you people seem pretty fast and loose with other people's lives.
I'm wondering how to turn this into a productive outcome.
I'm missing the relevance of death dealing madmen to my pedestrian struggle.
I agree. There's not much relevance in the past few posts to your predicament, except perhaps a demonstration of the fact that an opinion is just an opinion, whether it be the merits of a particular photograph or the truth about purported events of a particular period of history.
What does seem a little puzzling to me is the following question from your original post. "What is it that as a photographer I should be interested in?"
This question is one that only you
can answer, unless you are a professional photographer, in which case the answer would be, "You should be interested in, and try to produce, the sorts of photos which your clients find most pleasing."
Being an amateur is an excellent position to be in because you are your own client. You can therefore take photos, not
of what you should
be interested in, but what you actually are
I think I'd hate being a wedding photographer. However, if circumstances were such that I found myself trying to earn a living as a wedding photographer, I think I'd do a lot of research on the sorts of photos that tend to produce the 'oohs! and aahs!' from wedding clients in general, and practise the techniques required to capture such shots, even if I personally thought such shots were crap.
Having found a scene, a subject, which interests you, which inspires you to a degree sufficient to motivate you to take the trouble to photograph it, the problem then becomes one of processing the image in such a way that the final result, in print or on monitor, depicts to your own satisfaction that initial experience which motivated you to take the shot in the first instance.
This is not necessarily easy and often requires far more skill in post processing than the initial technical competence of getting a correct exposure and a well-focussed shot.
For this task we have that wonderful tool called Photoshop. Perhaps you took the shot because of an amazing sky which was dark and threatening. You got the exposure correct but that dark, ominous, brooding sky has become bland in the automatically processed result on your monitor. Not worth making a print to hang on your wall. Don't give up. You need to select parts of the image in Photoshop and give them different processing. That's what your eye and brain did before you took the shot. It's not cheating.