Masks, Mikes, Nay-Nays and The N-Word: The Great Cultural ‘Why Bother?’

While I do enjoy catching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, it became abundantly clear to me that the Broadway musical offerings this year—pretty much like last year and many years before that—skirt the slimmest pickings of possibilities. Shows based on movies, and even one about corn; insipid songwriting, pandering plotlines and lyrics; there were just too many cringe-worthy moments during the parade when the cast of a show would manage one of their supposed show stopping numbers dead-center in front of Macy’s. Sillier still, but a tradition that continues unabated, is how the singers performing these moments, still sport headset mikes, as if they are doing anything but lip-syncing. Why do the producers of the parade go through the bother when a.) nobody cares if performers at these types of outings are singing live or not b.) we all know they are not.

A scant few days before the parade I had another ‘why bother’ moment while watching that Darkside of Comedy show. This particular episode was centered around Richard Pryor, with lots of the show exploring Pryor’s use of the dreaded N WORD. Here again was another of those moments where I felt, as I always feel when I hear someone say, “the N WORD,” that the use of the term keeps us from not very much at all. As if, when you hear someone say. “the N WORD? you don’t instantly see in your mind’s eye the actual word they are trying to avoid.

Again, why bother?

Another why bother that bothers me in the pixilated spots or complete black bands that cover will cover woman’s areola and/or nipple or the blur we used to get (we don’t get it much anymore although I don’t now when the rule changed) over the crack in someone’s ass during a TV broadcast. As if we have no idea what’s under those darker spots, as if we aren’t already seeing so much breast or butt real estate to begin with that the smidgen of area a nipple occupies or even the dent at the top of a booty, needs to be obscured.

Again, what are we being kept from and why bother?

The last why bother goes back to the deep dark days of COVID. There were then, as there are now, a spate of commercials championing online gambling. At the time, the busty female blackjack dealers and roulette wheel spinners shown in the commercial wore…masks! And these were online casinos that were being advertised.

All this virtue signaling (if that’s what it is) or just kowtowing (if that’s what it is) or trying to keep some sort of illusion alive (if that’s what it is) seems like, once again, somebody somewhere is feeling the need to coddle the general public, spoon feed us all the right way to act and think, and surely keep us from the more nuanced sides of life.

All this why bother really bothers me. How about you?

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