Open your beak or we are all cooked
Truth booth: I love Dancing with the Stars.
My wife introduced me to it, and since we watched a season together, I’ve been watching it ever since.
One day you’ll see me in a season. There is one minor glitch to my plan: I’m not famous.
Actually, I’m not famous, yet.
This is where you come in. If you know an agent that wants to represent my children’s books, would you pass these pitches along?
I’m sure these children’s books will make me very famous and wealthy, and then I’ll be able to participate in DWTS as I’ve always dreamed of.
Of all the dancers, my favorite is Mark Ballas, who is no longer there. I like watching everything created by Ballas. He spent every week creating intricate choreographies and high-octane productions like this one below, which he did with Sadie Robertson.
https://beyondpigeons.wordpress.com/media/16f70fe9bacbcc95da3b51e920528b09Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson on Dancing with the Stars.
Mark was always paired with great dancers and Sadie was no exception. She was a gifted and naturally talented dancer. The way she danced was as tantalizing as it was whimsical, and her lines had an effortless elegance.
Sadie’s claim to fame, you ask?
A&E’s audience watched her grow in the television show Duck Dynasty.
I was recently rewatching this clip with my daughter, and my wife commented on how interesting it was that in the United States, we would make someone famous and successful because they are obsessed with duck hunting. She was referring to the Robertson family and their successful show.
I told my wife that she got the chronology wrong. The Robertsons were successful entrepreneurs even before their highly acclaimed reality TV show and its eleven seasons.
The duck-triarch founded Duck Commanders, a company that makes duck calls and decoys and grew from a small operation into a multimillion-dollar company.
I told her that even though they all look somewhat simple, they are very business-minded and entrepreneurial. Then she commented how that being simple is almost a prerequisite and she mentioned all the influencers who seem simple but have created successful media mini-empires.
I said the shorthand I use whenever we have this type of conversation, “only a fool.”
Only a fool is a reference to one of my all-time favorite quotes. Fiodor Dostoyevsky wrote it in Notes from the Underground.
“I could not become anything; neither good nor bad; neither a scoundrel nor an honest man; neither a hero nor an insect. And now I am eking out my days in my corner, taunting myself with the bitter and entirely useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot seriously become anything, that only a fool can become something.”
Many of us spend so much of our time on the side of the pool debating if we should jump in or not, Bernoulli’s principle of hydrodynamics, the energy expenditure created by the bubbles after breaking the water frontier, whether or not a fart is stinkier when combined with hydrogen and oxygen molecules and then the sun sets and we never jumped in.
In all that time, people less intelligent than us just jump. They don’t care that the water is cold, they don’t care their bathing suit is loose, they don’t care if the water is salted or chlorinated. They just jump, and even though they don’t know who swim, they never seem to drown.
I look at Anna Sorokin, the tindler swindler, Billy McFarland, Elizabeth Homes and can’t help but feel disgusted by these characters — regardless of who the victims were and are.
After they defrauded many people from their money, they are not only living their lives at peace while others pay the debts they created but they leveraged those experiences into successful businesses and enterprises.
But even though I hate to see it, I can’t help but be fascinated by them. I’m sure most people are too. Why else would we have so many of these shows?
I wonder what would happen if the social worker uses emotional intelligence to create a better pitch and ask for more resources? If the teachers can create and hype the kind of event that sparks fundraising? Or the community organizer uses the simplistic dichotomies of bad versus evil to enlist help at the local community garden?
Sociopaths like the ones we glorify in our culture don’t think, they just do. They manipulate all available emotional tools and persuasion hack at their disposal to get the things they want regardless of the pain they inflict on others. And then they just get in the middle of the action.
Not everybody in the middle of the action is a revolting sociopath and psychopath. Many are just entrepreneurs who didn’t listen to all the “rational” voices and got in the middle. Maybe they don’t have nagging internal voices of their own like a lot of us do.
I think we are witnessing the same in our public discourse. Extremist voices dominate the discourse while all the sensible and reasonable people have been driven deep into caves because of fear of retaliation, cancellation, or censorship.
If you are one of those people, you need to open your mouth. We can’t stand still while the extremists take over the narrative and keep driving a wedge deep into our sense of community.
As a Democrat, I often have more common ground with center Republicans than I have with people in the extremes of my own party.
I’m sure you’ve experienced the same. So why is no one talking about it more?
Back in college, I had a friend in the Debate Team who would list all of McCain’s accomplishments and then ask people who was he talking about? People would always respond McCain — it was right before the election, so McCain was top of mind. Then after people answered, he would ceremoniously say, “no, I’m talking about John Kerry.”
He wanted to highlight that politicians were more like each other regardless of parties than the average citizen.
The division we are witnessing in public discourse is no longer coming from our politicians. Our politicians are just pandering to a broken system and the true people in power: the pundits, the lobbyists, the influencers, and the mob.
Long gone are the days when politicians were the philosophers making the tough decisions. Now, they are just reality stars like the rest of us in the performance stage of our social media feeds.
So if they are just pandering to what they think the voters want, you have to make sure that your voice is at least part of the mix, and maybe if enough of us open our beaks and quack, they could pander us, too.
If we don’t get in the way, we will be run over.
“This is a good place to stop,” said no one ever while crossing the street.