Saturday, December 5, 2015

Terrorists: They're Just Like Us

When I grow up, I wanna be just like....

As kids, we were read fairy tales and watched Disney movies. Heroes were worshiped and children were told that they should grow up and "be just like the good guys" - brave, kind, of service to others, and talented enough to spontaneously break out into song. No matter their struggles, the heroes always won in the end, and the message was that love triumphs over evil.

About a minute after we grew out of cartoon hunks and sass talking damsels riding in on white horses to save their betrothed, we set our sights on movie stars. Who wouldn't want to be like them? They wore fancy clothes and painted smiles for the cameras. As tweens, fun loving, photoshopped poses were enough to make us to wish, When I grow up, I want to be rich and famous. Their lives are perfect!

Thanks Google Images and Disney
Then Reality TV and Social Media arrived to the party, and they grabbed our attention in one fell swoop, inviting us to come play, like those twins in The Shining. Suddenly, we got a glimpse into what goes on when "there's no script", and the battle of the hot messes began.

All sense of self respect went out the window with the idea that wearing underwear for the camera was good form. Beating each other up, both physically and verbally, became a hashtag - #fightgoals - and like verbal diarrhea, every badly spelled thought, feeling, and opinion we had was let loose on the internet.

No matter which phase we were in, fingers were wagged and behavior was insisted upon: Be nice! No bullying allowed! If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!

The message was certainly loud, but was it really clear??

There's a reason why The Housewives reality franchise is so popular, but (Spoiler Alert!) it's not because anyone kisses, makes up, and means it. Audiences love the drama. And the fights. Especially the ones that involve hair pulling and secret telling. Viewers root for their favorites and judge how strong or weak the players are.

At home, when kids are shushed because Bethany and Kristen are about to throw down at a fancy restaurant in Tribeca, I have to wonder what kind of life lessons they are learning.

Twitter, Twitter, post on my wall, who's the toughest one of all?

A few weeks ago, the NY Times posted an article on the front page of the Saturday paper. The headline read: Supporters of Al Qaeda and ISIS Tangle Over Who Is The Deadliest

Find the NY Times article here:

The piece described how followers of each group were tweeting at each other about who was more righteous and prominent. The Times reported that one outspoken supporter's profile suggested that he could be a fighter affiliated with one of the groups, and it got me thinking about reality TV and how these shows gain momentum.

*  As soon as a show makes its debut, alliances, rivalries, and branding abound. - "Once united under the Qaeda brand, they (Al Qaeda and ISIS) split over differing strategies in Syria."

 Lines are drawn quickly, and the drama begins. - "... it was also clear that the hostage-taking played into the growing rivalry between the two groups."

*  Favorites are decided upon and we create opinions based on what is shown to us, rather than what really is. And along the way, images become more distorted as even the characters have to live up to the brand they've created for themselves. - "The Islamic State has since emerged as the most dynamic , popular force among radicalized Muslims, fueling a competition for recruits, cash, and bragging rights among extremists who see bloodletting as the best way to advance an Islamist agenda."

*Quotes are taken from the NY Times article

"Those who live in glass houses..."

We all have opinions and we are lucky enough to live in a country where we have the freedom to express them, but how it's done is what marry us regular folk to the terrorists and reality TV.

Social Media is full of posts, pictures, and memes that bully, shame, and criticize others for almost everything they say, do, and are. We rally supporters while retweeting, reposting, and sharing negativity in alarming numbers.

Because you never make a mistake behind the wheel

How sad that we all don't blindly follow you. #fatshamingisuncool 

And so many times, mothers, like Kim Kardashian-West - who are creating tiny humans - are targeted. How disappointing it must be for the parents of the cruelly outspoken - having children that are so unkind that they forget that their own mothers gained some weight and ate a little more while pregnant.

So oblivious are some that for those who have breastfed publicly, like Ashley Kaidel, the statement that goes unsaid is, Her body is so amazing that it instinctively makes enough nourishing, life sustaining food so that our generation and future ones can live on - even if the rest of us kill each other via disrespect, hatred, and a disregard for the contrasts that brought enough change to get us to where we are in terms of knowledge, technology, finance, medicine, etc.

"What is an adult? A child puffed with age." Simone de Beauvoir

Despite all of the development and awareness that has brought us iPhones, Netflix, and 3D Organ Bioprinting, so many are still stuck in the past. They behave as immature individuals fighting over things (like land and money), refusing to listen to or to respect the perspectives of others, and needing to be heard over everyone else. They can be food service workers, teachers, CEO's, or organized groups with self serving agendas - acting like children who have still not grown up enough to realize that it is not in our best interest to always agree, but it is in our best interest to stop fighting long enough to listen and consider other's ideas and feelings.

And it's not just on social media. Bullying happens on the roads, in the stores, and in the workplace. Just this morning, I saw two middle aged men fighting over a handicap parking spot at Walmart. Although there were two empty spots about twenty feet from the one they were arguing over, as I watched them climb out of their cars to get in each other's faces, it became clear that the fight was not really about where to park. It was about dominance, being right, and winning. And since it was 7:30 on a Saturday morning in December, how much do you want to bet that at least one of them was there to shop for gifts for the holidays? #holidayspiritfails

The only thing that separates us from the terrorists is our firepower, although some may argue that words hurt more than guns do.

Who are you?

Are you the person who will attack my opinions in the comments, or are you the person who discusses things in the name of progress and/or understanding? Can you be the one who will bring your thoughts to the table without anger or the expectation that we should all agree with you?

It may sound crazy, but a girl can dream, right?

CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a quirky group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Her first novella, SUKI, has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States. 

You can now order SUKI in paperback on Amazon or at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at Learn more about SUKI at BOOK REVUE.  

Her blogs have been syndicated on multiple sites including The Masquerade Crew. More posts like these can be found at Humor Outcasts and The Patch where she is a regular contributor.  

FOLLOW me on TwitterFacebook, Google +, and CF_Winn on Instagram.


Liv bySurprise said...

I try to be the second person I've been terrorized before. I don't like it.

CF Winn said...

I'm so sorry you've had that experience Liv bySurprise. But remember Karma works both ways. You keep doing you and I'm confident that your rewards will be far greater than your perpetrator's. I thank you for reading and commenting.