Alfred E. Newman once said, “We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” It gives me pause to consider that we are so often conflicted by the “real” and the “artificial” that we may even find it hard to know which is which.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting somewhat annoyed with “reality” TV where I’m supposed to be peeking through the windows of people’s lives and enjoying the view. A little human interest, universal understanding is a good thing, but knowing every nuance of how a family handles their children, how couples handle their love lives, or how criminals are being caught in the “real” world is getting to be more than I want to know. Give me back the artificial. Give me a chance to have some imagination in what I watch on TV, leave me wondering if the lovers ever actually walked off into the sunset together or how the operation went without showing me all the gory details.
When we are continually bombarded with structured reality, it makes me wonder how we know what is true and what isn’t. It feels like we’re willingly sacrificing our own sense of propriety and reason, our desire to let imagination and dreams still lead us, and our opportunity to let faith mean something.
Okay, maybe the reality of this message is that I just stood on a small soapbox and attempted to shake my puny fist at the TV networks that seem to be woefully out of control, and totally unconcerned about how they are influencing the lives of viewers. Television used to be about telling a good story, sharing a laugh, building a dream, and giving us a healthy form of escape.
Goethe said, “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words.” I guess today, I just wanted to come back and speak a few reasonable words because this form of “reality” is making me feel like I’m stuck drinking furniture polish. It may be using real lemons, but for my money, I’ll take back the artificial flavors.
Okay if you look for me today, I may be Lost, hoping for The Bachelor and trying to be a Survivor. On the good news side though, later I have a date with The Iron Chef.