Monday, November 9, 2009

Does The Truth Have a Chance?

Since last week’s post, I’ve been pre-occupied with the truth. I’ve been catching myself looking for it everywhere and noticing that somehow it has lost its clout. No one seems to be interested in it. I am also reminded of that great line from the movie, A Few Good Men, when the Jack Nicholson character says: “you can’t handle the truth”. It makes me wonder if we really can’t handle the truth. Or is it simply that the truth is not as interesting or shocking as the stuff we make up or is made up for us.

Last night I watched the CBS News (60 Minutes) interview of Andre Agassi by Katie Couric and I watched the truth try to make an appearance despite being shoved into drama, turned into gossip, and nailed by gotcha journalism. I didn’t expect this from 60 Minutes and especially when the guy they were interviewing had already confessed everything, but I am learning that there is little difference these days between any of the so-called news shows on TV. For those of you who missed the show, Agassi has written a new book (to be out today), an auto-biography called Open. In it he confesses to a lot of things including taking crystal meth, wearing a hair weave, and hating tennis. Mind you, Andre Agassi is a retired and respected tennis player who is married to another retired and famous tennis player and is an active philanthropist. Between the two of them, they live a very comfortable life. Writing this book is not going to make or break his lifestyle. With the camera up close, it was clear that his reason for writing this book was to be open and honest about himself and a step in his atonement for his mistakes of the past. He could have let it all be, no one would have known or cared about any of this. His image would have been untarnished and he would have remained a great tennis star. Instead, he chose to come clean, to speak the truth. To me, this was wonderfully refreshing, especially coming from the guy who made “image is everything” a famous line. Instead, Katie Couric kept on asking him things like how many times did he take crystal meth, for how long, how does he feel about what others are saying about him, etc. This was a moment where we could have found out more about what speaking his truth means for him, if he could go back in time, what would he change if anything, what are his hopes for his children, etc. I could think of a dozen questions that would have honored his speaking his truth and left us inspired or compassionate and curious towards people living lives so different than ours.

This interview got me thinking again about our lack of interest in the truth and our lack of patience and even tolerance for those who are being truthful. We would rather not believe them. As Katie Couric said, some of us might have thought that he was just being whiny or trying to sell his book. Any twisted, negative rationale is ok, but the truth. I hope I am wrong, and I hope that people can see and feel beyond what was demonstrated on TV and continues to be demonstrated 24/7. I hope that truth becomes fashionable again, because it is pretty potent, but if we keep on avoiding it we are just feeding into the illusion we are living in. I can’t imagine that this is what we choose. I hope that we can indeed handle the truth. I am certain that Mr. Agassi feels like a huge burden has been lifted. He doesn’t have to be anyone’s tennis star or fulfill anyone else’s dream. In fact, he has liberated himself from that pedestal. He is free to be himself if he chooses so. I wish him all the best.


Gabriela Abalo said...

I think it is not a matter of the truth becoming fashionable again, but the fact that our society is more interested on the drama than on what is really going on. That’s why the media concentrate too much on the negative instead of the positive – by sure the reporter doing the interview was trying to be dramatic, because for her (as for many others) it was more important to sell than to tell.

We can all handle the truth.. the question is: Do we really want to it?


Sherry Bakhtian said...

True Gabi, so true!