Sunday, January 24, 2010

Shidduchim, and Conan O’Brien on Cynicism

[This week's Haveil Havalim is here]

A bit too much going on for a real post today, but here are two items that caught my eye recently and that I believe are worth consideration:

1. Mother in Israel has been running a series on Dating in Israel today, as her children move toward the age of shidduchim and dating and all of the challenges that come with watching our families create the next generation. Click here for the sixth installment, on Internet Dating in the Religious Zionist community.

This Shidduchim issue is not on my immediate horizon, but I still find it an interesting read. Of course, like most people, I entered the dating world wanting to be independent and do it without parental intervention and the general involvement of my seniors, but as I move toward that age and that role I begin to understand why it is so stressful to watch your children go through this stage, and why keeping Hands Off! is far easier said than done. So I can start to begin to somewhat relate to Mother in Israel’s situation.

[I remember when robotics and nanotech first started to make inroads in the popular mindset, and one of the big novelties was the thought that we could create machines which would, in turn, create more machines, which would, in turn, create more machines. This would, we thought, mean a major step toward the humanization of machines. In truth, though, the human aspect is not in the reproduction, it's in the way we do it. That humanesque threshold will be crossed only when those machines start creating Personal Ads, setting each other up, going to hotel lobbies and agonizing over their options, not to mention hiring caterers and videographers, before creating their progeny.]

2. And the second item is a quote from Conan O’Brien’s last show, in which he holds forth on Cynicism and sounds somewhat like Rebbe Nachman:

“All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere," he concluded. "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen.”

Amen, Conan.


  1. Therapydoc-
    Never watched him, but I sure like that line.

  2. I have to disagree with Conan's remark. If I had not been as cynical as I have always been I would have been locked up long ago. I firmly believe that life (especially in Israel) requires a degree of healthy cynicism.

  3. "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen.”

    To me that is the crux of it.

  4. Marc -
    Are you sure that you are describing cynicism? Mental toughness and resiliency are, to me, different traits.

  5. I don't think I am particularly tough of resilient, but I always except things to go wrong because they often do. Low expectations yields low disappointment.

  6. Marc,
    I wouldn't equate "low expectations" with cynicism. The former allows for optimism, the latter does not.

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  8. Funny, I just watched Conan's last show last night online.
    That quote is a beauty, eh? (No, I'm not Candadian, but I did love the movie STRANGE BREW).

    It's an important message for generation X and Y. I believe the into to Mesillas Yesharim sort of is along the same line. Life is difficult, but that's part of deal.

  9. Neil-
    Of course, if you were Canadian, you couldn't watch it on-line... on-line rights issues and all.