You may have already heard the story about Charlize Theron being wrongfully accused of mistreating her son, Jackson, while the family was out on a hike. How exactly did it go down? Here’s a short summary.
Overly Eager Hiker (no oxymoron there) spots Charlize Theron’s son having a time-out-induced tantrum and decides that she must be “mistreating” him. Overly Eager Hiker judges the situation as pure 911material and places a call. Overly Eager Hiker gets totally ahead of themselves and presumably assumes a) that photographic evidence will be required to satisfy arresting officer b) that photographic evidence will be required to satisfy TMZ so naturally they try to film Jackson. Finally police arrive at the scene of the crime and Ta Daaa! Charlize Theron is NOT arrested, because if putting your tantruming child in a time out was a crime, then there wouldn’t be enough room for all of us in jail.
I sense a raised eyebrow. You may judge this as a case of an individual simply performing their moral duty. Isn’t it better to investigate a thousand false accusations than to overlook a legitimate one? No doubt, but something tells me that if, indeed, we’re looking at what the police dismissed as a case of time out, a pause and longer observation period may have been more beneficial than a quick finger on the dial button.
Your eyebrow is still raised. What’s the big deal? Buttinskys have walked amongst us, not minding their own business since the beginning of time as their archaic name suggests. True. The problem here, as I see it, is not with meddling – justified or unjustified – but with the way the individual operated and with the underlying sense of limitless access that Buttinskys turned i-Butts get nowadays. In reversed consequential order, the existence of multiple platforms intended to make potential assistance immediate and accessible generates reasons to use them, instead of the other way around, preventing itself from functioning efficiently. What do I mean by that?
A few weeks ago I was about to hit “send” on a Facebook post on my neighbourhood group’s wall. At that particular time it seemed like the group was flooded with messages about break-ins and other types of criminal and borderline criminal activities. Detailed updates from neighbours and responses from Officer Jon, our neighbourhood precinct cop, were constantly popping up in the feed. One morning, at 6 am, I’d noticed a man running across the street with a backpack. Flooded by the ghosts of previously read and internalized Facebook stati, I took to the keyboard and started typing with confidence reserved to someone who posts wanted ads for a living: “baldish man, late 30s, seen running with a backpack toward”...
Do I know him? He does kinda look like someone. Hmmm.
Same guy calmly walking back having evidently retrieved something from home. His home. We’re cool.
Delete-delete-delete. Imagine. The. Horror.
So why are we talking about me and what sounds like my super dodgy neighbourhood which you would totally not want to live in but actually totally isn’t? Because this is essentially the same story.
That sense of limitless accessibility removes certain psychological boundaries and I was about to fire up a message to Officer Jon because he’s there a “send” click away and I don’t actually have to talk to him and maybe there’s less accountability? But then I paused and questioned myself. Yes, the hiker in question wasn’t hiding behind a keyboard. They were hiding behind a cell phone. Same difference. I’m talking human psychology here. Is it possible that our intensive online lives and multitude of platforms where we often criticize others and voice our own opinions, ridiculous as they may be, sans interruption contribute to the shaping of individuals who are quicker to judge and less likely to self criticize?
In addition, we decidedly steer away from previously practiced forms of human interaction. Friends with teenagers tell me that kids don’t call each other anymore, because they’d rather interact with their cell phone, or at least filter human interaction through it, by texting. Should we be surprised then about the lack of direct confrontation in the Charlize Theron incident in a culture that seems to be working hard to eliminate “direct human”?
Image Source: Flickr
I have a confession to make. Not only do I watch The Bachelorette, I also let it get to me. It took me days to recover when fancy Colon (Kalon?) from Emily’s season referred to her daughter as "baggage." Last night when my personal front runner, Let’s Hope He Has a Sense of Humour But Just Isn’t Using It Ian, went on a long tirade fuelled by his failure to properly Mariachi Kaitlyn, I went ballistic on the inside and started writing this furious post in my head at 11pm when hello, I should be effing sleeping, because I have a real life and two kids who like to wake up early and in the middle of the night.
But enough about me. You know how when you’re a Princeton graduate and a catch sharing a house with 25 other eligible bachelors and you don’t get the attention you feel your degree and personal biography and looks merit it only takes one more straw to send you off the edge? Well, that happened last night when Ian’s voice betrayed him at the wrong moment as he was serenading Kaitlyn Mariachi style. Surprisingly it wasn’t the outfit or the hat.
