Thursday, April 18, 2013

"To See or not to See" THAT is the real question! part 1

Doctor My Eyes - Jackson Browne

I just want us to do all that we can to be peaceful and caring. 

Shakespeare got it wrong "To See or Not to See" THAT is the real question! It seems to me that people in general are becoming blind to what is going on around them. Tunnel vision perhaps is a good label for it. While Bullying has become the hot topic for politicians and the media to jump on, incidents of bullying are becoming worse and more prevalent. Part of this is a perception brought about by increased media attention. People are becoming more aware of what it is and how to identify it, and that is a good thing. It is far more than the School yard bully wanting your lunch money. It is the boss who consistently and constantly belittles your character because they can and your job performance doesn't warrant reprimand. It is the driver who uses their vehicle as a tool to control your behaviour. It is the corporation that would rather you made decisions based on their own belief of inferiority of another - like belonging to the right crowd in high school by having the "right name on their clothes and material goods". It is the media that tells us what movies are good and that everything else isn't worthy. It is everyone who attempts to elevate their standing by climbing over another that they have knocked down. 

So now that we have decided that bullying is much more than child's play, we can see that it is all around us and it indeed has gotten worse and we are becoming less sensitized to it and more accepting of it. Consider the following scenarios and decide for yourself if you see the bully.

1. Courtesy Driving. You are driving down the road and behold the road ahead is going down from two lanes to one. Many people who drive this route on a regular basis, all merge well ahead of time in anticipation. So you are left with one backed up lane of traffic and one perfectly usable lane that might ease some traffic congestion but is empty - and some intelligent drivers see this and drive in that soon to end lane.  Nothing wrong with it, in fact it would be the legal and proper thing to do. However, some people including at least one I know and have driven with, take it as a personal affront that someone is trying to get ahead of them when their lane is ending in 500 meters/1 kilometre? And this person gets angry, livid and stressed out. It's kind of funny to me, but there are times when bulling comes into this picture too. As you are driving past the drivers who chose to stop, they glare at you menacingly or worse, use their vehicle to straddle two lanes. In essence, using their vehicle as a weapon, to control your behaviour because THEY don't like it. Bullying? You need to step back people and ask yourself, is it really that terrible that I have chosen the wrong lane and someone has gotten in front of me. Like the grocery/department store, we pick a lane and then watch the one we debated move quicker. Do we start pushing people with our shopping cart because they chose differently? This form of road rage become acceptable modern day bullying even though it is not viewed as such. In fact there is a facebook group dedicated to the belittling of people who in are obeying the laws of the road. They are celebrating their inappropriate behaviour. 

2. Commercials on TV and TV programming. I don't watch a lot of programs so I won't speak to those but there are some commercials that make me crazy. There was a time when companies would compare each other by name during their advertisements. Then that comparison was outlawed and consumers were allowed to absorb information and make up their own minds. But we've reverted back, maybe not in specifically naming competitors but very blatantly bashing the rival. There are many very successful marketing ploys that take the moral high road and I applaud them and financially support them. On the other side, there are companies like Charmin that openly compares itself to the "bird brand." And yet not too effective since one quick search on the internet proves that there are a lot of people who don't even know what the bird brand is. Not the bird brand, but Bounty very effectively proves their prowess and effectiveness with over-sized "sponge people" running around absorbing liquids. Love the slurping noise when it's cleaning the dogs dirty paw prints! :) I get that this paper towel will do the job. 

But if there was an award for the most annoying commercials ever, it would be for me Rogers. Rogers is a company that started off a century ago with one small radio station in Toronto and has grown since the 1960's into a corporation to be reckoned with in the global communications market. They have interests in radio, television stations, wireless and home phone, cable companies, publishing, internet providing, home alarm systems and sports  (sorry, it's still the SkyDome to me!) That alone tells you that you are bound to see a multitude of commercials for Rogers Telecommunications. So much so, that I would wager that if you are watching a Rogers TV station, you will see at least one Rogers commercial on every break! And that wouldn't be so bad except for the content of most of them. Stealing an old concept from Polaroid that used James Garner and Mariette Hartley posing as a married couple for a run of very successful ad campaigns, Rogers has done the same. The difference being that Rogers varies from commercials that tout the benefits of the product to the detriment of its rivals, to those that either belittle the "wife" or ones that bash the "husband". The latest, has the wife showing off a tablet as a remote control, then makes fun of her husbands choices of favourite shows in front of an unknown couple. He is clearly uncomfortable and she is oblivious. I can't support this malicious form of advertising. Just this past week, I put call in to a cable company that came to my door and told me that the choices I had made were the wrong ones because their employer was superior and I was wasting my money. I phoned the complaints department to thank them for questioning my intelligence level. They shouldn't be knocking on my door any time soon.

