Sunday, June 30, 2013

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Intelligent

Here's what gets me.

Full disclosure: I was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from college, where I took an IQ test for a psychology class and scored 160, which was classified as being "genius."

Consequently, I have usually been successful at what I did, not always at what I wanted to do. For example, although I decided at an early age that I wanted to be a writer and was writing stories even earlier, I was a reporter for my high-school weekly newspaper and co-editor-in-chief my senior year, I received a journalism scholarship to college, but then I changed my major from journalism to English literature because I decided that I wanted to be a famous novelist instead of a reporter or own a newspaper.

Eventually I did publish a novel, Plastic Man: A Novel of the Sixties.

Which brings me to television, and for those of you too young to know or too old to remember, the title of this piece is a play on the catchphrase for a Panteme commercial in the 1980s featuring Kelly LeBrock, a beautiful and famous woman at the time, which was "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."

Speaking of old, I am old enough to remember when television became socially popular and pervasive and when TV executives and society in general debated whether television should give the audience what they wanted or give them what they needed. In other words, to use newspaper terminology, should network television be produced to appeal to the least common denominator of the viewing audience or should it be of higher quality and enrich and enlighten the audience.

There was even the notion that television was going to educate the masses either actively, for example, from "educational TV" or passively from just watching worlds and customs and countries different from our own.

Just look at your TV schedule today, and what do you see? So-called "reality-TV" shows, which are anything but, because they are cheap to produce and they are scripted to bring out the worst in its participants. Unfortunately, "give the producers what they want" won out, and the producers and network executives are greedy and want money.

Which brings me to politics.

I was very much interested in politics and believed that I could make a difference. I attended my first precinct caucus in 1976 for the Democratic party and was disillusioned when the candidate I supported didn't win and another attendee urged me to change my vote to the leading candidate and said, "It's a shame that you won't be represented at the state convention."

In other words, she believed that the best way I would be represented would be if I voted for a candidate I didn't support.

However, I did attend the state convention and became even more disillusioned when I saw most of the people there spending more time wheeling and dealing to be selected to attend the national convention than they did in conducting the business at hand.

Although I stopped participating actively in my party, I continued to vote in every election as I have done since I became eligible to vote, and except for 1976 I was disappointed in every national election for president.

Then came 1992, and I again attended my precinct caucus. Bill Clinton was the candidate I supported, and not only did he win the vote in my precinct, but because the precinct chairman was resigning after the caucus, I volunteered to be the precinct chairman, a position I held without any assistance until I became burned out in 2008 when Barack Obama was running, and I essentially retired from active politics.

I was still writing during that time, however, and wrote and published the newsletter for the county Democrat party.

Politics today is obscene when elected officials vote according to what their pockets and lobbyists tell them instead of what their constituents want.

Which finally brings me to religion. Although I was raised by my parents to be religious, I lost my religion when I thought about all the inconsistencies I was being taught as absolute truths, and I even published a book, An Atheist's Handbook, about my experience.

And to complete the trilogy, I also published The Searcher, my secular response to the hugely popular The Prophet.

I don't need or desire approval from other people to make me happy, and I don't care what other people think about me.

I don't use Facebook or Twitter. I am content being me.

I rest my case.

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