Monday, December 23, 2013

Keeping it Real

Controversy! We are not supposed to like heated conflict, but for some reason, we feed off of it... even at Christmas time. I've never seen the show Duck Dynasty, but I'm told it's quite good. Evidently, a guy on the show said something in an interview that got him suspended from his job. Liberals are bashing him and happy, conservatives are upset and defending his right to be free from religious persecution. Pretty much?

But, isn't this show a "reality" show? They're not actors playing roles, right? The thing about reality is that every once in a while you're going to hear and see things that you don't want to hear and see. Sometimes things get "a little too real." Aren't there times you wish you could just cut to commercial or call in the extra? You don't always get the girl in the end, there may not be a good punch line, and things don't look as beautiful as they should when the light of day shines brightly. I know I used to wish there was a mute button when I worked with Grace at Jaleo when she was in the singing mood - definitely not Julie Andrews. You don't get an applause sign, and the ending isn't always happy. (I'm still waiting for my soundtrack.) Unfortunately, in reality, you just have to deal with it. 

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be a downer. On the flip side, reality takes you outside of your living room. You can't feel the sea breeze with Bette Midler on the beach, nor can you smell the aromas of the spice market that James Bond rides through on a motorcycle, and you sure can't taste his martini in the movie theater. In life, a love story is very seldom confined to 110 minutes, and you don't always have to wait until Thursday night to see your favorite people. Reality, in a way, is boundless in that the story can take you in any direction, yet life is bound by a single take. Real life has conflict, and there is not always a naturally following resolution. 

What worries me is not so much this thirst for conflict, but the thirst for blood when thought is policed. Mr. Duck Dynasty Man apparently committed a hate-crime with his mouth and it is widely considered in this country worthy of penalization. We better be careful that we recognize the danger of failing to separate the concepts of a point of view and an action infringing on liberty. Furthermore, the forces that benefit from dividing us on every controversy have allowed us to do a great disservice to intelligent dialogue and rational civil debate. The opinion of one man who is not entrusted with a position of power has absolutely no power over you and your real life, but the societal branding that is going on is dangerous and truly needs a reality check. We need to get back to the value of an opinion being something sacred; absent that, this reality show called "America" is reduced to bullies and the shamed unpopular minority on the playground. For real. 

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