Heaven knows I do my best here to avoid grousing about politics and society. If I allowed myself I’d have plenty to write about – like where is Miley Cyrus’s mother anyway?
And the political blabbering that is filling our airways? It’s only just begun. Perhaps one day I might slip and have my say. Trouble is, I’m well aware that my say is of no import – and it’s best I continue to listen and hope that someone eventually will rise with character and wisdom and humility. It’s a thin hope.
Lately Mr. A. and I have watched a few television shows, launching their fall season. Our bent is to go to British television on PBS – and that is what we will be doing again this fall. However, we have given a few American shows a try – which undoubtedly all come out of Hollywood. What we have witnessed is, to put it kindly, the underside of human nature. In one series after another we are subject to sickening violence, relational abuse, deviant and/or promiscuous sex and general nastiness. It’s only early October and I’ve had my fill. Back to PBS, old movies, football – and maybe Dancing with the Stars.
My thoughts turned to popular television the other day as I was reading a little article about Ted Danson in the paper. Seems he appeared on a panel for the Clinton Global Initiative last week speaking about the sustainability of the oceans.
Mr. Danson has some credibility here as he has been actively concerned and working for the health of the oceans for 35 years. It’s long been a trying cause, but lately he claims to have reason to hope. The organization (Oceana) that he works with has been going from country to country helping to establish fishing limits which will help the native fish populations recover. Little by little they are making progress in that and in other care-for-the earth concerns.
I wasn’t thinking so much about fishing however, as Cheers. Where everybody knows your name. It was a different era in television, where humor and humanity trumped violence. For a decade in the 80’s we all knew this little Boston pub, populated by Sam and Diane, Carla and Woody, Norm and Cliff, Frasier Crane and Lilith. Even as we laughed at their antics we became mired in their lives and wanted the best for them. They were our neighbors. Other than a little sloth, sarcasm, naivete, flirtatiousness and pomposity – and no doubt because of it – these were a delightful bunch.
Compare to today’s diet of autopsies, shootings, infidelity, walking dead, totally corrupt Washingtonians – and on and on. (I do make exception for Madame Secretary, which does seem to care about virtue.) Even our favored Friday night treat, Blue Bloods, has taken a recent more violent turn. If I, a reasonably aware person, has trouble building a heart shield against all this mess, what is happening to our children?
In the late 80’s another, albeit adult, comedy kept us coming back – Seinfeld. We saw Jerry Seinfeld in person once – and his comedy that night was squeaky clean and hilarious. Who didn’t laugh and find himself loving Jerry and George, Elaine and Kramer, and of course, Newman? In the 90’s Frasier came out of Cheers – with the same perceptive writing – and characters worth knowing, Frasier, Niles, Roz, Daphne and Martin.
Oh, I miss these guys.
Which brings me back to Ted Danson, who is now a CSI guy, picking his way among corpses and criminals and cyber crime. I bet he misses Cheers like the rest of us.
But I will be working my best to avoid the unrelenting noise and images passing for television entertainment today. I hope you do too.
Ted was talking about social activism last week, but his words resonate with me on many levels . . .
“You do the best you can, and you need to do it with a light heart and some joy, or you will drop out and become overwhelmed.”
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Phil. 4:8-9
We all do remember . . .
Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you’ve got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they’re always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.