I don’t know. Today seems to be just as good a day as any to weigh in on what’s been bugging me lately. Like the rest of the country (and the world, for that matter), I did manage to catch a few minutes of the most recent presidential debate. It was at a pretty late hour during the night, where recaps and reruns were running rampant on all of the news outlets. I didn’t particularly care for it, every single thought and answer by both candidates was rooted in mud-slinging or personal commentary. What about the issues? Weren’t we electing a President who would be capable of managing, handling and maybe even resolving our most pressing problems? I saw none of that.
Fast forward to my original thought.
There has been quite a bit of ugliness on social media lately. Not unlike the presidential campaign. People are getting too personal, too judgmental, too opinionated.
I get it. We’re all in the same business, which is the business of being liked. Of being popular. The friendlier we are, the more open we are about our struggles and our travails, the more people are supposed to empathize, identify with us. But just how much is too much openness? Just how much nosiness are we supposed to tolerate from those who just can’t help but insert themselves into a life they know nothing about?
And what the heck happened to respect?
It’s been tough, hasn’t it? Maneuvering our way through a world where nothing is kept sacred anymore. The authors we grew up wanting to emulate. Their lives, their pasts, their stories were not open books for us to dissect. How much do we know about Stephen King except for those little tidbits that were broadcast through interviews and the author’s own writings? Or Anita Shreve? Or even Nicholas Sparks? These days, we’ve become so accessible that anyone can just send us a message, converse with us, ask us about anything and everything, and we tell. We tell, we divulge, we confess. Nothing is off limits. After what I’ve seen lately, I’m not sure whether that’s really what we should be doing. Can we hold on to our dignity and still be popular?
I’d like to think that the answer is still Yes.
Thank goodness, none of this nastiness has happened to me. But I hurt for those who’ve been skewered in the public arena. Maybe it’s because I’ve kept my thoughts to myself, steered away from intrigue. And catfights. And vague-booking. There’s something to be said about posts that sound like parables, people who speak in code, intent on exposing others or insulting others in the most hypocritical and cowardly way. Who has time for that, really? In a world that moves along in warp speed, in a time where our children, our families, our jobs and our obligations consume all hours of our days?
As authors, as public figures, as actors, politicians, business leaders. We all have an obligation to share ourselves with the world. But the world has an obligation to give us a break. To understand that we are human. That we make mistakes. The world needs to be reminded that we are not accountable to anyone but ourselves.
We are entertainers. Let’s stay focused and give the world what we do best. Let’s take them away for a few hours, immerse them in experiences they’ve never had before, fill their thoughts with wild imagination. There’s no time for anything else.