Friday, December 30, 2011

Sacrificial vulnerability of "It"

How often have we seen live performances where, technically speaking, everything the performer did was perfect, but a certain something was missing? Maybe we could see her counting out her dance numbers, trying to remember her lines, keeping focus on listing all finer points of her speech, and as a result, her heart wasn't present.

Conversely, how many times have we seen the opposite? A imprecise performer who might even miss a step, forget a line, or stutter in a speech, but their true heart and spirit shined through and all we could remember is how captivated we were by this person?

We often refer to this concept as "it."

"She has IT!"

"I don't know what it is, but she has it!"

"You know, her performance had a lot of mishaps, but I still couldn't take my eyes off her. She was still incredible!"

We do know what "it" is. "It" is vulnerability, showing one's heart and spirit, true, pure, unabashed, raw. "It" can rarely be taught. "It" seems to be a natural gift. "It" is what makes us see an ensemble but notice one dancer over the rest. She may just be doing the same moves as the rest of the group, but she has it, so we are drawn to her. We can sense her spirit and her vulnerability.

The downside of this is that although we love to see her spirit on stage, we turn to predators as soon as we exit the arena. That special something that makes people great performers that we fall in love with is the very thing that compels us to feast on their souls. We smell that fresh blood of vulnerability and we attack, ripping her to shreds while she's still alive. Rather than being kind enough to put her out of her misery, we keep her alive, eating her alive piece by piece and savoring her most sensitive parts daily. It seems to be a modern form of human sacrifice.

One of the best example I can think of is Britney Spears. She is an excellent performer, but we all relish in the trainwreck of her personal life. We derive sadistic, animalistic, primitive pleasure in the zombie-razzi fighting over the feast of her fragile heart.

She's not the only one we sacrifice. Fresh blood is all over the walls at your nearst cash register or newsstand. People, National Inquirer, OK!, Us, Star, there seems to be an endless amount of gore to be smeared across the front pages of these sacrificial buffets.

Look at this man's drug problem.
Look at this woman's weight gain.
Look at this couple's fertility problems.

Then we deumanize these people and justify our own filthy vulturism with statements like, "Well, she puts herself out there in the public eye to be ridiculed and criticized and made fun of. If she doesn't want the attention, she shouldn't be a celebrity."

Except that even if she did go into hiding, we'd stalk and hunt her down there as well.

These behaviors demonstrate what beasts we are, despite millions of years of evolution. Our highly evolved, learned sensibilities that let us appreciate art, music, dance, theatre pale in comparison to that bottom feeding belly crawler that resides in the reptilian brain.

So next time you're making fun of some celebrity's drug problems, weight gain, body issues, failing relationships, and money problems, ask yourself, how would you handle it if you knew that you were constantly surrounded by hungry predators that see you as both the court jester and the main course? Pin It

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