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MUNDANE DISTRACTIONS
Stranger than Fiction? 
6th-Nov-2005 11:04 pm
I sat down tonight to watch the episode of Boston Legal where they argued the case about the soldier who died in Iraq and a Christian and Wiccan family tried to get the school's Halloween event canceled (I believe the episode is named "Witches of Mass Destruction"). I was expecting to be more interested in the Iraq case (about which James Spader's character had interesting things to say) but I think the Halloween case had even more impact. I'll get more to why later.

Then after I was done watching that I just happened to flip over to NBC where they were doing the live episode of the West Wing that was what I believe to be a Presidential Debate. Interesting stuff being said for a show. I won't say that each "side" was portrayed accurately. I saw a definite skew in how the candidates were represented. The Democrat was definitely more "pro people" while the Republican was more "pro capitalism." As far as gross generalizations go they were accurate depictions, but I don't believe that any individual in either party follows all those ideas represented. Of course, I guess that fact that the majority can be swept up into such concise and nice boxes is because so many share those similar views. Don't you think?

The closing comments of each character wrapped up what I believe were the "stronger points" of each side. The candidate for the Democrats was very big on expressing his views towards taking care of citizens (a positive point), while the Republican candidate stressed the idea that government shouldn't have to grow to a size where it needs to take care of everything (another good point). Pretty sad that each party's "strength" is viewed as the other party's weakness.

My current gross generalizations regarding Republicans and Democrats (if you care) are this:
1. Democrats are really good a blaming others for problems while not presenting realistic options/solutions.
2. Republicans are good at not taking responsibility for the problems their options and solutions create.

Democrats don't have any better ideas, Republicans rely on faulty ideas. We average citizens pay the price for their delusions. Figuratively and literally. Don't gripe at me for not presenting better ones here, that's what THEY get paid for. Focus your frustration where it should be, not at me.

Finally I watched tonights new episode of The Family Guy. As always it's hilarious, but once again it just points out how ridiculous things are getting in the government being our "responsible" overseer and how stupid we're getting as a society for not wanting to take our lumps when we do something stupid. You know, like rioting after a sports event and getting hit by pepper spray and getting mad at the cops for it. That's a perfect example of doing something (and being) STUPID.

So what is the tie in of all of this? I'm asking myself if the reality of our current world has become better attention fodder than anything that can be dreamed up by television (and movie) writers. Have we all become so disconnected from the world around us that we can only become familiar or educated about current events and social issues if they're compressed into 30 or 60 minute segments of entertainment? Is it that difficult for us to get our news from news sources (not that they're doing a great job of reporting)? Have we become so disconnected from our world that the truth of the world really is stranger than fiction? Is it more entertaining because we bury our heads in the sand to the point were truth is a foreign thing?

In closing here is the thing that I heard on Boston Legal. It's a poem supposedly written by Martin Niemoller. I think it wraps up my current fears about individuals in our society and when we decide to take action:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.


What does it take for you to speak out?
Contemplative
Comments 
9th-Nov-2005 07:43 am (UTC) - What does it take for you to speak out?
Anonymous
I've seen this poem before. For most of my life I have held my tongue, not believing that anything I could say or do would make a difference in this world. Things have changed. I now realize I have been placed here and now, for such a time as this. The injustice that I see around me fuels my anger. It's what I allow my anger to accomplish that is important. I now am not afraid to speak out, to reach out, or to stand up and speak my mind (tactfully, of course). As was said by Liam Neeson's character in Batman Begins, there is power in our anger when it is used in the right way (slight paraphrase). I believe that my anger toward the injustice that touches young people gives me power (when it is channeled in a positve way) to help make a difference in their lives.
14th-Nov-2005 10:02 pm (UTC) - Reality check via your favorite tv show?
I've seen the poem before too. Interesting theory about television and current events/news. I think the use of current events in television shows is nothing new, but I think I would agree with your thought that it has become much more prevalent lately. I wonder if most people actually see the similarities between the fiction and the real world though. Or is it just entertainment and nothing more interesting than that to think about. I have a feeling that when the show is over, there isn't much more thought given to anything poignant that the script presented to the viewers out there.

By the way...with teenage daughters I'm seeing/hearing way too much reality t.v. lately. I'm soooo tired of Laguna Beach and whatever other crap is on the tube that they watch. Ugghh.
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