Thursday, December 26, 2013

Been There, Done That, Been There, Done That

The world is starved of authenticity. The internet, Facebook, all social networks, (this blog, for heavens sake!) are all about connections. But these connections are, more often than not, inadequate, but usually all that most can bear.

The internet is the perfect balm for this "age of narcissism". This age no longer allows for private moments. I'm not speaking of privacy, I consider that a different issue, and pretty much a lost cause.

Private moments are those brief and fleeting moments of our lives when for whatever reason, the shields are down and real emotions are available and unharnessed by social conventions. These private moments, so precious and so beautiful, used to be enjoyed in fulfilling isolation. These days, much less so.

An example of this would be a marriage proposal at a ballpark broadcast on the jumbotron for all to see, and intrude upon. It's such a relief when, as often as not, the gal turns the lout down. What is more loutish than setting her up for this public display of what ought rightly be a private moment? The unfair application of this public pressure is at best unseemly, and at worst mean and manipulative.

For the last few years, as our country's undeclared and unending foreign wars grind ever onward, we've seen more and more "homecoming videos", the reuniting of families with their returning soldiers. Someone got the bright idea to orchestrate these events and video them for the world to see.

Now there are innumerable videos of husbands and fathers, and mothers and wives, stepping out and surprising their families and particularly their children with their abrupt and unexpected presence. The expected flood of emotions and tears are shown in closeup and after a mandatory stop on the local news, settle into the numberless You Tube shorts, hoping for viral status.

Is this country so numb that we have to glom onto the spillage of genuine emotions and the dishonest pillaging of these innocent people and their private moments? Why do these families, rather than reveling in the joy of reuniting their families, feel the need to imitate all the versions of this scenario that has preceded them?
It's now gotten to the point that these returning veterans are filming their pets' over the top reactions to reuniting with their just returned owners. I daresay these loyal pets acted that way when their owners would come home at the end of the day on a regular basis, but that's just my own guess.

The public viewing of these private moments only serves to devalue them, to reduce them to the level of cliche. It's a cringe-worthy exercise in over the top narcissism and ultimately debases all involved.

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