Lies and Damn Lies!

This morning at the gym, while I was “cooling down” from exercising on a stationary bike, I happen to see a news feed going across the bottom of the television tuned to the Fox News Channel. It stated that Hollywood actors were claiming they would leave the country if Donald Trump was elected president. Wow, now that’s a huge newsflash!

I can’t remember if I actually heard this in the last two election cycles with either McCain or Romney, but I do remember hearing the same thing back when George Junior was running both times. Normally, I mock psychotherapists who “diagnose” anyone in the news without actually having had a session with that person, as it is highly unethical, so I’ll keep my comments strictly to observations; what a bunch of spoiled children. Oops, sorry, I guess I just maligned spoiled children!

Doing a quick cursory check, it seems that an actor’s education level fall into a bell curve, just like every group, if a bit lopsided. There are a few at the top end of the curve that have postgraduate degrees, and then a few more in the next statistical deviation with STEM/business bachelor degrees, followed by a large group with bachelors in drama or general studies, and then tapering off to a fair amount with a high school education. Even those with no college degree were sure to have taken a large number of acting courses.

This information isn’t to knock any actor’s ability or intelligence, it is just to point out that like everybody else that has not made a career of politics, their utterances on anything other than acting is simply their opinion. Would anyone expect that my doctorate in clinical psychology would make me an expert on economics, meteorology, diplomacy, or even acting?

I am always amazed when people quote actors on the environment, politics, or other subjects as though they are somehow brilliant in that subject due to their fame! It is just their opinion and, I have observed, usually fairly shallow and devoid of facts.

I used to think people different back in Leo Tolstoy’s day which led him to say, “Ignorance in itself is neither shameful nor harmful. Nobody can know everything. But pretending that you know what you actually do not know is both shameful and harmful.” An even better Tolstoy quote on this topic is, “There are two types of ignorance, the pure, natural ignorance into which all people are born, and the ignorance of the so-called wise. You will see that many among those who call themselves scholars do not know real life, and they despise simple people and simple things.” Nuff said!

Have you ever seen a list of what most “A” level actors require in making or promoting their movies? Their contracts spell out the number of assistants, drivers, food likes and dislikes, the size of their hotel rooms, what vehicles must transport them, and even what candy must be in their dressing room/trailer!

They are constantly complaining about the 1%, and yet they are in the 1%. They are regularly berating the rest of us on race relations, when their own industry is deemed racist. They are forever harping on women’s rights, when male actors make more than female actors. They lecture us on gun and sexual violence while appearing in movies that features, even glorifies, that very violence. And lastly, they profess to be concerned with the environment while flying private jets or riding in limousines to many of their appearances. What a bunch of hypocrites!

And now that Donald Trump might be president, they’re going to leave the country? Oh boo-hoo, and as we like to say in the South, “Don’t let the screen door hit you in the butt on your way out!” Worse, along with being hypocritical, they are liars. Funny how Robert Altman, Alec Baldwin, Elton John and others that promised to do so, didn’t leave when George W. was elected. I guess giving up all their perks and millions, built on the backs of all of us “commoners” was just too much, so they stuck around and “gutted it up” while George Junior was president.

As I have said before, quoting Don Miguel Ruiz, words are magic; we can use them for white magic or for black magic. Lies are both black magic to those who hear them as well as to those who speak them. While I might not relish a Donald Trump presidency, one upside would be to watch these prima donnas have to eat crow again.

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Ginsburg’s teaching moment to the United States

Yes, she penned her tribute to her fellow Justice, Antonin Scalia, but I hope that every citizen of the United States reads and really ponders what she wrote; doing so would go a long way in healing this nation. I have been amazed how, over the years, the public rhetoric has diverged, many words on harmony, cooperation, and inclusiveness accompanied by many words and actions of scorn, vindictiveness, and down right hate.

Justice Ginsburg starts her tribute with, “Toward the end of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, tenor Scalia and soprano Ginsburg sing a duet: ‘We are different, we are one,’ different in our interpretation of written texts, one in our reverence for the Constitution and the institution we serve. To bad our current politicians cannot emulate this. This is respect; this is true friendship, to disagree so vehemently at times, but always with deference.

Ginsburg continued, “…when I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation. Justice Scalia nailed all the weak spots—the ‘applesauce’ and ‘argle bargle’—and gave me just what I needed to strengthen the majority opinion.” Wow, what a concept, reverential, dutiful, and civil disagreement in which we support and even assist while diverging. Yet we live in a culture that revels in name calling, put downs, and libelous and fallacious accusations.

Several years ago I read the transcript of the Kennedy-Nixon debate and was amazed. I remember Nixon as brilliant and an astonishing forward thinking (although I disagreed with many of his policies), but also as mean spirited and vindictive. Imagine my wonder to see him praise JFK, calling him “my esteemed colleague,” “my friend.” That is not what I hear from our representatives and senators today. Many people were shocked to hear then vice president Chaney tell Senator Leahy to “F-off” when Leahy tried to exchange pleasantries with him. Now, I do not condone what Cheney did, but considering what Leahy had said about Chaney, his former fellow Senator, on the Senate floor no less, I can understand why Chaney reacted this way.

We cannot live a double standard and, as I always teach, words have meanings and consequences. For many years, I have read and heard that the Republicans are the party of hate. And yet, when I read the postings of my many Democrat and Republican friends on Facebook, they see to be the flip side of the same hate coin; I am saddened that we as a nation no longer embrace what Justices Ginsburg and Scalia practiced daily; and for over thirty years!

I read several years ago how many young people would never even date someone from the other political party, how narrow-minded and intolerant. Kudos to Mary Matalin and James Carville who are showing how spouses can both love and disagree and to even Dick and Mary Cheney, a parent loving and respecting his daughter although they are so politically divided.

Bravo Justices Ginsburg and Scalia! Thank you for showing us how we can live with one another, even those with whom we disagree. One of my all-time favorite, sorely missed, opinion writers (although I disagree with her many times) was Molly Ivins; I am somewhat relieved she did not live to see the extent to which this nation has devolved. In 1995 she presaged our current condition when she stated: “When politicians start talking about large groups of their fellow Americans as ‘enemies,’ it’s time for a quiet stir of alertness. Polarizing people is a good way to win an election, and also a good way to wreck a country.”

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