Category Archives: Just stuff

The Value of Beauty…The Beauty of Value

I have something to say:

Probably most of you have seen (or at least heard) of Susan Boyle’s first audition on Britain’s Got Talent.  If not, here it is:

It reminded me so much of the Paul Potts audition a couple of years back on the same program.

Because they are both talent people, you say?  Well, yes.  But that’s not why.

It’s because of the initial reaction of the judges and the audience.  It is the mockery, the disdain, the ridicule of the audience over the appearance of the contestants.   And, I’d like to note, especially toward Ms. Boyle.

Neither Mr. Potts nor Ms. Boyle are from the “beautiful people crowd”.  They are everyday people.  They are the people we work with or live down the block from.  They are people we can identify with.   They are average.  So why are these everyday folks treated this way?  Because our society (not just America but Britain and elsewhere) are obsessed with youth and beauty and fame.  Without that, it follows that you have nothing to offer.  You must be exceptional.

We are fascinated with Paris Hilton who is young and rich and famous and, I guess, beautiful.  We are attracted to Britney Spears, who is young and rich and famous and beautiful.  We build up the George Clooney’s and Leonardo Di Caprio’s and Johnny Depp’s and David Beckham’s; the Angelina Jolie’s and Halle Berry’s and Jennifer Aniston’s.  Then, at some point,  we want them to stumble – to fail at something –  and we wait to watch them fall.  When they do, we revel in it.  And we are vicious toward them.  Whether it’s weight gain, a nasty divorce, a substance abuse problem, bad or too much cosmetic surgery or (horrors) just getting older.  Why?  Because we covet beauty and fame and riches.  We want it for ourselves, but if we can’t have it, we want to live vicariously through someone who does have it.  Then we resent them.

Mr. Potts and Ms. Boyle possessed something that cannot be seen in an instant.  Talent, yes, but heart and courage too.  They put themselves on the line, and faced the judgment of the panel and audience.  How quickly the smirks and eye-rolls stopped when these two started to perform.   Suddenly they weren’t the jokes they were expected to be, they were special.

This is the kind of behavior we expect from children.  Who among us can’t recall an incident in high school where someone on the ‘outside’ was treated repulsively from the in-crowd?  The problem is that this behavior now extends to adults as well.

Are we so shallow that we only appreciate those who are pretty (as we define that)?  Do we really believe that a person’s value is measured by their appearance?  Is success only measured in dollars or the number of magazine covers someone is on?  Can we not appreciate the individuality and gifts of every single person?

My mother said beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes clear through to the bone.    She was right.  Beauty was present on stage – a man in an ill-fitting suit who was working every day to support his family.  Beauty was a 47-year old woman with heavy eyebrows and a not-too-svelte figure who put her aspirations of singing on hold for years to care for her elderly mother.  Beauty was the grace they showed in the face of incredible odds and their passion in pursuing their dream.  The ugly was sitting in the audience.

I watched Mr. Potts on You Tube after he won and I teared up each time.  I choked up every time I watched Ms. Boyle as well.  Beautiful voices to be sure, but so much more.

We need start looking beyond the surface.  There are many beautiful people out there and we are missing them.  We would be more beautiful people for knowing them.


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Filed under Fame, In the news, Just stuff

Who are you?

In an effort to know who the heck is reading this blog, I’m going to do a series of polls.

Please, answer honestly.


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Americans – for a moment

The American culture has coarsened over the years.  We are inundated with commercials pushing tampons, feminine pads, PMS cures, male enhancement/enlargement/readiness, we’re told we will be happier if we have a full head of hair or reduced wrinkles or larger breasts.  The only way to connect with our spouse or children is by taking a cruise.  We need a bigger house, better appliances, whiter teeth, a luxury car.  And we need them now.  And you can get it financed at a low introductory rate!

We get catalogs and magazines in the mail that show teens and pre-teens in unzipped jeans, waist bands sitting just above the rump, sweet pink sweatpants that proclaim Do Me! on the fanny, super-short shorts, see-through shirts, stiletto heels, that just outta bed (if ya know what I mean {wink}) rumpled look., that just scored some drugs, sold some drugs, did some drugs or killed someone gangsta look, I’m addicted to heroin but boy am I skinny in these jeans look.  Our kids want to look like that…now.

We are subjected to movies and television, graphically bombarding us with topics that used to be considered private – sex, pre-marital sex, unplanned pregnancy, homosexuality, drugs, alcoholism, foul language, gangs, violence.  The list goes on and on.

