Friday, May 14, 2010

The case of Public vs. Private

Last week, I was driving to work listening to the radio. I’m probably the last person that listens to old school radio stations besides senior citizens. Don’t most do a cd, iPod or XM radio these days?  To further convey to you how cool I truly am, I was listening to KISS FM 106.1, Kidd Kraddock in the morning. Robert has never even heard of that radio show, confirming to me that is really is THAT dorky that I listen to it on the daily. Rhonda, I know you won’t judge me. Everyone else, probably will, that’s okay….

Onto the subject matter -

Soooo, I was listening to Kidd Kraddock and randomly they are interviewing Michael Lohan. Lindsay Lohan’s dad. At first I thought it was a joke, but as the interview went on I realized it was indeed, the real Michael Lohan. He’s  going “public” trying to get Lindsay help because he claims she’s killing herself with drugs and alcohol, on top of this, Lindsey’s little sister who is 16, Ali, lives with Lindsay and he is trying to get her to go back and live with her mom, Dina (Mary Green’s icon/muse).  And today, I was again listening to the radio and Linsday is $23,000.00 behind on her rent and is about the get evicted. Lindsay Lohan’s life is like Hati/Katrina/Iraq – disaster.
During the Michael Lohan interview, Kid Kraddock, the hardcore journalist that he is, asked Mr. Lohan why he feels that it’s necessary to involve the media in trying to contact his daughters. Mr. Lohan claimed that he can’t go to a court house or a lawyer’s office without photographers following him, in addition, when he has tried to communicate privately with Lindsay, but, she tweets horrible things about him, so he has to retaliate through the media. What a mature way to handle things, Mr. Lohan and Lindsay.

And you thought your family had problems.

(She peaked here. And the original is way better. I'm mean?)

Oddly, this Lohan conflict made me think:  What are the things we keep private and the things we are okay with being public about?

There seems to be an influx of public information that used to be private. Technology has allowed us to let others know what is going on constantly, little things, big things. We probably all know far too much about people we haven’t spoken to in years due to facebook. I love/hate this, a weird tension has formed within me. I hope I’m not alone in this. I love seeing what a good friend is doing on a Saturday that I wouldn't have known if it wasn’t for “Mobile Uploads”, on the other hand, when I’m scanning through an album of someone I scarcely know it causes me to question where I fall on the loser meter or the creepy meter. Very high some days I have to admit.

And then there’s Twitter, I don’t do this, but, if you go to, you can see what the stars are tweeting. Why does anyone even what to know that? The internet has done a magnificent thing in connecting us, but also has caused the phenomenon of everything immediately becoming public knowledge.  Does this benefit us as a society? Are we too busy catching up on everyone else that we forget to just catch up with ourselves?

Back to the Lohans….why do I even know about what’s going on with them? Shouldn’t this just remain private? Twenty years ago when she couldn’t “tweet” and he couldn’t get paid by selling a tabloid a story, I wonder if they could have worked it out. In 1990, unless it was going to be in the newspaper, there really wouldn’t be a way to make a big public scene about it. Maybe, back then, just maybe, they could have kept the family drama private and there could have been a different outcome of their whole predicament.

This is extreme but sometimes I worry that the increase of constant communication/publicizing is going to be the demise of real relationships (i.e. the crackhead Lohans). Robert and I talk all the time, obviously, we live together, we’re married, and  I have the need to tell him every thought and feeling I have. Poor guy. BUT if we didn’t WANT to talk to each other I feel like it could be avoided. He could be on his lap top all night and I could be on my blackberry. Plus with the television on, each of us could totally fold away into our own worlds. It makes it easy to keep everything inside and not have to talk about life’s unpleasantries. (I think I made that word up?) Life, as great as it is, has bad days, negative thoughts, frustrating feelings which when we mask, will always somehow blow up in our face and when your married, it means it will blow up in the other persons face too.  Messy.

