Inspection- Limiting the Imagination

by Ken Carman

 Having done some amazing things in my life, and attempted far mediocre to poor things… or at least with fair results, I have come to the conclusion we are often limited merely by our lack of imagination. And “limited” by our insistence that we follow dogma around like Fido would follow around the rear of some imaginary bitch’s butt.
 That last paragraph may be a great example. Some would miss the comparison I just used because they are offended by the “b” word, even though it’s truly non-offensive and very appropriate in that context… as in that’s the term we use for a lady dog, imaginary, or not. Beyond that: some simply can’t take the leap I offered via comparison.
 Such are some of the conversations I have had with my cousin Joyce over the years, and one of her daughters, from time to time, that also mirror conversations I have had have politically, religiously and socially with others. Some theists can’t see a reality without God, and often a very specific “God,” or without Hell, or Satan, and non-theists sometimes can’t imagine one with. IRS/Obama critics can’t get beyond the IRS doing it’s damn job: making sure, both left and right, qualify for tax free status under new rules. They buy into this “only one side was targeted” meme, which with the slightest, honest, investigation is provably false. Others can’t see just how hinky it might be perceived when tax rules are changed just before an election. Planned Parenthood critics can’t get beyond the fact that, no matter how gorfed out they may be by abortion, it’s legal, transporting human parts is a business that one gets paid for, no matter what the source.
 Indeed a Facebook friend posted a study that claims the vids were not edited except for bathroom breaks and non-subject matter related material. This brings up many questions, like how does one scientifically assess such? I’ve done a hell of a lot of sound editing, unless there are unfairly inserted quips, there are few, “OK, we’re stopping now to go to the bathroom,” edit points, rarely would any editor leave those in, and no one usually declares, “Non-related material coming up!” …and it would be damn suspicious if one did any of that.
 So how do we know their claims are true? Word: we don’t. So let’s just say the study’s claims are suspect.
 But the real lack of imagination here, on one side, really goes to a dogmatic insistence that the whole process is wrong, evil, and therefore people laughing, joking and getting paid while doing it is equal to a Nazi laughing at Jews while he leads them to the oven. If that’s the way you view it, getting beyond that perception is damn near impossible. And, to be fair, that Nazi getting beyond his dogmatic, cruel, blindness to the nature of his own actions would be “a lack of imagination.” Kind of like the cruel slave master who sees his slaves as livestock.
 Perhaps, no matter what the issue, there’s more than enough “lack of imagination” to go around?
 As to my conversation with my cousin, Joyce, she asked about a meme that showed Mongo on his bull next to a Game of Thrones character, with Mongo saying, “Mongo just a pawn in the Game of Thrones.” She just didn’t get what made it funny. I did.
 Could it be, while I’m much more the Brooks fan, yet not all that familiar with Game, maybe she’s the other way? Or she’s just not a fan of Mel’s “sophomoric” humor? Perhaps. But we have been here many times before in our lifetime interactions, and sometimes overreactions. And I have been here with one of her daughters before too, at least once. I remember a conversation on FaceCrack once where we were talking about word, and phrase, usage. Her daughter started saying, “Well, if ‘A’ is compared to ‘B…'” To which I responded, “It’s not some formula, May.”
 Would that have been her limitation, or mine? Both?
 My cousin Joyce has more problems with obscene, crass, humor than I do, so sometimes she misses the point. And, like most of us, if it’s not her topic, like Studebaker isn’t “her topic,” or maybe even the automotive industry in general, she might not appreciate some of my more “out there” humor based the car industry… like in my book, Autocide. But I do agree with her, sometimes, Chief Running Joke runs too far, and too long, like when a character in Family Guy gets hurt and everything stops for more than a moment of pain. Even I have been known to yell at the TV, “OK, I get it, move on.”
 Having been an entertainer who has found it handy to rely on Chief Running Joke, occasionally, I suspect I am far more tolerant of the Chief than she is.
 I think there are things we see, we perceive, and those we can’t… yet. Putting ourselves into the perspectives of others is a quite hard, and an important, lifelong, task. If we do it right, to paraphrase David Wilcox in one of his monologues, about working out a relationship, “It’s great work, if you can get it.”
 I have made a living, barely, off my own imagination. Not many can say that. But I never imagined having kids of my own, and late in life I see how that lack of imagination has limited me, and my perspective. We all have to make choices, and as one song I wrote said, “The greatest lessons I have learned are when I’ve slept in those beds I have made.”
 We can never completely live the perspective of the other. There are few Twilight Zone-like moments where we suddenly see the other perspective: living the brief last moments of a Jew headed to the ovens, or suddenly becoming a black who is about to be lynched, or even just stopped, searched and harassed because my color raises racist red flags.
 Complicating all this is that we each travel down our own unique, paths in life.
 I think when we don’t understand, don’t get, what others say, or do, sometimes that’s might be a sign we are unable to see beyond our own lack of imagination. These may be moments when there’s an opportunity for us to grow, to learn, to be better people than we are…
 Or not.

                                                    -30-
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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