Our kids are fascinated by games – no, not Scrabble or Monopoly.  Video games like Grand Theft Auto that feature rape, murder and mayhem.  Our kids are listening to music that features foul language, violence against women, violence against law enforcement and more.

I’m not saying that any of these things in and of themselves make us coarse;  but the constant indoctrination has desensitized us and broken down our resistance.  We would rather accept than speak out.

Too many Americans have fallen into the politically correct culture.  We don’t say something is wrong because we 1) don’t want to appear insensitive or biased or 2) we don’t want to suffer the backlash that invariably comes when one says “that’s not right”.

The American people have become immersed in the go-go, gotta get it now, immediate gratification lifestyle.   Even when we know that there’s a problem, even when we are moved to act, it doesn’t last long.  Our leaders know this.  Corporations know this.  They count on it.  An issue may create a furor, but they know it won’t last long.  The American people will be on to the next thing in a couple of weeks and they won’t pay attention to the business as usual in our cities, states, and nation.

How worked up were the American people on the following issues?

Foreign ownership of American assets – Winter 2006

Americans said NO! to the concept of a Middle East company owning domestic ports.  After the deal with the UAE fell apart, the public stopped paying attention.

Illegal immigration – Spring 2006

Thousands of Americans said enough is enough at the prospect of open border and amnesty for illegal immigrants.  They resented the idea that people breaking the law would get a pass.  That the American citizen was the interloper in this country.  After the initial spurt of rage, American’s settled back into to their lives.

High energy costs – on-going

American citizens were outraged at the incredible increase in the price of gasoline.  They told anyone who would listen – including lawmakers – that something had to be done.   After the cost of gasoline started to decline, the importance of the issue began to decline as well.  The issue isn’t solved, prices of gasoline, diesel, heating oil and natural gas will begin to rise again soon and we have done nothing, except lose momentum.

Inappropriate advertising to children – Spring 2007

Parents said ENOUGH at the sexualization of young people when Abercrombie & Fitch used increasingly risque ads in their advertising campaigns.

An initial victory resulted in Abercrombie pulling ads.  Parents got complacent.

Abercrombie went back to business as usual.

Image from current Abercrombie home page.

Now it’s the economy.  Nothing else matters.  We are single-taskers.

Americans used to be a hearty lot.  Tough, strong, determined.  We were multi-taskers.  Able to deal with many things at once, because we had to.  Willing to see a thing through.  Too few of us are willing to see a thing through anymore.  We wait until we are really riled up to demand responsibility from our leaders and our corporations and after initially pacified, we shut up.   We are too easily pacified – gotta get it now; and once gotten, we move on to the next thing.

We do not keep on them for permanent change.

Perhaps the change we should be seeking is change within ourselves, not via Barack Obama or John McCain.  Politicians are always politicians.  They won’t change.  We need to.

NOTE:  Kurt from Dancing with Fire wrote to suggest that I rewrite my original final paragraph above, fearing it might be interpreted as an endoresement for Obama’s ‘we are the change we have been waiting for’ theme.  So, to be clear, please refer to my post here and this edit to my final thought on this post.

An idiom of Barack Obama’s has been “we are the change we have been waiting for”.  Change for change’s sake is not always good.  The change American’s needs to make is individual – not dictated by someone else, not legislated by a governing body.  A tagline in a speech will never effect long-lasting, meaningful change;  Significant change it will not come via a political party or social movment.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoi

Stand up for your values.  Listen to your soul on issues of right and wrong.  Make your decisions based on what’s right, not what’s easy.  Refuse to be bullied into submission.

The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Take back your government; it has not served you well.   Refuse to be deceived by their sleight of hand; refuse to be divided by party or issue or class.  Take responsibility for yourself, and expect your government to be responsible with the power you give it.  They work for you.

We must hang together or assuredly we shall hang separately.
Benjamin Franklin

A house divided against itself cannot stand.
Abraham Lincoln

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Filed under Childen, Criminal Justice, Environment, In the news, Issues, Just stuff, Politicians

Is there anything nicer than a blank page?

This is our first post on our new blog. 

The tag line on the blog is from the Broadway musical and movie, "1776".  The context is during the "editing" of the Declaration of Independence.  One of the congressmen is lobbying to remove language that criticizes England's King George and Britan itself.  He suggests that, while American's have a problem with King George, it might not be wise to offend the British people.  To which, John Adams replies "This is a revolution, dammit! We’re going to have to offend somebody!"

More on this later….

Please give us a little time to get up to speed.  Check back often. Our aim is to try to provide an objective look at the world around us and comment on why the majority of American's have reached the breaking point.

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