So, unless you live under a rock and have an endless supply of food and drink there, chances are good at some point in the past few weeks you have happened upon a story about Caitlyn Jenner. I have not personally read any of these stories, but the number I have happened upon is legion. For the record, I admired Bruce Jenner when he was an Olympic athlete and I admire Caitlyn for living her truth. Folks are trumpeting the coverage this woman is getting as "groundbreaking" and a triumph for transgender people everywhere. But I perceive it a bit differently. For me, what would be "groundbreaking" is if we just left her in peace and didn't turn her life into some kind of circus side show. Now, I do understand that Caitlyn courts the press; "Keeping up with the Kardashians" is a chapter of this person's life I do not particularly admire...although to be fair, I have never seen it. But from my point of view, Caitlyn has a perfect right to live her life now as a woman without questions or scrutiny. I believe that her life is none of my business.
Obviously I am in minority here and know a lot of people would want to argue with me about how good it is to have "the conversation" and how wonderful it is to live an open life. These things are both true, but only up to a point. I think a big problem in society today is that we are having conversations about things that are none of our business. Case and point: a woman's right to choose. How did this become a topic for national debate? How can it POSSIBLY be anyone's business but the woman in question? It boggles my mind to think there are people who feel within their right to make major, life altering decisions for someone they have never met. It disturbs me to consider anyone thinks it is appropriate to legislate what is 100% a deeply personal, soul wrenching choice. A woman's right to choose is the epitome of nobody's damn business but her own.
Gay marriage is another subject that I believe is a non-subject. When two consenting adults decide they want to make a commitment to each other, that is none of my business. Why does anyone in the world believe they have any legitimate call to tell another person, especially a stranger, who to marry? The religious people who make ridiculous arguments for the sanctity of the institution need a serious reality check: marriage is what you make of it, nothing more and nothing less. If people still marry and divorce multiple times, get hitched in Vegas on a whim, marry for legal status in the country, marry for financial security, marry for any reason other than the nonsensical belief that God has sanctified this particular union, then all arguments about whether or not gay marriage is right or proper are off the table. When two grown people decide to marry, it is none of our business.
Not to pick on Mark Zuckerberg, but I do think Facebook along with reality TV and omnipresent phones with cameras installed in them have fooled us all a little bit into thinking other people's business is our own. We are so up in each other's trees, it is sometimes hard to stay grounded and maintain a healthy neutrality. As for forming opinions about other people's business, I am as guilty as anyone. Long before the Duggar scandal broke, I was grumbling to anyone who would listen about these folks who apparently believe their genes are so superior they are out to single handedly populate the earth and somehow this narcissism makes them newsworthy. Keeping in mind I never watched the show; it's existence so irritated me that I started to believe the Duggar's overactive sex glands were my business, because I was forced to hear about them against my will. This leads me back to Caitlyn Jenner. There is absolutely no avoiding her, so how many people will resent her merely for that, as I did the Duggar family? The Duggar family is none of my business and I wish I had never heard of them. Bet a few of their fans are feeling the same way nowadays. Being famous for being famous is insidious and simply courts scorn. Ask Monica Lewinsky.
Familiarity breeds contempt, as anyone who is currently living their life in front of the camera knows. We used to revere celebrity, but now those idols are being torn down as we are allowed to see more and more behind the masks. This one has cellulite, that one has a drinking problem, this one's marriage is crumbling...none of our business. But the omnipresence and unavoidability of the information makes it seem otherwise. No one and nothing is sacred anymore, and while on the face of it that may seem like progress, the reality is that we are all vulnerable to this kind of scrutiny. Those cell phone cameras mean that your hangover, your bad mood, your bad hair day all have the potential to "go viral" against your will. Victims are humiliated in their greatest moment of weakness; misguided children seeking approval are degraded in front of millions and it is all available for public consumption. Lives are being ruined for nothing. Because it really is none of our business. Live and let live could be our salvation if we could tear ourselves away from the endless news cycle. The next time you find yourself getting worked up about anything, gut check with this: is it really any of my business? I think we would all be a lot happier if we could agree that most often, it is not.
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