David Bouchier

David Bouchier’s weekly essays are full of unexpected observations and whimsical opinions. Listeners will relish his entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes exasperated commentaries on the routines that carry us through the year, the surreal rituals of politics, the unsettling experience of foreign travel, and the confusions and comedies of everyday suburban life.

The Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde once defined a cynic as “A man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” We all know people like this, the most boring of all boring conversationalists, who talk obsessively about prices, values and bargains as if salvation lay in making the best deal.

Now that the election is over, we can return to more traditional and less frightening forms of entertainment. When the evenings draw in and the temperature falls with the leaves, there’s nothing as comforting as a nice murder. Tonight, millions of respectable, non-violent Americans will double lock their doors and settle down to an evening of mayhem and homicide on the small screen. The murder rate in America has been going down for a long time but on television it has gone the opposite way. By the age of eighteen, according to Mr. Google, the average citizen has watched 40,000 murders.

Thanksgiving is quintessentially a family festival. Never mind that improbable tale about Indians and turkeys, this week is all about families getting together. Everybody agrees that the family is a good thing. "Family values" has become an all-purpose term of moral approval, even though, if you look at it globally, "family values" around the world embrace everything from the blood feud and honor killing to ritual mutilation. It’s all a matter of taste.

Democracy is a glorious idea. The notion of free citizens governing themselves by electing the best and brightest people among them as representatives is one of the best notions that the human race has ever produced. It’s a pity that the results are so often disappointing – especially that the chosen representatives so seldom appear to be the best and the brightest, let alone the most noble and honest citizens.

Presidential elections are emotional and sometimes hysterical events, and that’s not good. Elections are supposed to be based on thoughtful policies and sensible choices. Modern democracy was after all an invention of the Age of Reason in the 18th century. But today’s elections seem more like celebrations of unreason.

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