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Around the Bluhmin’ Town

10/5/16

Judy Bluhm

My teenage grandson, Brandon, made me watch it. He laid out his case, as if he were practicing for a debate (telling me it would be fun), so that I had no excuse except to turn on the television, make a bowl of popcorn and suffer through the back-biting, insults, below-the-belt, half-truths, bold lies and entertaining spectacle that played out before my eyes. The “Clash of the Titans” certainly didn’t disappoint. A grueling battle, that left some of the spectators squealing in delight  (or shaking their heads), slightly bruising the moderator and leaving nothing left to ponder, except maybe the question, “is this the best we can do?”

Many psychologists claim that all manner of disappointment comes from having expectations that are too high. You thought your vacation to Hawaii would be fantastic but it rained every day. You wanted a perfect wedding day and then the best man got drunk. You had hoped for a nice leisurely weekend but the chores sneaked up on you and it felt like two days of work. Collectively, we expect that people running for the highest office in the country would be the “cream of the crop.” So on and on it goes with disappointments. I suppose the only thing standing in our way of happiness is our own misguided thoughts about “how things should be.”

Of course, if we lower our expectations to rock bottom levels, it means we would accept “anything” and stand for nothing. So I guess we have to keep striving for the best in ourselves and others. That is what my minister says is a “purposeful life” which leads us to live to the “highest standards possible.” Okay, but what about those expectations we hold that might derail our inner peace?

Getting back to the brawl that I witnessed on television, I guess we just have to admit that there is a sense of weird voyeurism when watching people acting badly in public. We may feel disdain, but like any train wreck, it is pretty darn hard to look away. So we watch with a combination of disbelief (did he just say that?), disgust (really, how low can you go?), and amazement (wow, now that was unexpected). If television ratings are an indicator of the “pulse of America”, then I’d say we are mesmerized by a really good fight.

What I witnessed the other night looked like the end of decency. What happened to good manners? Many cultural “experts” report that America has entered the “era of reality TV,” where bad behavior is rewarded mightily and the connection between despicable behavior and negative consequences has been completely broken. From the Kardashians to The Bachelor, we like our “reality” shows to be thrilling examples of grown-ups doing outlandish and crazy things. And they get rich doing it.

Brandon is fifteen years old and not really into sports. He is a quiet boy who is rather introspective and has few friends. Yet, somehow he has taken a liking to professional wrestling, which he often likes to say “is the real deal and never fake.” Maybe, but all that body slamming, name-calling, jumping off the ropes, screaming, biting and chasing the referee around seems like an old episode of The Jerry Springer Show gone bad. Why I agreed to watch a “Champion Fight of WWE” with him is beyond me. It was very disturbing.

Dear Readers, I will NEVER EVER watch a televised, hyped up wrestling match again! It is horrible. Sorry Brandon, next time you are on your own.  For the “real deal” I would rather watch a Presidential debate. Then again, maybe not.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.