Friday, June 26, 2009

"Love" Gone Too Far?

A very sad day in the celebrity world and one that reminds of the great "equalizer" in life -- that, in fact, of life's end.

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson were icons who transcended generations, sex and in Jackson's case, even race.

Farrah is ultimately to be admired and respected for her bravery and optimism in facing down a dread, painful and eventually, deadly disease. Jackson for his great and far reaching contributions to the music and dance fields -- though I don't personally agree with one reporter who indicated Jackson to be a "better dancer than Fred Astair." He wasn't. Jackson's bodies of work just don't measure up to those of Astair or Gene Kelly on the dance side or Elvis Presley on the vocal side.

That said, Michael Jackson was one of the most creative, talented, masterful and mysterious entertainers of our times. He was extremely sensitive (even as a child) and had a great love for animals and children. Whether those loves went too far, (in ultimately doing damage to animals or children) we will, however, never really know.

I for one, don't know what became of all the animals once cared for at Jackson's "Neverland" ranch and no one seems to know for sure whether child "molestation" charges against Jackson were fully founded.

What is known is that love sometimes goes too far.

I sometimes think that "love gone too far" is something we see every day in both, the animal and human worlds.

We see it in all the once "loved" pets discarded at animal shelters every day. We see it in our human penchant to "love" the taste of animal flesh. Such "love" is based primarily upon what the loved object can do for us, rather than our moral (and other) obligations or responsibilities towards them.

Love is a two-way street. A situation (ideally) of give and take.

We "take" from others (whether animals or humans) certain emotional and other fulfillment needs, but we also have obligation to realize the needs of those we "use" or depend upon and act to best fulfill them.

We "love" our celebrity idols, but are quick to judgement and even condemnation or replacement when at first, they disappoint.

Celebrities are, after all, only human and like other humans (or pets) occasionally err, make poor choices in life and/or disappoint.

Perhaps the key is to "love" less and strive to understand and respect more -- especially our personal obligations to others when deciding to love. Love is, after all, a verb; an action we make choice and option upon, as opposed to something that just comes along and "sweeps us" helplessly off our feet.

With action and choice, comes obligation.

Forever packed animal shelters, destructive tabloid headlines, tendencies to "idolize," beautify, epitomize, or seek "perfection" rather than accept as human (or animal) or realize our moral obligations in kind has resulted in a kind of narcissistic, shallow and even (really) loveless culture that forever seeks gratification, escape, replacement, addiction, obsession, and entertainment, rather than substance or the lasting joy that comes from shared responsibilities and mutual sacrifice.

Perhaps the real problem is we use the term, "love" too loosely?

We use "love" to apply to everything from food, to clothes, to places, to entertainment and entertainers and yes, even to animals.

And while it is possible to derive pleasure from all of the above and it is indeed, possible to love an animal (when also accepting full responsibility and commitment for him/her), it is not possible to really "love" a blouse, piece of furniture, location, food or even a celebrity.

There is no obligation, purpose or sense of shared sacrifice to those so-called "loves."

The passings of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, though they represent losses to the worlds of entertainment and celebrity are in fact, no greater in tragedy and scope than the losses to any species on our planet on any given day.

As said at the top of this, they serve to remind of the fragility of all life and of its great equalizer -- that, in fact of life's end. -- PCA


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