Recently while teaching a class, technical difficulties developed with the audio in the room after I launched a YouTube video of the VW commercial with the kid dressed as Darth Vader ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NvSgrxp8Yg). While fiddling with wires, I realized the class was still engaged in the video. The story in the images works even without the synchronous Star Wars music because of the many symbolic elements: the costume, the context, the expressions of the actors and the mannerisms… especially the mannerisms.
This week, in passing, my wife mentioned that a number of political yard signs in our neighborhood had been defaced overnight. The issue was the marriage amendment, and no matter the side with which you align or which version of the signs were marred, it tells a story. The story is that some individuals believe so much in the rightness of their own position that it becomes fair for them to supersede the right to free speech of others. This lone perpetrator with a can of spray paint does significantly minor damage by comparison to similar extremist pundits on both sides who attempt to succeed by obliterating the voices of others by force.
Such contemptuous behaviors should have no place in public discourse, yet they dominate because discourse has become uncivil and unfortunately, because the strategies must work sufficiently for the practices to perpetuate.
I’m tired of the angst ridden, accusatory rhetoric… the ads that push the limits of defamation because they can abuse a public figure in ways that would be illegal in characterizing an average citizen.
So what about a quiet story – one the leverages the symbols of a political stance, and leverages the mannerisms of the humans involved? A story that quietly conveys the point without forcefully gouging at the opposing view, but captivates and persuades without hatred, implied violence or anger… most of all without the supreme righteousness embodied so consistently among the extremists on both sides of a handful of issues (which often provide distraction from issues about which we might otherwise be most concerned).
I’m closing my eyes and concentrating, with my palms facing the television screen.