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.



R. said...

What's government access? Is that where you get to watch your elected officials dig bloody cocaine boogers out of their nose hairs while sitting in public session?

Naughti Biscotti said...

Wow!!! You are onto something here. The whole facebook ice breaker has me thinking. I made "friends" with more people than I should have. The more friends I have, the less I can share on my page. "Can't say anything about work cos that guy will tell my boss, can't say anything about my Mom cos my Aunt will tell her, can't say anything about eating a shitload of chocolate cos that guy from highschool will think I'm fat".

I've gotten tired of all the boring icebreakers, exactly as you described. Do people even really read those "ten things about me" or do they immediately go on to creating their own (that no one else will read)?

I've refuse to reveal the boring stuff and I'm tired of reading the boring stuff. So, I started posting comments as shocking, funny or different as I possibly could. Then I worried that their friends would think ill of them for having such a weird friend.

Blogging, even if no one reads, is a better outlet for honesty. My next post: "Hiding life in an underwear drawer."

Time said...

R. Government access is cable access for government agencies. You can watch board meetings until you puke.


You have begun to solve the koan, "If a person writes a blog in a forest and no one is there to read it, does it make a point?" :) I look forward to your next

BTW, we really shouldn't care what other people think, but years of conditioning and fear have made it unavoidable. I'm like you and wish we could just always be honest. But we both have to make a living and appearances do matter to employers. Sigh.

JP/deb said...

If popularity relies on owning a copy of Down by the Bay, the David Hasslehoff Story I would rather be living on a mountainside with goats as my only friends.