The silly and the frivolous – perhaps what we need more of

Dianne St. Jean
The silly and the frivolous  – perhaps what we need more of

The other day while I was watching some news program on television there was a story about a cat video festival that draws, not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands of people each year.

The annual cat video festival took place in St. Paul, Minnesota at the CHS Field city stadium. Large screens are set up, and people claim a spot to sit and simply watch dozens of Internet cat videos.

Yes, that’s all they are there for… to enjoy watching films about cats and their wiles. Just about everyone comes dressed up as cats, or in the least, donning various cat-themed shirts. The Mayor said that 13,000 attended this year. It was their fourth annual event.

Perhaps some might wonder why so much time and effort is put into an event that might be considered frivolous, even silly.  Yet when you set the story in a full backdrop of other news events, it’s somehow refreshing.

So much of the news, and especially reaction to the news, whether on social media or café chatter, is so reactionary - even volatile. Not that the news has never been negative or troubling, but whether it be about events or individuals, there seems to be so much anger in people’s reactions.

It reminds me of something that I overheard when I was young – back in the day when news did upset people sometimes, or caused them to worry, or when they disagreed with individuals or policies, but the level of reaction was not so intense and frenzied as it is now… except in this case.

At the time the hot topic was Trudeau (Pierre Elliott of course) vs Robert Stanfield, and although Trudeau defeated Stanfield, that didn’t mean that everyone liked him. For the most part, however, as I mentioned before, this was usually simply expressed in some frustrated talk in coffee shops.

But one individual hated Trudeau so much that every time the subject would come up (or he would bring it up), he would become angry to the point of becoming red-faced and flustered. It looked like the man would have a heart attack.

As it turns out, the man’s health did take a turn for the worse, and whether it was due to him boiling over about Trudeau or from something else, it did draw out this comment: “The guy could drop dead [from hating Trudeau] and Trudeau would never be the wiser. He’d just go on with his life.”

Indeed, more often than not our overreaction affects us alone, or the most.

At this time when there is so much controversy over issues, so much anger, so much protesting and even hatred, it felt good to see people making an effort to enjoy something just for the sake of enjoying it, even if seemingly frivolous or unimportant.

While it isn’t good to ignore serious issues, let’s also remember that there is a reason why, in nature, we not only see animals hunting, they also play.  Doing stuff that seems silly or frivolous just might be what we need more of.