Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Velveteen Nation

Ever since Pixar's "Cars" some of my kids have wanted to watch racing. They have a Daytona 500 race Wii game and specialize in spectacular crashes.  Finishing is for the singularly uninteresting in their minds.  Post game wrap up consists more of discussing the total decimation of their vehicles and how they exploded or limped into an explosion.  Perhaps they thought the game was realistic, because they were psyched for Sunday. 

What they discovered was the degree to which boredom can be contagious as they watched various race car drivers talk about the weather or what they twittered about the weather or whether they should even have twitter accounts as they waited for the opportunity to drive around in circles 500 times.  Within 15 minutes of all talk all the time, two of the boys had bailed for the Wii.  The third son was more dedicated but when the discussion became a discussion about the discussion they were having that the race car drivers felt they should not discuss on television, the final child decided extra studying for school was preferable. 

On Monday, by the time we remembered that today was the race, the big crash had already happened.  It was talked about ad infinitem, but the reality of the race was so eclipsed by the track conditions, the delay and the fire such that while we know the race ended, we neither saw nor cared. Nor have we even felt the need to google the result. My children have gone back to the virtual world versions of this same thing.  It's more fun.

Like the Oscars where more people discussed Angela Jolie's thigh than any actual film and the GOP Primaries which seem to never end or have actual winners,  systemic failures and spectacular crashes along the way have made the actual process seem plodding, dull and unoriginal.  The whole mood of the whole country seems to be summed up in "Let me know when you decide to do something." and "I'm sick of these excessive celebrations in the end zone before you've actually scored."

I'd like to think that everyone is just plain exhausted from years and years and years of political spin and the disingenuous attempt by the press to paint anyone as a god or a devil.  I'd like to think that everyone really wants to send a message to Washington and Hollywood to get outside their bubbled existence and know that hype is just that, hype. We won't believe the worst or the best printed about you.  Kindly extend the same courtesy to all of us.   But the reality is probably more complicated and simple than that.

The cyber and political world can make us forget the actual, where 99% of Americans of all political stripes and persuasions seem to be able to have normal discourse and kindness and progress and commerce and even friendships without the rules or consent of the government and politicos.  99% of Americans also manage to get through the day without knowing or caring what Hollywood thinks on any "important" matter.   What we don't understand is why the miles inside the beltway suffocate any capacity for civility or common sense.  We also do not comprehend why the beautiful people of the film and television industry, who have everything and are paid to step into other people's shoes, to create illusions, to imagine themselves as other than who they are and convey it convincingly, are so incapable of imagining any thoughts to have validity that do not echo their own.  The beltway and the Hollywood class seem stuck on their own track for the 500+ laps, unable to comprehend anything beyond their own designated path. 

The thing is, in the real world, there are a lot of other roads and open spaces and thoughts and ways of seeing things than those prescribed, scripted and approved by whomever the "They" is that prescribes, scripts and approves such things.   We're more interesting and real than the limited roles cast for us by those who have the power of the pen, the screen, position or title.  We actually want solutions and believe they're there for those with courage enough to propose them.  We also believe that we're smart enough to be told what's really going on, rather than pandered to and patted on the head or promised the sun, moon and stars.  We're real.  We know that all things have limits, even government spending, even government regulations.  Even more frightening for all of you, we were always real, you've just never noticed.

1 comment:

LindaF said...

I've been "blah" about the ongoing primary season so far this year. I dialed out of TV coverage/reality shows/hype LONG ago. If I want to watch junk, I'll pick up 2 & 1/2 Men re-runs (they're junk, but they make no pretense of being otherwise. And it's an interesting morality play - those that try to do right are generally not rewarded in life, those that avidly embrace evil often have no earthly consequences, most of them are a mixture of good and evil - plus, I just enjoy hearing men talking like they really do talk when women aren't listening).

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