The show later concentrated on Ian who at that point was still just a mirror image of me sulking on the couch but the observant viewer is now able to appreciate in retrospect that these were the exact moments the following rant started forming within. Some of the observations/accusations presented in the rant are summarized below (and I apologize that this is non verbatim):
I’m a catch. I’ve got the muscles, brains and voice.
She’s not half as hot as my ex-girlfriend.
I get attention from lots of chicks. I get a lot of sex too.
I’m a catch.
I don’t find Kaitlyn interesting.
And to Kaitlyn:
The men in the house share fart and poop jokes which is not my thing (to be fair to Ian, he didn’t say thing) although it might be yours (oh yes he did).
Are you really that shallow?
It seems to me that you’re here to make out with 25 guys on TV.
I liked Ian and I still agree with Ian about some of Ian’s good qualities, but Princeton Ian gets an F in Being a Gentleman 101. Call me an old fashioned fart (oops, sorry, scratch the word ‘fart’) but I care about manners. And even if we step away from the feminist perspective, a real catch doesn’t berate a fellow human being. Not on national TV, not in a tête-a- tête.
There are several different directions that I could take this. Do I really need to bring up the old beat up argument about how no Bachelor, as far as I remember, was ever called shallow for wanting to make out with 25 women on TV? Or do we talk about how certain things like manners, composure, and most importantly the fine art and discipline of Not Taking Self Too Seriously can’t be taught even in Ivy league universities?
When you join the cast of a show such as The Bachelorette certain assumptions are made. You are probably aware of the protocol and expect the woman you’re "competing for" to kiss other men. If you’ve watched the show before and are here specifically for her, you also know what she looks like and are aware of the way she conducts herself. I can truly appreciate how unnatural some of the situations cultivated by reality shows are and how they can affect one’s psychology and psyche and insecurities are likely to surface. Making this about HER instead of managing your own insecurities seems juvenile at the very least. It’s a shame because I really did like Princeton Ian. Here’s to an apology on The Men Tell All.
Image Source: ABC.com
Everyone, including my 6 year-old, knows that there’s nothing worse than TV-induced real life disruptions. Like any normal six year-old (???) my son recently initiated a conversation with me about death and my own mortality. At one point he wondered “do you know what would really really break my heart?”
“Yes.” I solemnly responded. “Somebody you care about dying.”
“No. The TV splitting into two pieces.” Pause. “That AND somebody dying.” he added for good measures.
See? He gets it.
Last night I dodged a few bullets. Within a matter of minutes all of my social media feeds were awash with “Eff you, Game of Thrones!” memes and excited debates. I haven’t watched the current (well, last) season yet, so naturally I ducked and covered as spoiler bullets were whistling over my head.
If you haven’t watched the season or season finale, here are some effective coping techniques to help you get through the day and gracefully prepare for and handle similar kerfuffles in the future:
Step 1: DO NOT READ THE BOOK
This is key. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Whatever you do, do not read it. Remember: humanity is headed in that direction anyway, so why not take a shortcut.
Step 2: UNPLUG
You must’ve heard the endless talk urging you to lean in, put the phone away, be in the moment and thrive. Eff that noise. Don’t give in and keep fighting the good fight. Except for post Game of Thrones Finale Monday. That’s the only time you should embrace that tediousness.
Step 3: DO NOT ENGAGE
People are going to want to chit chat at the water cooler at work or at school drop off and pick up. This is unacceptable. Wear sunglasses so they can’t establish eye contact or pretend that you’re sleeping.
Step 4: AVOID HEARING OTHER PEOPLE’S CONVERSATIONS
This is a tricky one. While you have some control over whether people engage you in a conversation or not, it’s harder to get them to not talk amongst themselves. What to do if you sense a Game of Thrones Geekarade brewing in your presence? If you’re not in a position to run, don't panic, there are several other things you can do, like wear those really big 80s headphones that cover your entire ears. Wear them all day but remember to pray. And to keep wearing them. God only helps those who help themselves. If you’re not in possession of such headphones you can always use the much less effective low tech equivalent, stick your fingers in your ears and repeat the mantra: I am taking control over my life, I am taking control over my life, I am taking control over my life.
Step 5: TAKE A SICK DAY
The best way to avoid the Spoiler Boomerang Effect or the Echoing Spoiler as the more romantic souls refer to it, is to fake your own malady. Start with one day and see where that takes you. At the end of the day cautiously plug in and poke your head out – while still wearing your headphones. Alternatively text a friend that you’ve established trust with and ask whether it’s safe to resume.
Image Source: HBO Canada
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