Cheryl Pappas


Archive for November, 2012

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Yes, it’s holiday time, aka The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Or is it?

According to songwriters Eddie Pola, George Wyle, and John Moss, why, yes it is!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle-belling
And everyone telling you
Be of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

But wait a minute.

Despite Obama’s victory, talk of a potential soft landing pad for the fiscal cliff, and the sounds of non-stop Xmas music, this season seems uncanny in its strife and stress for large numbers of people.

Be they friends sleeping on strange beds, displaced from downtown Manhattan and the Village, or any number of people suffering the losses of prior prosperity, dimming security, loss of aging parents and distance from real human connection.

Be it the chaos of the world, brought to us via news footage 24/7 that neatly removes the possibility of prescription-free sleep for many at night.

Yes, I hear all these stories and more.

I know you probably don’t want to hear about this.

I don’t blame you.

But between the heavy holiday hype and the absence of anyone reporting the truth about how life today is truly felt, I have to question things.

Mainly, I question the corruption and manipulation of news itself.

Do we need that repetitive loop of violence late at night?

Yes, we all do have a choice to turn the channel, but the truth is, people are hooked to what is alarming, and can’t seem to turn away from it.

This is possibly because pictures of disaster stand in for one’s own inner personal turmoil, a subject for another time.

On the matter of financial “reporting”, if only we were that poised for prosperity!

I question items like the headline hype of a better economy and housing market.

The upbeat economic newspaper articles that end with quick and sneaky “on the other-hands”, not meant to be noticed or digested.

Just in time for Christmas, the widely reported “soaring” consumer sentiment has me wondering. Have we been programmed for Christmas?

I invite you to read, as I do, the very end of the bullish business headline stories, where words and statistics to the effect of “never mind” are found.

(Digression: for those who don’t remember “never mind”, Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live, or her characters Emily Litella and Roseanne Rosanadana, you alone understand the removal of Gilda’s name from a local Wisconsin Gilda’s Club, the cancer organization created in her honor).

Is Christmas this year the evidence and launch of an improving economy, a reinvigorated America, and if so, why the frowning pusses?

It’s the hap- happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings
And gay happy meetings when friends come to call
It’s the hap- happiest season of all

The short (and mostly the long) of it seems, at least anecdotally, to be that the facts of most people’s lives in America remain a humiliating secret, (i.e. not so thriving or filled with “gay” happy meetings).

Therefore, ‘tis the season of denial and self-denigration that comes from not feeling jolly.

There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago

Since someone has to do it, here it comes.

No, not Santa, but my yearly tradition of noting a distinct disparity between Christmas and real life.

Check out these clues.

How would our society look, how different would we feel, if people were truly friendly and caring with each other?

How would behavior change if love was commonly offered and truth a desired commodity between friends?

If we could safely reveal our worries, burdens, and doubts to each other and be comforted, rather than pretending to race through a dizzy maze of false holiday, and everyday, destinations and cheer?

Would we be more likely, rather than looking past, to look into the eyes of a stranger on the street?

Would anxiety be replaced with the famous Christmas “good will” all year round?

Would “good will” mean cheering for others to succeed, which would open up the potential for our own successes?

What would that look like?

And finally, what would become of twittering if we were all rooting for Lindsay Lohan?

But wait, here’s that song again.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistletoe-ing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

May you all have loved ones near or far and a glowing heart all year.

I know I’ll be sitting in Los Angeles traffic, eager for good cheer and excitedly listening for that famous tinkle of a jingling bell, one that replaces the car horns blasting a wildly different Christmas message.

The Morning After

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

The horror of storm Sandy’s destruction on the East Coast may be an ominous open for next Tuesday’s own political election storm.

Or will the election itself prove to be a benign conclusion after a terrifying weather warning; skies of fog with patches of disinterested drizzle.

We have heard a blizzard of hysterical forecasts, the dark warnings of what may lie ahead for America’s future under the reign of either Obama or Romney in these next four years.

Will we wake up Wednesday morning to a newly enhanced potential for national and social destruction or will we face a familiar, newly renewed, 4-year steady paced same old unraveling of an America we used to know and love.

This is the question that surrounds the election.

America is tired.

I can’t count the number of smart people who understand that either candidate is wrong for this country.

That Obama is better for women.

That it is not helpful or enlivening to watch cable news commentators yell and shill for their candidates.

That it is not “all good” anymore, if it ever had been. (Enough with the promotion of the lie of “it’s all good”!)

That the women’s movement has dissolved as a united force, and there is now in fact an opening for an American regime that erases all progress in women’s rights that have been hard won and forged  in these last 5 decades.

That while President Obama inherited the wretched ruins of the Bush administration’s economic destruction, he reappointed the same economic circle from Bush’s regime.

From a distance, it is tempting to feel compassion for a weary young President, yet one who promised real change while actually lacking the fire and the guts to instigate that change.

From a distance, it is tempting to believe that candidate Mitt Romney, as a businessman, may know more about economics at a time when that is what is needed to help Americans survive.

Yet, here is a man who did not publicly scorn his fellow Republican, Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, for wanting to make rape an act of God’s intent.

See what I mean? Exhausting.

The urgent questions are obscured and left unanswered, such as: how did we get into this position of not having a true contender for President of the United States?

I’m not talking about whether a person speaks well, reads well in public, is a physically handsome figure, or is able to fill the public stage with examples of “family”, progeny, and virility.

When did we stop looking for, and here it is: when did we stop seeing examples of, candidates with true spontaneous intelligence, the kind that inspires beyond a surface presentation.

Where is the candidate who embodies brilliance of mind, originality of thought, depth and fire of true compassion, and the ability to make unpopular decisions on behalf of what is authentically best for the welfare of citizens in this country.

You may be saying, “oh, blah dee blah blah”, if you’re still fractionally with me here.

You may think it’s impossible to find such a person for President.

“Get real” you may say in between a yawn and an incoming text.

But think about it.

The secret in this election is that amidst the blasting endorsements and threats and promises, Americans have gone back to sleep, just as Romney and Obama have not been awakened by Sandy and remain with no focus on global warming or a responsive energy policy.

There really is no such appropriate President to vote for, only the lesser of evils.

The morning after is already here.

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