If Life is Ugly, Tell a Lie

Did you know that the Red Hot Chili Peppers band played UNPLUGGED at the super bowl?  There are pictures of the bass player and no cord on his bass.  The previous day he was playing in a club or something, and the exact same bass is plugged in, so it’s not because he has a wireless transmitter or anything.  So the half-time show was just watching the artists perform while listening to a track from their CD.  Sounded great, but it was fake.

I guess it would be problematic for them to set up a perfectly sound-checked set in such a short time, when it’s so much easier to just pop a disc in.  I’ve gotten used to artists lip-synching in big events.  Beyonce lip-synched during the presidential inauguration, didn’t she?  The reason she gave was that she hadn’t had time to properly rehearse and she wanted it to be perfect.  Same thing with the superbowl: they wanted it to be perfect, and didn’t want to take a risk that they might make a mistake with millions of people watching.  And it happened before the Olympics in China, too.  The helicopter approach with the fireworks in the shape of foot-steps?  Fake.  Digital animation over real footage.  They said it was too windy and didn’t want to mess up.

I guess people would just prefer a nice fake to a flawed reality.  I used to play bass for a church of about 200 people.  I loved being in the Praise Team.  I worked very, very hard at being a good bass player, not making mistakes, keeping the tempo, putting in fills & walking lines at just the right spots.  Then one day a new guy showed up to lead the music.  He had a keyboard with a thousand buttons on it and as we started to rehearse, I noticed that I was playing two notes at the same time; one note was coming out of my amp, and a completely different one from the PA speakers.  I had been replaced by an electronic bass line.  It was really good, with its snappy notes and computer-generated precision.  I stood there feeling dumb for a minute, then just quietly put down the guitar & walked off the stage, and never returned.  No one seemed to care that the bass line was fake; it sounded good, didn’t it?

Now I can’t trust anybody.  Magazine covers are fake.  Music performances are fake.  I don’t even think American Idol is real any more.  I have to wonder how much editing went into it because I can’t believe what came out of my TV is the same as what came out of that mouth.  And remember Tron?  It was a silly movie, but they were able to animate a character, using pictures of him from the first Tron movie years ago, so on the screen you can see the same actor, the fake young version and the real old version, talking to each other.  I used to trust video’s because they were much harder to Photoshop, but apparently they can be processed too.

I’d just like to go on record that I appreciate the real thing.  When I go to a concert, I want to get close to the front so I can hear the drums and guitars themselves, NOT the PA systems.  When I go to church, I don’t want a praise team singing along with a CD – I love live music.  REAL, live music.  I LIKE hearing the little mistakes, the fingers sliding along the strings, the imperfect tempo or the sound of the drummer’s sticks accidentally hitting each other.  It’s human.  It’s authentic.

I’ll even say that I can’t stand fake boobs.  Yes, I’m a guy, I’m not supposed to be able to tell the difference, but it’s obvious to me, because they’re unnaturally round and disproportionate to the rest of things.  Remember what Mater said, the tow truck in the latest Cars movie?  He didn’t want that dent fixed because he got that dent with his best friend.  Well, my wife is my wife, she’s beautiful, she’s real, and even that scar where she had her lumpectomy is part of her, and I think she’s lovely just like she is.

So there you have it.  Life is real.  People are unique.  The differences we have from Barbie and Ken dolls are what make us beautiful rather than plastic.  It’s all over in Nature: trees and flowers are beautiful because they’re each different, and <GASP!> non-symmetrical! If you think that’s “ugly”, then just lie.  Take God’s perfect creation and Photoshop it, lip-synch it, animate it, and enjoy your plastic dream world.  As for me, I’ll live in the real world where people with flaws and who make mistakes are beautiful and perfect in their own, unique, wonderful, dazzling way.

Happy Valentines day, sweetheart!  You are the most beautiful, perfect person I have ever known, and I love everything about you!

-Mark

 

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