Do I worry? I confess that I fret. I get in a hurry ... to worry ...
By Our Side

What is Real?

We have raised a generation on "reality" TV who believe that it somehow, actually represents reality. Some, young and old, have bought the notion that meanness, pettiness, ruthlessness, narcissism, lack of civility, and vindictiveness are norms for human communities to be emulated. At the same time, they have adopted the attitude that truthfulness is not subject to verification, that negative reports are the most likely to be accurate, and that fact-checking is a conspiracy against their cherished opinions.

That is the bad news.

The good news is that there is a large contingent of thoughtful young adults from the same generation who have a healthier way of thinking and have rejected the "reality" TV mentality. They ask a lot of questions, do not settle for simple slogans, read the fine print, dig deep, work to build cooperative relationships across ideological lines, and seek truth.

I take great courage and hope from them.

So, when I say, "We have raised a generation," I am not actually referring to the Millennials or any other chronologically defined generation. I mean that broad generation of citizens from 8-80 who have bought into one of the great families of fallacy of our times - which today, I am calling, "the reality TV syndrome."

Tomorrow, I will call it something else.



An Excerpt from:

Velveteen Rabbit


by Margery Williams
Illustrations by William Nicholson

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."