Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Getting to know you

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.
Getting to know you, putting it my way,
But nicely, You are precisely,
My cup of tea.
--Oscar Hammerstein, The King and I

Ever notice how many meetings, parties or retreats include "ice breakers" so that people can get to know you and feel more comfortable. In theory people will be more willing to talk to you if they know the answer to burning questions like, "if you could be any animal, what animal would that be," or "if you were stuck on a deserted island with only three books, what books would those be."

Oh, every one's fine as long as your inner animal is a puppy and your three books are the Bible, Miss Manners Book of Ettequette and Down by the Bay, the David Hasslehoff Story, but suggest anything out of the ordinary like a Horned African Viper as the animal you most admire and the Unibomber's Manifesto as one of your books and people start giving you some distance. just dawned on me that Facebook is one big giant annoying ice breaker. But I digress.

My experience has taught me that the more people really know about you, the less they wish they knew. This is counter intuitive to what most people seem to believe. Because it never ceases to amaze me what people will share with strangers (case in point, Facebook and Twitter). Perhaps it is this lemming like drive to be famous by sharing.

Ironically, we know everything about famous people and they'd just as soon we didn't know anything about them. I have been watching the E network while I workout lately because the cheap ass club owners switched cable providers and I lost any channel worth watching. It's a choice between watching the E and watching government access and I'm not going there on a bet.

The E network sole reason for existing is to dish dirt on poor (rich) celebrities and celebrity wannabees. It is scab picking journalism at its worst. Yesterday I watched a program about the 20 best and worst Hollywood plastic surgeries. When you are on an elliptical machine or a treadmill, you are pretty much a captive audience.

Anyway, the show consisted of several renowned plastic surgeons watching clips of celebrities who had obviously undergone lots of alterations and critiquing the results. I'm telling you, that Kenny Rogers should have dropped in to see what condition his condition was in before going under the knife. Apparently he had liposuction and a tummy tuck because the press was giving him a bad time for having a middle aged belly. That helped him drop 25 pounds. He apparently was so pleased he went in for a face lift. He should have known when to hold and known when to fold. Now it looks like an alien slipped into his skin.

Don't get me started on Priscilla Presley, either.

So regardless of the hypocritical nature of me criticizing people who create or watch such shows, I have to wonder now why we are fascinated with knowing every minute dirty little detail about people. Nobody wants to know how great someone is. They just want to know about their botched plastic surgeries, addictions and sexual quirks. Meow.

And what is it about humans that makes them want to be understood by others so they expose everything? The Internet has really made this easy for millions of people. I noted that the nut job who opened fire in an aerobics class a couple of weeks ago talked all about doing it on his blog. But it proves my point about blogging, there are so many blogs out there, that people have just stopped trying to read other people's blogs and focused on writing their own. And their most loyal readers are themselves.

Who knows, with all of this self-retrospection going on, maybe people will actually discover something about themselves and stop looking for dirt in other people's lives.