Just bitchin'

Weaving Ugly Cloth

blogcloth-brianfroud_trolls

It’s all coming together.

The disparate threads are entwining, interlocking, forming a pattern.

The first thread grew out of the internet.

Social media had the potential to unite; to form global communities. It could bond, and reach out, and relieve loneliness, and provide information, and ease troubled souls. But, as sure as human nature, the flip side raised its head: trolls. The veil of anonymity and distance enabled anyone and everyone who felt a dark impulse or a sudden spike of anger or hate to express themselves with consequence-free impunity. So easy to lash out and then ignore your victims. So easy to turn off your device with the smug knowledge that you ‘got away with it.’

The second thread came from reality TV.

In order to pull in viewers, behavior that would never have been tolerated previously was encouraged. When it didn’t materialize fast enough, it was engineered. Situations were fostered that would push participants’ buttons. Bullies and boors were granted pop-culture stardom. Fame and wealth were doled out in exchange for abusive behavior. The loud, the stupid, the obnoxious garnered more attention, more rewards, than the quiet, the thoughtful, the kind.

The trolls from thread #1 watched the activities of thread #2. They were lured by the accolades. They felt empowered. A culture of rudeness and cruelty for entertainment’s sake asked…no…DEMANDED…that extremes be exhibited, loudly and often. But, poor trolls, most of them had no outlet that would showcase their newfound aggression, until…

…the third thread, it could be argued, was a matter of time, circumstance, and culture intersecting.

The United States Presidential election.

A segment of the population watched in horror as the troll culture emerged into full visibility. Ugliness was condoned, substantiated, lauded, applauded.

News media reports that, no matter who wins, this troll-fest will have presaged the least popular President in history.

It’s unsettling how many Americans look traumatized, shocked…are shaking their heads and asking ‘How did this happen? How did we get here?’

It’s as if a puppet master holding the strings of a nation has gone mad. Yet the puppet master remains hidden. All any of us average citizens know is that next week the threads come together, and the highest office in our country will be draped in bunting of ugly cloth, the weaving of which we don’t understand.

It will look like the shroud a troll should wear…

blogcloth2

Image: ‘Trolls’ by Brian Froud

Advertisements
Standard
Just bitchin'

The Unfair Art of Entertainment

blogfame1

I have a guilty pleasure.

A shameful, inexplicable addiction along the lines of many people’s shameful, inexplicable addictions. A trashy TV show that turns my eyes to saucers and my brain to fudge.

What a wonderful feeling.

So once a week I draw the drapes and close the doors. I turn the phone off and I put the cat out. I retreat into a world of unhinged ‘reality’ and flaring tempers and peculiar human politics. Really, it’s no different from any of the other myriad of ‘reality’ shows foisted on a hungry, viewing public. Except that it’s set against a dance background.

And I’m a sucker for dance.

Dance drew me in, but the outrageous behavior of the ‘stars’ held me fast.

Usually, I get my hour-long fix and resume my high-functioning addict’s life, and no one is the wiser. I leave the experience behind and navigate the paths of my own reality consequence-free of my habit.

But then one of the ‘stars’ threw her requisite tantrum, and I have to respond. Otherwise, I’m afraid the seed of it will grow and entwine, and then I really will be lost…purchasing DVDs and spending my time poring over my addiction. Forgetting to brush my teeth and put out the trash.

Scary.

The woman was pushing her daughter’s cause as a dancer within the juvenile group of performers. Her argument was that the girl had been with the school from which the performance company sprang ‘from the start.’ She said it was unfair to give solo performances to newer arrivals when her child had earned the privilege by virtue of her longevity. ‘Not fair,’ she shrieked. ‘Not fair!’

My saucer-eyes blinked.

My jaw dropped, spilling an unlovely drift of popcorn….another addiction, but we won’t get into that now.

Here’s the thing: There ain’t nothin’ fair about the entertainment industry, lady! And nor should there be!

It made me take a second, harder look at the poor, little girl being dragged through this production. She is intelligent, eloquent, and has a certain noble grace unusual for someone so young. But she doesn’t have a dancer’s body. She doesn’t have a face that reads well from the stage. She doesn’t have the finely-honed technique that the other girls have.

Maybe she’ll be a ‘star’ as her benighted stage mother vows. But it won’t be as a dancer.

Another vignette had a choreographer/dance teacher snarling that her student was a ‘stronger dancer’ than a competing company’s entrant in a dance-off. When pitted against each other, the ‘stronger dancer’ lost.

It was easy to see why.

Her opponent was a softer, more lyrical dancer, but more importantly…she was prettier. Plain and simple. Her opponent has huge eyes that could be seen from the back row. She doesn’t. The opponent captured the judges. She didn’t.

I know…Not fair!

But the entertainment industry looks for performers who fit the bill. And that has more to do with native talent and genetic fortune than anything else.

Longevity, personality, work ethic, and so many more ingredients have an influence, but they don’t earn you that coveted ‘star’ status in and of themselves. A combination of them all might. Might. But it would still be necessary to have luck and timing. You’ve got to be what ‘They’ want, when ‘They’ want it.

I’m convinced my last words will be ‘NOT FAIR!’  I’ll rail against the injustice of life ‘til the end. But looking for an even playing field in entertainment, in Hollywood?

Not a realistic expectation.

And just another facet of the unreality of reality shows.

Lord help those poor, little children being publicly flogged for what’s nobody’s fault.

Too bad I can’t look away…

blogdancemom2

Standard