I wrote the following post along with a back log of others a month or so ago. Not that the world wasn’t already in shambles, but since writing this several more incidents of tragedy have hit our nation and the world. So before posting I thought I’d start off with this sort of post script-preface to say that by no means am I wanting to marginalize any horrendous events or lives lost. My purpose in the below piece is simply my spin on specifically highlighting our society’s fasciation, reaction and interaction within not only current events but everyday life. That being said, here-we-go!
I recently finished writing and directing a short film; a video montage if you will. Granted I only accomplished this piece of work in my mind, I’ve watched it several times already. No other eyes have seen it. I mentally orchestrated these scenes that play out as a of promo of sorts for a television show.
We see alternating shots between several families in various countries outside of America. Their household settings clearly display each of their cultures and, without subtitles, their respective foreign languages are heard through the speakers. Their excitement is obvious as each family rushes to gather in the living room areas of their humble abodes. The shots of the different homes progressively shorten in length; the cuts between them increase in frequency.
A final rapid sequence through each home – a close-up on their faces further express thick anticipation as they gaze in the same direction while huddled on and around their couches. When the last family in the sequence is shown the camera pans over and quickly zooms into a television. Epic dramatic and celebratory music blasts from the speakers as flashing images of Kanye, Bieber, the Kar…(almost)…Trump, Hillary, a gorilla, Prince and air brushed photos of Jack Black’s six-pack abs appear on screen. The title adorns the screen in glowing neon fashion:
THE AMERICA SHOW
That’s our nation! By Nielsen ratings America would be a globally top rated reality show. Drama, conflict and oh yes, division. Just to be clear, difference isn’t the enemy here. That’s not my point, variety is paramount. We’re a little bit country, we’re a little bit rock-n-roll. But we have certainly become obsessed with the drama and conflict within our variety. And we are no longer only spectators as we’ve descended onto the field; the abyss where TMZ is lurking in the darkness.
What?! The episode is over?! What are we gonna do now? We have to wait until next week to see who gets the next rose? I wanna know who will be voted out now!? Oh wait…I can just binge watch Orange is the New Black until next week.
Done! Hmm…now what? Well if there’s nothing else to watch and absorb turmoil, I can get my fix by simply acting out the drama in-home from the comfort of my couch.
It appears that our personal lives, households and neighborhoods have been infiltrated by this phenomena of conflict addiction. Facebook and Twitter are now the preeminent arenas for contesting. Around the clock both strangers and friends alike step onto the virtual field to spar with their artillery of diatribes and hateful word jabs. Each castaway seems to be an expert on life; we all seem to know how and why our way to live, fix the world and stop hate is better than the other’s method…to the point of hatred. As if it would do any good for someone gripping another person by the chest of their shirt and repeatedly punching them in the face while screaming “Don’t you see what I’m saying, violence won’t solve anything!”
Between two suburban neighborhoods, one in Kansas City and now Tampa, I see it almost daily in our community where closed Facebook groups of residents are meant to communicate and help one another. Where we are now in Florida there are of over 9,000 members on our neighborhood page. It is intended for suggestions on trade services, offering items for sale, new resident questions, or looking out for our fellow neighbors by reporting potentially suspicious activities. But inevitably most posts turn into a juvenile debate or an immature battle of insults. Whether impactful or not, a resident’s post with good intentions still manages to garner someone’s need for a derogatory reply that is entirely unwarranted. And this is by done by grown adults…parents! Not sure what happened to “love thy neighbor”!
Obviously this isn’t confined to closed group pages on Facebook. It’s all over the social media outlets and the internet at large. Twitter wars is an actual thing. Even us Christians partake in the punches. I mean come’n dudes, can we stop that already – it’s embarrassing! A great friend of mine frequently pointed out that everyone’s memorized John 3:16 but they don’t know what the next verse says (http://bit.ly/28QrrsI – go head, look it up). Sometimes I wonder what percentage of Christ followers have ever read the entire Bible because I’m pretty sure it speaks about love with quite a degree of frequency.
But I digress!
I don’t recall a winner ever coming out of an argument between my wife and I over who was right or wrong about something. Come to think of it, I can’t remember any person or entity ever agreeing or seeing it “their” way via the use of hateful comments, arguing or forcing one’s ideas down the other’s throat – that would only choke someone. But I have seen people change their perspective and their way of life NOT because they were told to but because they were…wait, are you ready for this? Ok here it is – change was INSPIRED!!
What a novel idea right?! But while we wait for inspiration to prevail, please know that the toilet paper roll goes up..not down. Starbuck’s coffee sat on the burner too long, America runs on Dunkin’!! Listen to rock-n-roll, not country, understand it’s the Beatles and not the Stones, and for heaven’s sake – Jesus is a Star Wars fan, not Star Trek! Now if only everyone would just see things my way this would be a better world.
Until then we’ll just be the media and continue to write the scripts and produce episodes that (dys)function and thrive on strife and discord. But with this cast and theme, productions costs are extremely high. The Producer may eventually have to cancel the series and we may be asked to grab our torches.
“The tribe has spoken!”
Welcome to The America Show!!