3. Politics and politicians. I have a very hard time during the campaigning process trying to ascertain the best candidate for my community, provincial or federal needs. I have some political party preferences but I like to also keep an open mind. It is increasingly difficult to do this when most advertisements on print and TV are nothing more than attack ads. There was barely a peep in the news about the recent elections for Liberal party leader here in Canada. But it was tough to escape notice when the Conservative Party came out within hours on the decision being announced with ads attacking the newly elected leader Justin Trudeau. What was the purpose of that besides the misguided attempt to elevate their standing by stepping on Mr Trudeau. It's not even election time between the parties. So degrade him and his choices for sport? I wonder if they had similar attack ads at the ready with the names of all the other candidates? By supporting this tactic by the Conservative party we are saying that it is okay. But it's not. There is no need to put down others to elevate our own standing. We should be able to stand on our own merits. Unless perhaps we don't have any worthy of mentioning. Conservative or Liberal leaning, I shout "Shame on you, Conservative Party of Canada." 

I am enclosing this video not because I endorse it in any way but I think you should be free to make up your own mind. I would encourage you to go to YouTube and like or dislike the ad and make your views known in any way you see fit. Average Canadian citizen Chris Gougeon is making his own stand protesting these ads...people are talking about it. I'm not alone is my displeasure. 

4. Celebrity Status. Just recently an entertainment magazine released a list of the top hated celebrities. A lot of feather were ruffled upon learning that Gwyneth Paltrow was on top of the list. One report I heard was that she was selected as most hated because she was so perfect. There is some logic that escapes me! How can I hate her, she has done nothing to me to warrant such a strong negative emotion. I understand that celebrities put themselves out there and open themselves up to criticism and yes some even seek out publicity (either positive or negative) to keep themselves in the public eye. I have no problem forming an opinion regarding the performance of a specific star. But it is not the person who should be trashed but rather their actions. Justin Bieber, for example, has made some very poor behavioural choices of late and I personally am not a fan of the nature of pictures that he posts to Twitter or other social media sites, but he himself is not an inherently bad person. He is the same talent that he was when he was adored by the media a few short months ago. His entourage of paid promoters should perhaps be a little more vigilant in their guidance and protection (even if from himself and his own immaturity).

These put downs go for other musicians and celebrities as well. I am tired of people openly hating on Nickelback. You don't have to be a fan or even like their music but can't you just not listen without putting them down or me if my views and tastes in music are different then yours. I am not a fan of Prince (or whatever name he is going by these days) but I will not discount his musical ability/showmanship/or self-promotional abilities. I don't like his music, I don't want to listen to it, or financially support it, I don't have to. I can however change the station. I don't have to bash him to every person I encounter. I do not need to tell you that your musical tastes are less than mine because we have different opinions. 

5. A little Good News. One word...Dove! It isn't only because it is a campaign that is trying to smash all the ill-conceived projections of mass media about what women should look like but because it is doing it without trashing the competition. I think that the "You are more beautiful than you think" campaign is one to be applauded. But let's not be naive, Dove is owned by the Unilever Corporation who freely uses sex and the "perfect" female form to sell its other products like Axe body spray. Baby steps I guess are better than going backwards or standing still.

A Final Thought.
I think society as a whole needs to learn that you do not elevate yourself by belittling others. Self-love and self-esteem is a good practice and necessary. Yes, even in politics and business there is a need to try and elevate yourself above the competition to gain profits or supports but it can be done in the marketplace and in the workplace without stepping on other people. Take the moral high ground and be nice. It really doesn't take a lot of effort or financial expense but the rewards can be great. The notion of a random act of kindness is a great concept but flawed in that people tend to believe that it is an "act" and not a lifestyle. A lifestyle choice that cannot be counted in instances or specific acts. 

The goodness that we all appreciate and embrace when a tragedy befalls members of our race needs to be appreciated and recognized on a daily basis. Not just because they were innocent bystanders that were hurt or emergency service personal who gave their all nor even someone who was diagnosed with a medical ailment. But everyone we encounter in our daily lives each and every day.  

The true humanitarian 

- will hold the door open for the person behind them, 
- will donate to the food bank even when it isn't a food drive, 
- will say thank you to the person who is serving them (even thought it is their job to serve), 
- will allow another motorist to pass without taking it as a personal attack,
- will consider their consumer habits based on the behaviour in their advertisements,
- will make it known that negative promotion is not acceptable,
- will make up their own minds to the goodness of others without belittling the choice of another
- will lead by example and practice what they preach.

I am not perfect, but I do try and live my life in accordance with the morals and values I have held for a lifetime. But, having said me wrong and I'll have no problem speaking the truth as I see it. I respected and valued my neighbours until they started damaging my property and tossing my mail. I had a great employer until I experienced their hypocrisy - preach anti-bullying and then bully your employees. Shame on Irene and Harold and shame on the DPCDSB.  

1 comment:

  1. PS
    It seems I am not alone in my distaste for the underhanded tactics of the Conservative Governments recent assault of the newly elected leader of the liberal party, Justin Trudeau with some very ugly attack ads.
    This man just happens to be someone I am proud to say I know. Thanks for having the courage to stand up publicly Mr Gougeon

    From the Stratford Ontario newspaper

    From Kitchener Ontario CTV news broadcast