A Marriage of Opposites!

From Mike’s Mud Room on Discovery.com

Q: Many of your past arguments have touted logic when it comes to the expectations of your fans and the business you are in. Being famous, whatever the level you see yourself in, is held by a code of your own reasoning that should keep you clear headed and knowing who you are and where at all times.

I think it would keep a lot of big names out of the trouble they get into. Of course now it seems to be whatever happens is good as long as your name is in the papers. A stint in jail or rehab keeps your name in the papers and sets up a return bigger and better. No one thinks about Anna Nicole whose many missteps cost her the ultimate price. One where there is no comeback.

But this is not a world based on logic when it comes to the creative process. You’ve got to think outside the confines of what is “normal”. How else would a show about people who come home covered in the leavings of their labor is thought to strike such a cord with viewers. For me and mine it was “do better than the last generation” and that meant something in an office preferably with a title. But they are not always the most satisfying jobs upon closer inspection. Such jobs have their own “dirt” to deal with and the effect leaves a lot to be desired.

How do you balance imagination, the daydreaming aspect of the creative process of your business and the logic that dictates a “both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road” approach?


To me, the world often feels out of kilter. Lately, I’ve come to believe it’s because most of the people in it are out of balance.

We get this way because of labels, expectations, and self-fulfilling prophecies. Change becomes more and more difficult as we continue down whatever road we first chose to travel. (Funny how change is almost always good, but always resisted.)

Gayle, if I have a philosophy, it’s summed up in the title of your post. A Marriage of Opposites is precisely what people need to do in order to become better balanced. Call it what you will – Expanding your horizons, or getting out of your comfort zone – it’s a good thing to do, always. Alas, we are more drawn to “marriages” of convenience and similarity, which only reaffirm our existing notions of who we are and what it is we think we want. We become predictable, because the world wants us that way. Sadly, as I’ve suggested here before, predictability blows.

People are curious about me because I don’t appear to fit. Some find it intriguing. Many find it annoying. A “creative” type with an interest in business? A college educated guy with a penchant for manual labor? A “host” who calls himself a “guest?” What’s wrong with this person? Who is he, exactly?

(Mainly, I’m a lucky son of a gun. My parents taught public school. Everyone else in the family were farmers of fisherman. I got a taste of everything, and decided to keep on tasting. I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing. Trying, tasting, laughing, learning, and leaving. If you’re not willing to leave every now and then, you’ll never get anywhere.)

Everywhere, forces conspire to define us with labels. Big Media and Madison Avenue rush to help us understand the “order” of things, and “make sense of the world.” How? By defining all that surrounds us as quickly as possible. We forget sometimes, that we are being defined as well, and filed neatly away into the proper designation. Single, Married, White, Black, Straight, Gay, Bi-Curious, Democrat, Republican, Nazi, Baptist, Jew, Capricorn, blah, blah, blah…

Someone in another thread just asked me if I was an “actor” or a “performer.” I don’t begrudge the question, but notice the predictable way in which it was asked – Are you an actor OR a performer.

We tend to see all people as this OR that. Why do we do that?

Why are we put off when Jim Carey takes a serious role? When a politician switches parties? When a financial planner quits his lucrative job to dig ditches instead? When our kids date outside our race or religion? Why does it freak us out when people do the unexpected? (Why do networks cry for something new, but put out the same show with a different title over and over again?)

I think it’s because we’ve been trained to see people in a one dimensional way. I don’t think it’s because we are genuinely curious. I think it’s because we get very anxious when we can’t understand who someone is and what makes them tick.

Watch the coming election. Watch how quickly and brutally the candidates are attacked when they appear to contradict themselves or change a position. Like vultures, we wait for some perceived inconsistency in the world around us, and swoop in like some Great Corrector to set the record straight. Rarely do we reward what we claim to value. We sit in judgment of the world around us, but do little to challenge ourselves.

My Dad is currently in a play called “The Curious Savage.” Plato pleaded in The Republic for a “Philosopher-King.” Both are a Marriage of Opposites. They work, and should be aspired to.


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