Be the Change: Overcoming Our Bad Habits

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Here is a lovely little piece by CBC’s Heather Mallick worth the read and definitely worth the time to reflect on.

Give up your rage

A Viewpoint by Heather Mallick, posted on on Friday, April 17th 2009

Susan Boyle’s glorious performance on Britain’s Got Talent last week — it went wild online — was many things to many people.

Initially, it was a hideous display of the customary cruelty meted out to the homely. And make no mistake, reality TV shows are the Noughties version of the bear-baiting that kept the Elizabethans entranced.

But Boyle’s was also that perfect voice serving as antidote to the sinus-blasting belters like Mariah Carey who have ruined our morning shop at Loblaws for years now. The heart-hurting, pop love anthem is back, this time with civilization, and for that I thank you, Susan Boyle.

But what I noticed most when viewing this treat for the first time was the sudden reversal of our schadenfreude — the malicious enjoyment we are taking in each other’s misfortunes, particularly as the economic crisis endures.

The judges and audience were mocking Boyle before she even opened her mouth. How foolish they looked a few seconds later, after she began her song. They were the ugly people.

Pity the beauteous

Most people have lost money, not to mention self-esteem, in this past year. But the sinking economy has neither ennobled us nor made us worse. The judges and audience members who openly sneered at Boyle as she prepared to sing are the norm and always will be.

I’d also note that this type of venom sprays in all directions. Horrible Simon Cowell initially treated Boyle with actual revulsion. (Hey, Simon, did you know that Cowell was serial killer Ted Bundy’s real surname? You can’t help that, I know. But neither can Boyle help being poor.)

Still, it’s almost as common for homely people to deeply resent the beauteous. Boyle doesn’t, but many do. Beautiful people have a hard time of it.

Tina Fey recently wrote an episode of 30 Rock starring Jon Hamm, the unnervingly handsome actor who plays Don Draper in Mad Men. Fey’s Liz Lemon character is dating Hamm, who plays “Dr. Drew.”

Drew is a doctor who doesn’t know the Heimlich manoeuvre, a cook who thinks salmon works with Gatorade sauce, a man “who’s worse at sex” than Liz Lemon.

Because he is so handsome, no one has ever told him the truth.

Pop the bubble

Beautiful people are “in the bubble,” that protective casing that gets them ludicrous compliments, free drinks and all the sex they want. It’s nice inside the bubble. As long as you’re not aware of how much the rest of us secretly hate you.

What seems to have changed now, though, is that being hated is up for grabs. Whose downfall will have us smirking?

Yes, it’s arresting to see CEOs demonized for taking tens of millions in bonuses while running companies into the ground and it’s odd to see grown men weeping in their driveways after a bus tour of haters rattles through their gated community.

But these men are all still insulated by extraordinary wealth. As Rhett Butler replied when Scarlett said money can’t buy love: “Generally it can. But when it can’t, it can buy some of the most remarkable substitutes.”

Read the rest of this article here.

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