Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We Change the World With Our Words

Art changes us.  Whether that art is in the form of a painting, a sculpture, on film, or the written word, it changes who we are, how we think of ourselves,  and how we think about the world around us.   Art comes in many forms in addition to the ones we most accept as art.  It's a novel. It's a film. A play. A performance. Sometimes even a television show.

I have always had an affinity for a well written television show.  When the words are genuine, the acting is real, and the finished piece of film captures the attention of millions and has the power to influence our world.   Sometimes the actors and writers win awards, advancing their careers, or expanding their audience, but we can never really know how a particular scene, episode, or even word changed someone's life.

In 1987 there was a hit television show called Cagney and Lacey, starring two tough female detectives.  It was a typical cop show of the time, but delved a bit more into the character's lives from time to time. One such time, the show decided to explore the drinking problem of Christine Cagney, played by Sharon Gless. The episodes and the performance won Gless an Emmy.  I wonder how many people also saw themselves and got sober after that.  I did.  I went to my first AA meeting not long after and I believe that saved my life.

Recently, the tv show, Glee, tackled a topic all too familiar these days.  Gay teenagers committing suicide because of bullying.  Unfortunately this is also familiar territory for me.  I was seventeen and also coming to terms with being gay when I tried to kill myself.  Fortunately, I did not succeed.  I kept quiet about this for most of my adult life until the past year with the rash of suicide attempts in the news.  I am proof that it does get better.  You've got to hang in there and keep going, but it does get better.

I watched the Glee episode and while it was very well written and acted, it made me angry.  It made me angry at the bullies people have to face everyday.  Not just as teenagers, but even as adults.  Bullies are as prevalent in the workplace and political arena as they are on the playground and it's never okay.

While the episode of Glee was difficult to watch, I applaud them for doing it.  If that popular television show can save one life, it's done it's job.

Recently I was asked why I write.  I write because I enjoy it, but I also hope that in some small way I can change the world, or at least make someone's day or life better because I had an idea and put the words on paper.


  1. Do you ever watch Southland? It's a cop show. Kind of dark. They also ran a show on gay teen suicide and bullying. Powerful stuff. The teen asks this big, macho cop Cooper if being gay didn't make his life miserable. Cooper answered, "I've got a lot of problems, kid. Being gay isn't one of them." Yeah, but for that kid, bullies were a problem. A big problem.

    I was happy with the way things turned out on Glee. Southland isn't such a gleeful show.

  2. I heard they also did a great episode. I need to watch Southland. I started out watching the first season but lost track somewhere along the way.