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Saturday, December 12, 2009

15 Minutes of Fame

Recently a family went to great lengths to bring themselves their fifteen minutes of fame. They made it appear that a small child was in danger, life-threatening danger, when in fact he was safe and sound. It took some time but in the end the truth was discovered, that it was all a hoax, a planned publicity stunt so the parents (mostly the father) would be considered for a reality show. WHAT? Sounds crazy? Well, it’s true and unfortunately becoming more and more common.
How many people send in their “audition” tapes to be on reality shows? How many people wave behind a news camera during a tragedy? Who are these people? Are they all of us? Do we all seek this glory we call “fame?” I hope not.
A recent pop song’s lyrics include,” When I grow up I want to be famous.” They also say they want to be a star and be in movies. Yet when you look closely at these “famous” people they go to great lengths to protect their privacy. They are constantly being quoted or misquoted. The most heinous or hideous the news the more scandal sheets have the ugliest picture they can find splashed across the front. That sounds appealing? Um. I’m thinking Not so much.
However, even I am not immune to the appeal of mass media attention. While listening to the radio one morning I heard Ryan Seacrest give advice to a woman and I disagreed. It wasn’t that I disagreed completely with his advice, but I did disagree with his reasoning and with his theory. So I made a phone call. Well, truth be told, I made several phone calls. Then after speaking to someone I sat on hold for a while. Eventually though I was transferred to Ryan and his co-host Ellen and the first thing I said was, “I love you Ryan, but…” Then we had a short but succinct conversation regarding this woman and her situation when Ryan commented, “I’m glad you don’t have your own radio show dispensing your bad advice!” Everyone laughed but me (I laughed later).
The funniest thing about this entire situation was that (my BFF/PLLATSABIDSA) Lori and I have for years thought of having our own radio show to dispense advice. She called me after hearing it laughing her head off (it was recorded as a message so I still have –and listen to—this delightful little tidbit!) over Ryan’s comment. She told me that I should have mentioned it but I’m so glad I didn’t. Oh, the ridicule! I was, however, quite giddy over having spoken with The Ryan Seacrest. I have commented several times to many different people that I got to tell him that I loved him (and I’m not so sure he even heard that part!).
Getting to hear yourself on the radio can be a little disconcerting, however I found it fun and invigorating. I was surprised at how good I sounded and that I matched Ryan’s articulation and word skill. I could be on the radio, not sure I want to though. After a few phone calls from friends that actually heard me (all laughing, I might add) I thought about this idea of fame and whether it was something I actually wanted. Nope. Not really. I certainly wouldn’t mind the paycheck that might come with it but the ultimate responsibility and lack of privacy would make me crazy. I relish in the ability to people-watch and blend with a crowd. I don’t think I could handle the criticism and lies that would inevitably follow from infamy. That does not sound appealing in the least!
So for my fifteen minutes of fame I got to speak with a well-known, well-loved celebrity who does not seem to make the headlines too often. I was heard by enough people to make me happy and know that my experience actually happened and wasn’t some obscure fantasy, or even a dream that seemed real but wasn’t. Unfortunately I was not able to re-access the experience on the internet or I would post it here for you all to hear but know it happened and it was fun!
If you are seeking some fifteen minutes beware lest it be in some negative way. The idea of being publicly ridiculed or chastised does not appeal to me in any way and if you are simply seeking fame then be careful of what you wish for!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

INtolerance & INfinitives

One of my mottos is “I cannot tolerate intolerance.” I love oxymoron’s like that. By the same token I have realized that an entire classification of words is offensive to me. Infinitives. Thus I have created another motto; “Never use infinitives, they are always wrong!”
I realize that my mottos contradict themselves but that is the nature of the way I think. Both ideas are founded on ignorance. Really, Ignorance is what is intolerable. There is no possible way to know how another person is, believes or feels in their hearts. Being judged is a serious pet-peeve of mine and both definitions require some kind of judgment.
I realize that stereotypes are not always wrong, that’s how they came about in the first place. However, it is seriously ignorant to believe that because a certain group commonly behaves X way therefore ALL of group X ARE this way. What? No! Where is the individualism? Where is the personal choice? What about the exception? There are always exceptions! That’s why infinitives make me crazy.
Infinitives are rude, presumptuous and arrogant. Do not use them around me unless you want to be criticized mercilessly for your obvious ignorance. Common uses: “I am never…” Of course you are! “You are always…” I most definitely am not! Another favorite use, “Every time it happens like this…” Not every time, that’s ridiculous!
Choices are at the root of both my mottos. I believe everyone has the power of personal choice. What we cannot choose are the resulting consequences. We also cannot control others choices. We have to learn to tolerate others freedom to choose. Sometimes the fallout of poor choices affects more than just the one making the choice (which is how bad things happen to good people). Just as we cannot control others choices we also cannot predict them. How often can we even predict our own? Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation we never imagined and suddenly we find ourselves making choices we claimed we would NEVER make! It happens. That is why intolerance is intolerable and infinitives are ignorant. Stay away from them!
Recently a coworker pointed out a news article that seemed contradictory to him. It was about the LDS church and their backing of some gay rights initiatives. The particular issues were regarding employment and housing. The church’s standpoint was that nobody should be denied work or residence based on their sexual preferences. Why is this a surprise to people? One of our basic beliefs is based on tolerance; Article of Faith #11 states, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” You can worship your keychain for all we care, just don’t hurt anyone, steal anything or damage any property while doing it. By the same token, please allow us the same opportunity. This is The Golden Rule at its finest!
While maintaining their stance on marriage (between a man and woman) the church does not contradict its teachings or any of their fundamental beliefs by backing legislature that insures people’s personal rights. We embrace such doctrine! We also allow ourselves the benefit of jurisdiction over church property; thus making same-sex public displays of affection forbidden on such properties, schools or places of worship. That is our prerogative and has nothing to do with personal rights. That couple still has the right to be together in whatever manner they desire, as long as it is not on church property. That’s the issue. We also don’t allow smoking; does that make us racist against smokers? That is ridiculous!
While some may still like to believe that the LDS church is racist, prejudiced, narrow minded and unfair, I tend to believe the opposite. The fact that I am a member is only an indication of what I think they stand for and one of the basic principals is that everyone has their own agency to choose their lifestyle, education, employment, place of residence, mode of worship and familial relationships. It is free choice. The only control they wield is over church membership, properties and privileges. That sounds fair. They make the rules, we can choose to follow or not.
Unfortunately there are members who believe differently. I don’t understand it. I don’t get it, but I know it exists. For whatever reason, they justify judgmental behaviors and intolerance. I have found that these tend to be the same people that use infinitives. Interesting, don’t you think?
No matter what, I believe Intolerance is Intolerable. Ignorance embraces Infinitives. Education inspires and widens the mind. Freedom is the key. I have to tolerate the ignorant that are intolerant and use infinitives. My only grace is that I don’t have to be their friend.