Monday, March 5, 2012

excerpt from a letter to prince bill

an excerpt from a letter to a friend:


" I don’t watch much television and usually I wait until I hear enough about a program to make up my mind that I  would care to see it; I then buy a season to watch at my leisure.  I know folks who arrange their schedules by that of their television programs and I will not be dictated to in that way.  I tried watching one of those so-called reality programs and it was awful.  I have a co-worker who is obsessed with them and with celebrity gossip.  Most of the celebrities she’s so concerned about are people I’ve never heard of….and when I ask, “what is she famous for?” I find that the distinction between celebrity and notoriety/infamy  has been erased.  Apparently, this Ms. Kardashian is famous for allowing herself to be filmed having sex with NBA basketball players.  I think most of the mess is unworthy of consideration by decent folks.  I think it may be an injustice that so many folks who are doing good things in their communities and for the world do so with no recognition when what is required for distinction these days is a depraved exhibitionism.  Orhan Pamuk has held that cinema is what taught people how to act and now, television has filled that role.  So, looking at the offerings available I cannot be surprised that the overall caliber of public behavior in schools, in public discourse, and perhaps in the private lives of the public…..has fallen.   Now, I sound like a real crank.  Not all entertainment should be expected to edify or illuminate but I do wonder that so very little of it does.   I do think the moral imagination is diluted or there is a conditioning to ignore those first inklings of repugnance or disgust with cheap or unnecessarily unkind behavior.  I sound worse than I am.   I cannot wear the mantle of a prude very well at all.  I have been as wild as they come and actually feel a little bit of pride at some of my escapades but I think no matter what I had gotten up to I never went about it by degrading or debasing anyone or myself.   I believe it was St. Philo who warned us “be kind for everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.”  The late science-fiction writer Octavia Butler gave a speech about how racism or homophobia or any of these kinds of problems will likely be with us forever since it is innate to the human condition that feeling superior to someone is a pleasure.   I hope she’s wrong.  All cynics at heart are wounded romantics/idealists."