the way in which we watch

the way in which we watch says a lot about us. do we moan and complain? criticize and judge? attend with half of our vision directed elsewhere? overpraise and compare? notice that which is status worthy or tweetable in order to inform our friends and followers far and wide just how on top of things we are? or to join in the global conversation?

as the red carpet coverage broadcasts from southern california, i am reminded of the way in which i watch so much of what is before me. in our home, the academy awards are the super bowl and, in a few hours we will sit, ballots in hand, to see who takes what home and who says what memorable thing. as a young adult i watched every minute of pre show coverage and followed the after parties as well. every part of the show fed my interest in pop culture and anthropology. now i watch with a sadness of sorts, realizing my own tendency to hope too much about that which really isn’t “fair” and/or doesn’t matter in the eternal scheme of things. 

why is so much of our western living organized around competition?

why are we so free with our expressions of criticism and praise (opposite ends of a strikingly similar continuum) and so sparing with our commentaries on grace and peace?

why do we love to comment on that which we would “never go see” or “not be caught dead in?” why do we love to hate?

tonight (or at whatever event is your own personal super bowl), as we gather around the television to see who fate favors with a few glorious moments in the spotlight, what if we watched with a lightness and kindness that spread throughout the room? what if we chose to comment on that which we appreciated, looking for those things with new focus and care? what if we looked empathically toward half-starved, double “spank-ed” (the undergarments, not the actions), heavily made-up super stars whom we love to hate or hate to love (because they make us seem oh-so-ordinary-and-plain) and wished them inner peace in a world of outer criticism?

in a world where only certain few ever walk a red carpet it is completely within our power and control to treat everyone as if they are worthy of it. why not start tonight? at home? with those on the screen and those you watch with? especially yourself.

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