference. You are an idiot. Yes, the idiocy has a longer shelf life in the male of the species, but the female is not immune to the idiot reality.


The Grouch is right.

Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio.


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