September 2009 Archives
Tonight I'm watching the season finale to the Fox reality show More To Love with my wife. I would have missed it, but she called me from the grocery store to remind me it was on and then asked if I would please watch it to catch her up when she got home. What she didn't know was that I was right in the middle of scouting the waiver wire for "gems" in my fantasy football leagues. This was important business.
In case you aren't familiar with More to Love, its a Bachelor-style reality series with a twist: Everyone on the show is plus-sized. It's definitely not a VH1 plastic surgery drunk-fest. I would love to tell you that this was my first episode, but I would be lying. I've actually seen them all. The show caught my eye from the beginning because the contestants presented themselves so genuinely, wearing their hearts on their sleeves with extreme ease. In fact, it was hard to find the requisite villain. Lauren was the best they could do. She was mean because of her outspoken ways: "I'm not here to make friends, I'm here to win." Ooooh. So bad.
The biggest single difference in the women on this show and every other dating reality show wasn't their size, but their tears. Every time we saw a solo interview with a contestant, the water works let loose. It was uncomfortable at times. These women ADORED Luke. For them, Luke represented a guy who "finally" made them feel good about who they were. He liked them for who they were on the inside. And we heard about it over and over and over.
I thought the show overall stayed away from the usual cheap thrills and antics that we see on most reality programs now. The only tacky part was the series title graphic showing a huge oversized ring thudding loudly as it landed with the voice over, "More to Love". Come on, Fox. That was a little too obvious.
So the series ended tonight with the most earnest reality show finale I've seen. First Luke told Malissa that his heart belonged to "someone else" (duh). Luke showed empathy and care with her reaction. Malissa was expectedly sad and hurt, but took the bad news with some grace while crying in the limo ride away from the happy couple. Some of the other exits were positively hard to stomach with the bellowing and the, "What's wrong with me?" pleadings at nobody. Luke then asked Tali--the chosen one--to marry him. Not surprisingly, she said yes. They looked like a happy couple.
This week I received an insightful and timely op-ed piece from an avid Loose Gravel reader in Allen, Texas:
Nobody Wins a Blood Feud
by Kril Cunningham
You know what the problem with blood feuds is? People die, and nobody wins.
Welcome to the world of U.S. politics in the oughts. Republicans vs. Democrats is the new Hatfields vs. McCoys (no offense to Colt). It's a blood feud that's rooted in ignorance and misunderstandings, and it's the single most destructive force facing those of us who love this country.
Two years ago I couldn't turn on the radio or television without listening to someone like Bill Maher or Nancy Pelosi decry our President as a dim-witted loser that's hellbent on destroying America. Now I can't turn on the radio or television without listening to Rush Limbaugh or Mike Pence call our President an arrogant socialist with plans to destroy America.
You know what? George W. Bush and Barack Obama both love this country. Why else would they subject themselves, and their families, to the scrutiny and misery of being in the ultimate spotlight? It's pretty unlikely that either of them had a moment when they turned to their wife and said, "Hey, I bet it would be a gas to send our kids to school for the next decade with Secret Service agents glued to their hip" or "Let's lead a life filled with death threats and zero privacy."
Presidents make those sacrifices because they care about this country. We may not agree with their policy ideas - and that's okay, it's good to have positive discourse and debate about policy - but can we at least stop the name calling and hateful rhetoric?
It's clear that our elected officials in Washington (and Austin) are incapable of toning down the venom, so let's take it upon ourselves to set the example and demand that they follow our lead.
This means that we need to start viewing a Presidential address to our children as an opportunity to teach, and not an opportunity to espouse hypocrisy.
What do I mean by hypocrisy? Let's try to identify this quote:
"The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the President, it should be helping us to produce smarter students. And the president should be doing more about education than saying, 'Lights, camera, action.'"
It was probably Governor Rick Perry.
No wait - it may have been Republican leader Michael Steele.
Nope, on second thought I bet it was Sean Hannity.
Tired of guessing? It was former Democratic House Majority Leader, Dick Gephardt getting his knickers in a twist over then President George H.W. Bush's national address to school children in 1991. A practice he learned from his predecessor, President Ronald Reagan.
We sit here 18 years later watching the same story play out - only the party roles are flipped. This time the Republicans are up in arms and the Democrats are defending the President.
It's hypocrisy, plain and simple.
As parents, we let our children down when we fail to take advantage of these moments to teach them both sides of the story. In sports, we teach them to watch game film of their opponent. We teach them not to taunt their opponent during the match. We even teach them to show respect to their opponents by shaking hands after the game.
Let's listen to each other. Let's respect differing opinions. Let's work together to make this country the best it can be.
Above all else, let's stop pissing and moaning about our differences and put forth the effort to find common ground. Because if your son or daughter becomes President some day, and half the country accuses them of being the devil for making a speech to the nation's school children, then we have all failed.