“Roseanne” — A sort of Role Model
[This article is for citizens, like myself, who were bothered by the hateful messages put out by Roseanne Barr. For fellow citizens who tend to agree with Barr’s perspective – I will need to pitch this argument differently. I sense what you would find below as distasteful and coarse – or maybe just — stupid.]
The son of a close friend of mine described the marriage of his parents — a “negative role model” – a term that seems to negate itself – but actually expands a meaning. Ms. R. Barr is a “negative role model.” [See what she did to finally close her career down.] But rather than shutting her down, we need to embrace her as an icon of distaste – of disgusting humor – of hatred and bad behavior. To some degree and in various ways we are all vulnerable to Barr’s hate canker. And Barr and others like her can be a guide to a better self and a more effective society.
Take Christopher Columbus. He did some not so nice stuff. AND – Chris did some really good stuff. He had a talent for finding things — for which we are grateful. Adding it up – do we take Chris down from his pedestal in the middle of the circle on W. 57th Street? Or – do we use him as a negative role model? Initially, he was hoisted up there for some good stuff he did. BUT now we see the complete Chris – a flawed person. A “mature” society MIGHT recognize Chris as a complex personality – honored for certain acts of bravery and insight — AND — at the same exact moment — vilified for his acts of violence. For in the wild dynamic of being human – Chris should be a negative role model – a guide to what is possible in various extremes. By contextualizing Chris within the broad range of human potentials, we might mature as individuals and as a society. Knocking him from his perch does nothing but create division.
Take Roseanne Barr. She is a talented actress and comedienne. AND she is a hate-filled person with an out-of-control temper. She created a “good-feel” family-oriented show that opened questions about relationships and altered ways of being human. And – Rosie is a troubled and nasty person. It is her sad/wonderful nature. BUT her TV “sitcom” has value both as entertainment and as a negative role model – an opportunity for valuable social contextualization. Rosie is a flawed person. My “mature” society recognizes the full sad and wonderful state of Rosie – the talent and the angry, hate-filled child – and in that moment of grasping both we can learn about ourselves. We embrace, in one moment, what it is to feel both – and grow to something better than Rosie and Chris – towards a mature society.
This was an opportunity that the Disney media corporation lost. Embrace the reality of the dynamic of talent and angry hate. Let the show “Roseanne” continue – and – recognize an aspect of its star as hateful and bigoted. That is who she is and who we are. Let’s live with that hate that is real – let’s be with that feeling and examine it and pursue better ways of being. That is the only way that we, as a society, can start to break from Rosie’s hatefulness – which is this country’s hatefulness – clearly indicated by the Trumpian Universe that encompasses all our days. Disney – all big time media — allow us to mature by learning about who we are – really.
The trick in this effort of social maturing is to not bifurcate – that is to in the fullness of the feeling to take sides – to be for or against anything – that is much too simple an attitude – this or that is a truly fake way of seeing the human dynamic. We are nothing so simple as this or that. The trick is in being with both the talent and the hate – at the same time – softening our hard edged, quick decision-making walls – embracing the fullness of the human experience – The human soul yearns to mature, to become full with the complexity of our relationships to each other and to the environment. Bifurcation destroys. Embracing rejuvenates.
OK – now watch a re-run of “Roseanne” with widened eyes — and learn about yourself.