You have to talk things out and share your lives, the daily drudgery, stupid stories, funny stories, pointless stories; it’s what weaves a couples’ lives together. I would say this goes not only for couples, but friend and family relationships too. Technology makes more communication possible, I can bbm Mary and text my mom and we stay connected, but also I probably go longer without having a real conversation with them because of this. Once again, love/hate this.

On the flip side, what are we more private about?

I have a friend that is in my Bible study. Her name is Sally. Sally’s mom has this talent of what I’d guess you’d call teaching?  Through the years she’s put together series of Bible studies and our Bible study has gone through a couple of them. She has a way of putting together these legit studies with a mixture of real life examples and how scripture and God apply. I’m trying to remember the titles of her studies…I think one was called “Praying Through Your Emotions” – which was so good for me…talked about anger, depression, happiness, ect., another study was “Stranger than Fiction” – which talked about those weird crazy stories in the Bible (actually, we havne’t gone through that one yet.) There was another on the book of Ecclesiates which was a doozie- just talked about what in the world life is really all about.

The point I’m making is that Sally’s mom is always leading something, counseling people that sort of thing and surprisingly Sally told me she just led a Sunday school class to a class of young couples about blogs. Has anyone noticed that everyone that has a baby has a blog? I could name 5 off the top of my head without even thinking. I don’t think it’s a bad thing and I don’t think Sally’s mom did either. But, she pointed out in her blog study that these blogs can give you unrealistic expectations, like movies and love stories. Being a parent is not always a joy and changing a diaper doesn’t always feel like a gift from God, as these bloggers sometimes imply. 

Blogs, status updates, tweets- they suddenly have become a way that we can compare ourselves, not saying that we always do, but it's bound to happen. Keeping up with the Jones, but on steroids, you know? 

We can be so public about the good, but so private about where we struggle, even with those closest to us. We’re so busy trying to put on a good face and be the quintessential (fill in the blank) because everyone else is according to their blogs and public outcries, we all of the sudden have these unrealistic standards of where and what we should be. 

I don’t think our parents had that sort of pressure on them. We get online and see what’s up with everyone and sometimes these quesitons run through your head…. Should I be married? Should I travel more? Should I go out more? Should I live in a bigger house?  Should I cook that? Should I wear that trendy shirt? Should I write a book? Should I start a blog? I mean, my mom and dad at my age were married, worked, came home, had dinner and maybe watched tv. I actually have no clue what they were doing, I think dad had just got out of rehab, so whatever, call us the Lohans, but I think you get the picture of the difference I’m pointing out between those baby boomers and us.(**I love my dad, he is seriously my hero and mean no disrespect to him in that historical Neal family reference.**)

Where’s the point here? I’m not sure. Elementary aged kids have cell phones now. Will my kids have iPads in preschool and have facebook accound by age 8? Where are we going here? We don’t know, we can’t even guess and that’s okay.

Someone once said this to me about New York City, “It has the best of everything and the worst of everything.” So true. I find, that’s also how I feel about the internet. Best of everying, get online donate to a charity. Worst of everything, has anyone heard of f***book, yes it exsists.

So, I guess it’s up to us, our own free will to use it for good or bad. I know I’ll still read status updates and either laugh or want poke myself in the eye and I know I’ll keep reading the blogs, baby or non-baby and enjoy them. But, I also want to be able to tune it all completely out and just be the flawed human that I am and know that I exsist even if I didn’t have a facebook account or a blog. Does that make since? At all? Sort of? I’m not even sure it does. Does anything make since? Rarely. That’s why pppppfffffffftttttttt is such a necessary word ……..

Tgif, friends. 

1 comment:

Ande said...

I am a radio listener. And I listen to Big Al and Kid Kraddick in the morning. And I get excited when I see Big Al at the MAT. Who's judging who now? All true facts Al. I sometimes find myself telling my mother about kids from high school and i am sicked out by the fact I know this information. My neice knows how to use an iphone..and wants one. I sometimes wish this whole "access to everything" phone didn't exist. or do i?