Louis Armstrong, Reality & The T.V.

It is not my nature to watch television, even though I thoroughly enjoy Oprah’s facial expressions and raw candidness with her guests and audiences.  Her natural ability to communicate is as endearing as it is engaging.  Ellen’s child-like innocence, vulnerability and authenticity rivals Oprah’s, which makes these two dynamic and powerful women so irresistible.  It is the Child-like…quality in adults that we find we are so drawn to, I think because, on some level, this is where we all enjoy communicating.  It is our Buddha nature defining who we truly are, shining through with our honesty and an innocence that all of humanity shares… My children have months of taped shows that I have fantasized about watching at some point.  For the most part, I have not watched television for the past eight years.  At best, I will scan the t.v. as I pass from room to room to glance at what my children are watching.  Pretty harmless stuff:  The Simpsons; American Idol, Scrubs, 24 and John Stewart.

I hear there are television shows based on the private lives of individuals and their reality and exploitation of their personal lives. (and they get paid to allow this?  Doesn’t that make it more ugly?)  I don’t even know who John and Kate are, I just know they have a ton of kids and are now getting divorced!

Question: Why would anyone want his or her private life exposed without provocation by someone else?  We enjoy this?  Are we such a voyeuristic race that we have not evolved from the primitive-tiny-brain state of our primates?  (They were probably more evolved than we are today!)  Even so, if you are provoked, I can’t imagine any kind of compensation for such global scandal, not to mention the unimaginable disruption in the lives involved.  To willingly agree to have your life as a live show and to allow that show to invade your private world seems equivalent to publicly gutting yourself and enjoying the pain and degradation of your soul as it gushes for the world to see, comment on and judge.  Is our world rapidly becoming some S&M Circus or replication of barbaric times where we pay to watch individuals destroy themselves and take pleasure in watching them?

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At the gym yesterday morning every television channel colorfully displayed media horrors.  Atrocities around the world, a train conductor killed in a crash; there was Michael Jackson’s death and the gossip that surrounded this iconic man’s life. The news flashed with the speculations and assumptions and judgments on who he was, who he was not and: Who was he really? How can we not have anything but empathy for him?  We, as a society participated in creating him in one-way or another.  It is what society does.  We build Them up only to tear them down to shreds with ignorant opinions and accusations.  (Kind of like our own lives and the people in it…)

Farrah Fawsett also passed away, ending her very public battle with cancer and lastly that republican governor and his sad story...  As I have stated before and I keep wondering: why are the private lives of others of such importance to so many? We can’t even escape their lives if we wanted to.  There are televisions blaring at us on the supermarket checkout lines and in most restaurants, stores, shopping malls and doctor’s offices.  I expect and hope that if enough protest, televisions will be banned from places the same way cigarettes are.  Have we forgotten the word, moderation?

Is there a way to temper this media sensationalism and get back to a simpler, more civilized life?  (Was life ever civilized?) Why are we not inspired to live within the respect and integrity of ourselves? Why do so many live such painful lies and why the interest and  care about the lying lives of others? It baffles me every day that there aren't more people just empathizing, feeling and celebrating good for everyone...

Is this what the Pilgrims had in mind when they sailed over on that boat?  Did we wreck our karma because of what happened to the Native Americans and slavery?  With the narrow minds of a puritanical society running the Show, look where we are today?  Still archaic in our way of thinking and it is 2009. Still threatening our people with a God fearing God, instead of a loving God and always the threat of damnation for the sins or crimes of our hearts.  (and no matter the punishment or sentence, the heart always wins.)

And what if all that has marred these individuals that are on our television screens and Internet, comes to light and is true?  What of it? Two are dead the southern governor will probably be hung like John Proctor from The Crucible or he is apt to kill himself from such unwarranted public humiliation. (can't he just sneak out some back door with a blanket over his shame and let him suffer privately?) Personally, I hope he runs off to Argentina and lives happily ever after with that woman he loves and while I might not support who he is or what he does, I do support his heart.  People just do not leave wonderful relationships to risk their lives and careers. We are participants in our relationships, rarely victims. I had horrible experiences in my own marriage, but do not consider myself a victim. I escaped as we all can.  Problems always arise when we lie to our heart and therefore we undoubtedly lie to everyone involved. The Lie is the Damage. The Act is the Result.

So I left the gym to face my day and my own untelevised dramas, thinking about Louis Armstrong and how he sang with passion and life, What A Wonderful World...and I hummed on the way to my car:  I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom, for me and you…I see skies of blue and clouds of white—and the colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of people going by... and I think to myself, what a wonderful world…

and I imagine... Satchmo and My Silent Friend

So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you:  Decide, Decide, Decide...who are you going to listen to?  Your heart or your mind?  Tell the truth or lie?

(only time will tell...)