Sometimes We Get It Right
Today’s Naked Truth is that it’s tough to maintain a cheerful visage in today’s world. I do my best to make this blog a soft spot to land (hence the beachy sunset photo), but sometimes it feels improper—sometimes even insensitive—to chatter on like one of the Chipmunks, blasting happy exclamation points, when so much of what we see and hear is negative, depressing, maddening, or downright scary.
Yesterday’s big topic was Melania Trump’s pilfering of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech. Pardon my eye roll. We writers get all fired up about plagiarism—and rightly so—but when it comes to politicians, it’s just politics as usual. The truth is, Mrs. Trump’s name is added to a long line of politicians who have lifted the words of someone else and tried to take the credit. Take a look: http://wgntv.com/2016/07/19/remember-when-joe-biden-plagiarized-a-speech-while-running-for-president/
I’m sure if I kept Googling I would have found more. That link came up in a one second search and I didn’t look any further. The more surprising thing to me was that The Donald said he wasn’t firing anyone over the whole debacle. And, really, after I took a look at the short (and incomplete) list of those who have done exactly what Melania Trump did, I can hardly lay the blame on any one person. Stealing words appears to be all the rage, and not only in the USA. Also, for all you folks out there worried that DT is going to become president and turn the Oval Office into an Emporium of Evil, take a breath already. They keep shooting themselves with their mouths, making a win rather unlikely. Besides, if you ask Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Oval Office is now, and has always been, an Emporium of Evil. (Perspective is everything.)
Speaking of the leader of ISIS, I read recently that his “escaped former wife” says that he used to be just a “normal family man” working as a university lecturer, a man who came home to his wives (a real overachiever) at the end of his work day to play with his children and, moreover, he loved his children, was their “idol.” (Read the article HERE.) I was reminded of a line in the 1992 movie Shining Through that I’ll paraphrase here: What good is a man who loves his own children if he has no problem killing someone else’s?
Restating/pilfering/lifting to broaden the scope of the statement: What good is anyone who is kind to their inner circle but unkind to those outside of it?
Is the world crazier than it used to be? Are people more violent, more evil? Or is it just that our technology has allowed us to view these events in Technicolor? Weren’t we better off before we could loop a video of some hooded terrorist beheading an innocent victim? Weren’t we better off before people had the ability to make up untrue statements and post them on Facebook as fact? I’m not saying we should be ignorant, only that I’m not so certain our ability to acquire instant news is a good thing. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. News agencies are in such a hurry to blast out the latest story that they don’t even proofread their postings. Copy editing has given way to faster-faster-faster. And sometimes the evening news refutes the morning news because a story was blown up before the facts were in. A grainy cell phone video hits the Internet and we all become armchair quarterbacks, judge and jury regarding events of which we have no true knowledge. Do we really want it fast? Or do we want it right?
Something to think about: A quote from the 1995 movie The Usual Suspects. It was actually lifted (apropos!) from Le Spleen de Paris, an 1869 collection of poetry by Charles Baudelaire: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
Evil might be having fun with its bag of tricks, but there is still good in the world, too. Here is a video courtesy of the Wichita Eagle, and the accompanying news article (http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article90213592.html) proving that sometimes we nutty humans get it right.
Wishing you peace, love, and a week of kindness. And be careful, too. It’s crazy out there.