Mindfulness and living our lives from a place of conscious awareness are more than trendy statements or catchy phrases pressed onto our yoga bags. They’re real and choosing not to think so has consequences for those in the public eye. I can get away with making a wisecrack at a politician, public figure, or celebrity. No one would think twice. It’s something we see day in and day out on various social media platforms; however different rules apply to those same politicians, public figures, and celebrities. They can’t say what they want. Free speech does not offer them that warm, welcoming embrace. Their power, presence, influence, money, and liability prevent such deep end of the ocean diving. The risk factors are high making the consequences of mindlessness far greater. Roseanne is a good example of this.
The once rather comedic comedian-actress stepped over the divide and is facing a rather slippery slope where stabilization seems still somewhere in distance. She made the mistake of tweeting a jab about a former top aide to Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and it cost her (and her colleagues) a show that had made a hit comeback. Makes me ask the question, is our personal opinion about others worth risking our livelihood, or is it that we feel outside the realm of consequences, so we allow the impulse of ego to guide us? I don’t understand, yet there is no possible way that Roseanne thought her tweet would have caused the cancellation of a show that was making millions, but it did. Cause and effect are real, people, and it doesn’t matter who you are that boomerang is coming back in some shape, form, or fashion, which is why we need to be mindful of what we’re throwing.
It’s quite the sad situation really, and I’m not completely sure how I feel about the entire matter. I mean, how many times have we made a benign comment about someone’s looks, fashion, behavior, what have you, and without consequence? Criticism and judgment seem a fabric in American culture. It isn’t right. It isn’t enlightened. It isn’t an indication of being an evolved person. Yet it is what it is. Or not. Roseanne happened to fall into the punishment of the “or not” side of things, a side of which many people of color are all too familiar.
Now what? So, there’s a spinoff show swirling in, something that allows for the Roseanne cast—sans Roseanne—to remain employed. Who knows what will become of it, especially with the lingering energy of a viral tweet still wafting in the air with an aroma of racism and just downright nastiness that oozes bully while boasting success. Somehow, I can hear Roseanne’s laugh. It’s familiarity taking me back to a time when I used to watch the original show. But what about us? What now for us beyond some TV show? Do we turn toward the Buddhist precept of do no harm, or the Eightfold Path of Right Speech, or do we laugh this off while shaking our heads and eventually moving on to the fact that Beyoncé and Jay-Z just dropped a new collaboration? [Insert quizzical look here.]
I’m all for learning from the mistakes of others. I don’t need to make them myself. In this case, Roseanne was the Guinea Pig who ran at excited speed into the spotless sliding door landing smack on her butt where she sits still in recovery. I can only hope that when I am walking in a similar direction that I pause and remember to slide open the door.