Wednesday, April 30, 2014

In Medias Res... or I don't usually get my news from TMZ

In medias res is a Latin term that English majors bandy about to mean "in the middle of".  It's a term used to describe a story that begins in the middle of the action - in the middle of the story - so we know that we're missing something important that just came before.

I've actually used the term before in this blog. because I can be a pretentious English major at times.  ;)

Okay.  Different subject.

How many of you out there have said something stupid in an argument?  C'mon.. we all have.. raise your hands.  You know you've said stupid things in an argument.  Stupidly told your wife that, no, she didn't look good in that dress; or much more stupid things.  When we fight, when we are upset, we ALL say stupid things.  We are human.  We can be idiots.  All of us.  None of us is golden.  Or very few of us.

I'll admit the stupidity of the stupid things will vary.

But how many of us have had a fight with our significant other - or any significant other?  C'mon.. we all have at one time or another, even if the significant other is a sister.  Raise your hands.

How many of us would like that argument aired to any others?

Best way to upset my ex was to raise my voice.  Every time she'd ask whether I wanted the neighbors to hear.  Often at the moment, I didn't care, or didn't think that was I was saying was so offensive if someone else did hear.

But generally, most of us don't want our arguments - our dirty laundry - aired for others to hear.  First of all, if for no other reason, than it's not their business.  Second, because context is everything.  Trying afterwards to explain what set us off to a third party?  Hard enough, sometimes it seems, to explain it to the original party.

And I'm certain none of us want to find our arguments posted on TMZ for the world to hear.

What would it be like to wake up in the morning and learn that the President of the US has weighed in on your private argument with your significant other?  I can't imagine. I'd hope that in the heat of the moment I conducted myself with decorum, but the reality of the situation is that in the middle of a fight, I'm not sure how much decorum I have.  Sometimes we, as humans, argue about things irrationally.  We're upset by things we cannot explain, or cannot explain well, or also might have nothing to do, in the end, with what we're telling the other person we're upset about.  (This happened many times with the ex.. she'd explode about x, when she was really upset about z, and it took us awhile to figure out why she was really upset).

I heard an argument recently between two people where one half was doing just that.  Trying to pinpoint why the person was upset.  And the upset person was saying things that didn't make sense, that weren't clear.  And the other person was trying to clarify what it was about the situation that was upsetting.  And getting nowhere.

I heard the conversation in the middle of it.  After whatever offensive thing had been initially said - so I don't know exactly what sparked the fight.  I've been given some clue, but I don't know.  And I wasn't there, and I'm not in the middle of that relationship.


Now, let's look at an entirely different situation.  A man sleeps with a younger woman who is not his wife.  He showers gifts upon her, and gives her money.  The usual story.  The wife finds out about it.  The wife sues the girl.  The girl decides to air the dirty laundry.  On TMZ.  Sadly this happens more often than we might want.  All of it.  But it does.

Why are we as a society spending all of this energy on shit that isn't our business in the first place?  Why are we empowering someone who is unhappy in her situation - who has entered into a marriage that is not her own - and allowed her to manipulate us so that news on TMZ - I mean TMZ - is enough to rock the world.  TMZ aired an EDITED conversation.  EDITED.  *ahem* Let me state this again.  EDITED.  That started in the middle of the conversation, where "sorries" are already being given.  And a woman who is trying to "protect" herself is recording a conversation with her lover and trying to get him to repeat what he said, and to corner him into saying something stupid.  On tape.

If you listen to the edited version, and listen to the dance, it is just that - a dance - her trying to get him to say something, to try and figure out what he might have been saying, and him trying to explain himself, and saying more stupid things.  Sounds like most fights.


I will not defend what he said. (And a year from now when I re-read this blog entry, I can already see myself scratching my head trying to remember what this is about).  I don't know, frankly, what he said.  It's not my business.  Not my argument.  Not my relationship.  Not something I was asked my opinion about.

Why everyone else has felt the need and the pressure to be involved in what should have remained a private dispute is beyond me.  What makes me angry about this situation is the chain of events that decided the titillating details of a fight between two people needed to be exploited to make everyone so angry and mad.  That we, as a society, blew oxygen on this fire and made this situation such a spectacle.

The guy who said the stupid things might very well be an ass.  Probably is.  And maybe he deserves the condemnation of society for being an ass.  I won't dispute any of that, or be involved in that conversation.  Because that is not what we were given.  We were given a private argument and everyone rushed to judgment about something that was never our business in the first place.  In medias res.

I hope no-one who sits in judgment ever finds half of their fight on TMZ for others to judge.  I'm not sure any of us would fare that well.

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