Because it was my aunt holding the remote, I watched the last 17 minutes of America’s Next Top Model.
And I’ll pass, Tyra.
In the age of reality TV and egotistical, arrogant and overly ambitious 20-somethings, the national lust for confirmation of being “it” and “the chosen one” over the competition is getting fed. And we’re getting fat being fed and confirmed so much.
Top Model was ridiculous. After having photographers (and by that I mean extremely feminine guys who have blurred the lines in what used to be distinctively two sexes) take pictures of each anorexic hopeful, the candidates were brought in to submit to open criticism from a panel of judges.
Then there was Tyra. The great goddess from on high stood benevolently before her subjects, and………paused. It was meant to be a tense moment for the audacious contestants, clamoring for her attention. But what it really was, in that moment, was the facetiously conceited hype of the American ego.
What is it about our society that we willingly stand before a nation of illiterate television viewers and allow them to pass uninformed judgment, not upon our character or moral breadth, but upon our outward appearance?
Something has gone terribly wrong. We used to be a society built upon moral virtue, character and depth. Now, we are a society steeped in arrogant comparison, with our only hope for success resting upon the genetic lottery and the whim of societal scrutiny. And the worst part is, we lust after superficial confirmation.
Did anyone care what George Washington, Abigail Adams, Aristotle or Socrates looked like? Of course not, because the external is shallow and short-lived compared to the deep philosophical undercurrents of history.
It is the ideas, the values, the morals and the philosophies of the ages that have stood the true test of time. And many people who espoused these ideas were put to death for their beliefs. They too were judged by an arbitrary society. But instead of crying because they weren’t the popular “chosen” top model, they stared death in the face because they lived on a deeper plane of life and understood that what they were being judged for actually mattered.
My point is this: Take a moment, just one moment, out of your day to walk circumspectly and outside the superficial American ego. It’s not worth wasting time watching America’s Next Top Model, and judging the external, superficial (and ultimately fleeting) in yourself or in others.
What is worth your time is enriching your life through something that lasts. Twenty years from now, no one will care if you wore Abercrombie or Gap. They won’t care if you were the popular one or had the most dates. Future generations will care what you did and what you thought. They will care how you enriched their culture.
And perhaps, if enough of us delve deeper, there is hope for our arrogant American ego after all.