Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with its enormous balloons tethered against the wind are now only in the memory of those who are children at heart. Stars of the entertainment industry after waving from open roadsters to cement their relationship with their fans are back to their hectic schedules. The masses that shoved their way to get a better view are now resuming their day to day routines.
Why does it make me uncomfortable every year to see this urban explosion of star power waving to the fans and wannabes on the sidelines? I guess it is because I am still a small town “girl” at heart. In the little town where I grew up everyone was involved in the parades. We either helped make the floats or we could march wearing a costume if we wanted to. I must admit I had my day in the sun a few years ago when I was invited to ride in a vintage car when my hometown area honored the Rosie the Riveters and others who worked in WWII industry. I had watched the armed services representatives marching in uniform on every 4th of July parade for many years but never expected to be the center of attention myself. What a thrill.
New York and other big cities rely upon the corporation to mount parades. In New York, Macy’s supplies the huge balloon animals and figures such as Buzz Lightyear that no ordinary person could produce. As a young person watching from the sidelines it must seem beyond comprehension. It is even beyond my comprehension. Looking at TV in our living room it seems beyond anything I could feel a part of.
Have we become just voyeurs of our own society? Can we identify with the immensity and complexity of it all? Can we say, “I created that?” I say no. We can only ooh and ah and live vicariously through what a corporation can conger up for our amazement. In a way all this stimulation and glitz is a lot like the old Roman arena where the masses were thrilled by gladiators who fought the lions. Spectators in the arena were mesmerized. For a short time they were distracted from their lowly role in a society run by rulers gradually draining the riches gained by making war on their neighbors.
Jaded spectators want ever more excitement as they watch chainsaw films or click onto porn sites that abound on the internet. Just yesterday I heard some expert on TV say that our population may decrease if humans settle for sex with themselves while watching porno movies. What a dismal thought.
Why are so many of us satisfied with the high powered parades without our own creative input? Have we signed away our individual choice to be involved? Are we content to forego our intellect and energy for the stimulation of TV and smart phone entertainment? Are we becoming a society satisfied to watch the Wall Street protesters or the Tea Party activists from our easy chairs in the living room but not choosing to becoming individually involved?
You can answer that yourself. It is your choice, unless you have given up your right to be involved in the world you inhabit. Yes, I know, no one of us can change the world on our own but each one of us can do our individual bit. Who knows what is ahead for the world in economic crisis? Perhaps each one of us will at last look up from our techie gadgets and relate to one another in real time and enjoy the product of our own talent and creativity in order to lead a more meaningful life. I’m trying that myself these days.
Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-935-8663