Put the toys away: We have an inauguration to celebrate

I can enjoy a good television program or a movie with a compelling, coherent plot and well rounded characters.  I can appreciate a good acting performance and have been known to tap my fingers and nod my head to a great singing voice or the blur of fingers moving around six strings with the grace and speed of a hummingbird.

One of the benefits of being an American is being able to enjoy all these distractions and more.  But make no mistake: these are merely distractions – i.e., toys to enjoy in moderation.  The actors playing these roles are nothing more than action figures, available for adventures into uncharted lands, madcap comedy, or whatever fiction most pleases their user at a given time.  The musicians are music boxes ready to be wound at our whim and easily shut when more important matters demand our attention.

With the rise of the internet, the spread of downloadable content, and the creation of streaming services like Netflix, Americans now have unprecedented control over when and how they can enjoy these toys.  They can cheer us up when we are feeling low or just give our minds a brief respite from the weight of modern life.

There are Americans who allow these toys to consume a portion entirely too large of their lives.  Nothing I say or do will ever convince most of these people to occasionally put these toys away and go outside for a little fresh air and some perspective.  These Americans are likely applauding Meryl Streep's Golden Globe speech and singing along to W Magazine's YouTube video featuring movie actors butchering Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive."

However, I take heart from signs that an increasing number of Americans are playing with their toys a little less frequently, a little more responsibly, and with a little more discernment.  Outside the confines of the toy chest (Hollywood), Streep's histrionics have drawn a good deal of criticism from several corners.  Meanwhile, the aforementioned YouTube video, surely featuring the worst ever recorded rendition of "I Will Survive," was down-voted by a ratio of over 5 to 1.

More generally speaking, a growing segment of society appear to be opting not to play with the noisiest and most obnoxious toys (actors and musicians who still feel the need to alienate large numbers of consumers with their sophomoric opinions), while movies aggressively pushing politically correct agendas (typically at the cost of quality) are often opening to disappointment and oblivion.

Consequently, I am hopeful that a large percentage of Americans will join me in saying the inauguration this week is a time for the adults of this country to come together, celebrate the peaceful transition of power, and express their hope for the future of this country.  Plainly put, we don't care whether the affair will be attended by celebrities.  We don't need cutesy dolls playing dress-up at the celebration.  We don't need action figures sputtering sentence fragments about punching the president-elect in the face when you pull their strings.  We don't need music boxes that frequently interrupt their melodies to bitterly gripe about the effects of climate change on the Delta Smelt or lecture us on the tribesmen of Bora Bora choking on plastic soda bottles that have washed ashore.

We didn't need Ben Affleck serving bean dip at our July 4th party.  We didn't need Jennifer Lawrence serving pickled herring in a $100,000 dress at our house on New Year's Eve.  We didn't need Robert De Niro carving our turkey on Thanksgiving.   

For one night, just one night, let's all put the toys away and enjoy the inauguration for what it is: a grown-up celebration of the exceptional nature of America.

I can enjoy a good television program or a movie with a compelling, coherent plot and well rounded characters.  I can appreciate a good acting performance and have been known to tap my fingers and nod my head to a great singing voice or the blur of fingers moving around six strings with the grace and speed of a hummingbird.

One of the benefits of being an American is being able to enjoy all these distractions and more.  But make no mistake: these are merely distractions – i.e., toys to enjoy in moderation.  The actors playing these roles are nothing more than action figures, available for adventures into uncharted lands, madcap comedy, or whatever fiction most pleases their user at a given time.  The musicians are music boxes ready to be wound at our whim and easily shut when more important matters demand our attention.

With the rise of the internet, the spread of downloadable content, and the creation of streaming services like Netflix, Americans now have unprecedented control over when and how they can enjoy these toys.  They can cheer us up when we are feeling low or just give our minds a brief respite from the weight of modern life.

There are Americans who allow these toys to consume a portion entirely too large of their lives.  Nothing I say or do will ever convince most of these people to occasionally put these toys away and go outside for a little fresh air and some perspective.  These Americans are likely applauding Meryl Streep's Golden Globe speech and singing along to W Magazine's YouTube video featuring movie actors butchering Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive."

However, I take heart from signs that an increasing number of Americans are playing with their toys a little less frequently, a little more responsibly, and with a little more discernment.  Outside the confines of the toy chest (Hollywood), Streep's histrionics have drawn a good deal of criticism from several corners.  Meanwhile, the aforementioned YouTube video, surely featuring the worst ever recorded rendition of "I Will Survive," was down-voted by a ratio of over 5 to 1.

More generally speaking, a growing segment of society appear to be opting not to play with the noisiest and most obnoxious toys (actors and musicians who still feel the need to alienate large numbers of consumers with their sophomoric opinions), while movies aggressively pushing politically correct agendas (typically at the cost of quality) are often opening to disappointment and oblivion.

Consequently, I am hopeful that a large percentage of Americans will join me in saying the inauguration this week is a time for the adults of this country to come together, celebrate the peaceful transition of power, and express their hope for the future of this country.  Plainly put, we don't care whether the affair will be attended by celebrities.  We don't need cutesy dolls playing dress-up at the celebration.  We don't need action figures sputtering sentence fragments about punching the president-elect in the face when you pull their strings.  We don't need music boxes that frequently interrupt their melodies to bitterly gripe about the effects of climate change on the Delta Smelt or lecture us on the tribesmen of Bora Bora choking on plastic soda bottles that have washed ashore.

We didn't need Ben Affleck serving bean dip at our July 4th party.  We didn't need Jennifer Lawrence serving pickled herring in a $100,000 dress at our house on New Year's Eve.  We didn't need Robert De Niro carving our turkey on Thanksgiving.   

For one night, just one night, let's all put the toys away and enjoy the inauguration for what it is: a grown-up celebration of the exceptional nature of America.