Declaring Your Independence

I’m not a patriotic guy in the same way I’m not a religious guy and for the exact same reason I hated day camp.  I truly despise mandated group activities.

You will never find me on a cruise or part of a tour group.  And even as a member of several unions, a political party and any number of biological and chosen families, I like to leave my options open.

This makes perfect sense to me

This is one reason I love living in Los Angeles.  You bring your car, you get to leave whenever you like.  My $7 gallon of gas, my choice.

This includes weddings.  Especially destination weddings.  On a remote island.

Anywhere.

I do send good gifts though

I also have a raging biological aversion to group think.  This might seem contradictory to being a lifelong Democrat or member of the Writers Guild.  But really, it’s not. 

Both groups vocally and often rudely scream their disagreements loudly, publically and privately to the point of self-sabotage.  And we’re seldom happy with the nuances of any group decision we reach to move forward, if we ever truly do.

Anyone want to join my book club?

We’d likely win our battles a lot more quickly and less bloodied but what difference would that make?   We wouldn’t be us.  Who we are and what we stand for is all we have.

This does not mean I am against compromise or sometimes doing what I don’t want to do because it’s the right thing to do or because I care about another person.  

See: Destination Wedding

That’s the easy counter attack so don’t get cute, even intellectually.

Because when compromise is your default position, or you fear for your position or your life when you dare to speak your mind against authority figures holding you hostage in a group situation, you’re nothing but a ________________.

Feel free to fill in the blank this Fourth of July week.

Ahem.

‘Merica!

The last two episodes of Stranger Things Season 4 dropped on Friday and I along with many millions of others made it the most watched program in the history of Netflix.  

SEVEN BILLION plus minutes of the show were viewed this past week, breaking all Nielsen ratings for a streaming show.   It also became the most watched series in Netflix’s history with 930 million total hours viewed worldwide.

Admittedly, you and I don’t truly understand ratings anymore, or so much else, but suffice it to say – that’s A LOT. 

Sure is.

Barack Obama has the most followed account on Twitter and he’s only got 131.4 million followers.  Though if you think that indicates anything encouraging about us, just know #2 is Justin Bieber (114.4 mil), #3 is Katy Perry (108.9 mil) and #4 is Rihanna (106.2 mil). 

The latter three likely tell us a lot more about who we really are.

But so does Stranger Things.

NO SPOILERS HERE but one reason the series is so popular is its core characters have an absolute and undying dedication to fight true evil at all costs. 

They might be a gang of unpopular, marginalized young misfits who argue amongst themselves but they’re willing to risk their lives to save their town, and in turn the world.

Plus a lot of bad 80s clothes.

They might secretly crave popularity but what they know better than the majority of their viewers is that it too often comes at a lethal cost. 

And lethal doesn’t necessarily mean their own death.  It means the loss of every good thing they’ve seen or has happened to them because they decided to be corrupted by power, or play it safe and hide behind it, for some petty personal gain.

That and A LOT of monsters, special effects and sappy, nostalgic storytelling also helps.

But, well, dollops of sappy, nostalgic cheesiness is never a bad thing in storytelling. 

We see you Will Byers

Your mind, and everyone else’s, only gets reduced to nothing when it becomes a full course meal.

Once that happens, you’ve truly not you. 

Not to mention what it does to the rest of us when that new majority of you(s) you’ve created takes hold.

So — Happy INDEPENDENCE Day!

If you know what I mean.

Kate Bush – “Running Up That Hill”

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