Saturday, July 31, 2010

Don't Mess With Your Truth

The man who makes a character, makes foes.

Edward Young
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Why do I write so much about individualism? Why do I persist in challenging people to take charge of their own lives, their own thoughts and their own light? Why am I always waving red flags of warning about the toll gates that await any traveler who thoughtlessly rides the road of imitation?

Years ago I saw a TV drama about a community of girls who all looked the same. According to the story when they reached a certain age they would enter a machine, or some other system which would completely transform them. There were several models to choose from but whichever one the girl chose she would emerge being identical to all the other girls who chose the same model.

There was one girl who objected, who didn't want to lose her own individuality She suffered insults and ostracization for her decision. She was denied the society of others and repelled by the world of the girls around her.

She had one friend who had gone through the process and kept trying to persuade her until the girl finally agreed to go through with it. She chose the same model as her friend had and now they were identical. She emerged saying how glad she was that she had done it, and how happy she was to look just like her friend whom she admired. After that there wasn't much left of the friendship because it wasn't based on sameness.

There are pipe makers who can carve pipes that look exactly like Dunhill's, but they aren't Dunhill's and a pipe smoker can instantly tell the difference. If you can't afford a Dunhill's why pretend that you can?

I once played a scene with a live chicken. In the professional theatre when there are live animals involved they must have their own environmentally friendly dressing room. So she had hers. Since I was the only one who handled her on stage I used to go in to her room and spend a couple of minutes with her before the show. As we got close to performance there was a sign on her door that read "Hen-rietta." I complained. I said to the stage manager that every professional chicken is named Henrietta. Why couldn't they come up with something different. Why think it's clever to be like everyone else?

There are rock bands that look and sound like other rock bands, painters who are poor copies of Impressionist painters, actors who have to play the role as Rex Harrison or Marlon Brando played it. Imitating a great master is not a bad idea if you learn what's there and move beyond it into your own creative world. But too many people never do.

I have known people who have come into theatre proclaiming the theories of some professor. But almost without exception those theories have no legs and crumble under the brass knuckles of professional theatre.

Now modern medicine has given us cosmetic surgery. To repair a face that has been severely damaged or that causes suffering due to a birth defect is certainly a commendable practice. But what started as a simple nose job has now become a big industry where you can remake yourself to look like anyone, or anything. How far does it go? The mask face of Michael Jackson? The man who had horns inserted into his forehead? The people who have vampire teeth implanted in their mouths? The amazing thing is that it is very popular. How soon will it be before we can go into a surgeon's office and choose a model. (Make me look like Robert Duval.)

And what then happens to the real person inside? How much of ourselves to we sacrifice for this self mutilation? What happens to our true character when we choose to blanket it over with sameness, ordinariness or popularity, no matter how grotesque, to avoid the enmity of those who insist that the current standards of look and behavior be obeyed? That is a heavy toll to pay along the road to acceptance. It's a self mutilation of the soul.

Dana Bate
The Vagabond


Here are the first two words of song titles.
"I got" or "I've got"

The person who comes up with the longest list of song titles that begin with those two words will be the winner. In the case of a tie duplicated prizes will be awarded.

good luck


Rose said...

Yeah, why didn't they name the chicken "Josephine" or "Sophia" ???? LOL

Wow, sounds like the Stepford Wives Movie of everyone looking and acting the same!

You always come up with great topics to write about.

Hugs, Rose

Anonymous said...

I spent some time yesterday with a German Shephard named Gretl...and she was very original & individualistic :-). ~Mary

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Individualism is the fountain that all can drink from, and for each and every one, hopefully the taste is different.