there is so very much behind what we think we know

lately, a lot has been highlighted about negative effects of gossip. a new docuseries from one of the more venerable outlets is showcasing some of the wear and tear that can come from it, showing some of that which did to those we once idolized. it is humbling to watch. especially from this more outsider perspective. a one-time journalist colleague, with whom i had it out with over a malicious headline embarrassing another subject, took to her social media presence to apologize for her part of it all, how she contributed to the may-lay with her job at the time. and while the words were well-intentioned and heartfelt, their impact on the bigger situation is likely negligible. as with most newspaper retractions, far fewer see the corrections, or partake in any efforts made to right the ship.

as people became industries and those industries grew, many of the intrinsic rules of humanity got swallowed up by the less sanguine goal of success. what was business and personal got insanely muddled in desperate grasps to satiate a growing public want for private information. presumably so the masses felt more “normal,” as if that term points to anything concrete. but the emotional responsibility that comes with that level of intrusiveness is vast, and while some of us strove to reign it in at the time, we ultimately failed to do so. all of us, at least now, hold a piece. those of us who stood in the way usually did so for others’ protection, but we were often unaware of ulterior motives at play. now they’re all we see sometimes, and that shift in perspective has been dauntingly eye-opening.

an editor once angrily chided me when i brought a friend, a hot woman, to her offices. that my actress friend had once had a spread in “playboy” apparently should have been unspoken professional warning enough for me to heed and not bring her by. but as it turns out, though, my sensors are off-puttingly misaligned. as i have so disastrously found out of late. but in the resplendently glowing light of hindsight, that they were also so miswired before is apparently a big, happy accident. i watch her now on a popular streamer in a series that elaborates on film characters cherished from our youth. she and i were feminine mirrors for a while, preferences and assessments of brains and busts aside. we went to tv tapings and hockey games as we followed her crushes through my client rosters. we laughed and hugged and enjoyed the spoils of our positions together. we’re both older now, more grown up. she has children, and i hear they are growing robustly as i deteriorate daily into one, but clearly our writer suitors still see the same sparks.

by the time i was excelling in the business, the culture had devolved into what was mostly gossip-mongering. we tried to sidestep those landmines as we promoted the less serious fare, but tabloid stringers somehow got everywhere, and made up believable falsehoods from what they thought they saw with their access. the omissions of how they were granted access and the monies that exchanged hands were not made part of the stories. neither was our chagrin at the betrayals. but, despite our best efforts and intentions, us gatekeepers were soon made part of the story in another, less illuminating fashion, as our necessary and brief interactions with writers to arrange interviews were often taken negatively, and crafted into a usable context.

as we all know too well at this point, becoming an ancillary story, even accidentally, is not beneficial. a lot of us were publicly roasted and went down in flames for our once-hidden parts in the overall setting. replaced with younger “yes-men,” our staunch defense of our charges’ talent was deemed excessive. and while it is still gut-wrenching, it is no surprise to most of us when some of the brightest of lights pass away. the output demanded of them and what comes with it is not what any of us signed up for. and when having a talent got mixed up with the responsibility of providing the wealth required to sustain it, the dominoes that kept the machines running fell hard.

for years, likely decades, shows depicting what often led up to murderous intents was educational programming for me. without beating us over the head with it, the kind humanity that could also come from the horrendous circumstances was also shown. those who stepped in to counsel grieving parents when children were taken or murdered was perhaps the one good thing to come from some of the worst tragedies. emissions of gratitude after years of petty judgements that kept some apart was rewarding. but as television adopted the old newsprint adage of “if it bleeds, it leads,” the content became darker. more twisted.

once we idolized those who brought so much trauma to our world, culturally, we officially jumped the shark. that the unibomber attended my same college was not in the salesly admission literature, but we all knew he had gone there. wondered what courses he took that steered him so off course so we could avoid a similar spiral. as we hid our fears and attempted to secretly handle the myriad pressures, sarcasm became harder to distinguish from truth, and bad jokes became more acceptable as we sought not to offend.

the world has become increasingly out of whack as our barometers of what makes up reality have become so egregiously tainted. the social movements of late are perhaps to some too little, too late, and personally i find most of it to sound whiny when it is spoken out of context. but to find a positive, at least there is more awareness now. how people in any position are treated is part of the eventual effect. good or bad. a horrific tale with a plot involving a pizza delivery and a body in a freezer was positioned as a comedy. it thankfully didn’t do well at the box-office, but murder shows are commonly shown as entertainment now, while big bosoms are more
hidden so as to be less distracting. the tides have turned, and it truly is no wonder why so many of us are confused.

especially with such awareness, it again makes it our duty to straighten the vessel. it is, really, only us who can. thinking first before blindly following and taking automatic action is essential. as with so many of the headline-making cancel culture examples, all of the breadcrumbs are there. they always have been. and, finding a glimmer of positivity from what was for years a world-crushing experience, looking beyond the flashiness presented is usually where it all is. exploring those facets kindly makes all the difference. there are a lot of good stories to tell once we find them. and there is a lot more than the nostalgia to be had from remakes and sequels. perhaps it is time we explore those, too.

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