Sunday, March 9, 2008

'Louis Vitton' ou 'Gucci?'

I am watching America's Next Top Model on YouTube, an American Idol-type reality show produced by Tyra Banks for young amateur models 16-23. The girls are in Paris and are put through a series of elimination tests to see if they can cut it in not only modeling, but being a world-class model.

The girls are split (in one way) among the evangelical Christians and "pagans," as one girl put it. Adrianna, one of the girls, was at one point complaining about the way the Christians roll their eyes and pass judgment at her. "I do believe in God," she said. "I'm just not psychotic about it." A comment worth bookmarking for my research.

At one point, the girls were given a free day, but could not agree on where to spend it. One girl wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and visit Jim Morrison's grave, while the Christian girls wanted to go shopping. It was a tense moment (the Christians didn't even know who Jim Morrison was), and it was clear that the group would either split, or compromise. While the one Christian said it would be only fair to do both, the other repeated, "I want to go shopping." Hm.

The deadlock brought back ripe memories of last week's jury duty--a group of strangers put together for a common purpose. It was similar, at least in the situation of trying to decide where to spend the day in Paris. It occurred to me that it only takes one person's unwillingness to consider an option besides their own to prevent an entire group from doing something. There was a woman on the jury like this--it was the "I don't need a [rational] reason" attitude for the defense of her opinion (which went against the majority) employed by President Bush during international summits, delegations, and negotiations. Billy Bob Thorton was great in his role as the President of the United States in Love Actually, adopting a similar attitude--proud assuredness, bravado...and extreme arrogance. The fact that Christians (at least as represented in America's Next Top Model) can assume such an attitude is unnerving. In a jury room, though, the unwillingness to compromise, recognizing that you are part of something bigger than yourself, can be downright maddening.

ps: My Lenten promise of staying out of my workshop has crashed faster than a New Year's resolution. The bikes are in their final stages. Be patient with me; I'll be cranking things out in my hermitage for the next few weeks in the hopes that the cycle of Bicycle Samsara suffering will cease. It is the height of irony to be suffering and being able to see it and refusing to just step out; an absurd paradox. Paul Schrader said it best, "I want to be happy; why do I do things that make me unhappy?" (thanks to M.B. for the timely quote)

No comments: