Tonight, it was during a television show that I found some time for reflection. Tim Allen’s comic touch on his TV series, Last Man Standing, is very engaging. While we generally are spending time after work with our church family, working on chores at home, and writing (my wife and I both have blogs), this was a moment to enjoy a little quiet time.
Over the last decade, television in the United States has really turned me off, but for a couple of shows that both my wife and I like to watch together. Television exaggerates stereotypes, current events, criminal behavior, and sexuality to capture viewers. Yet with Last Man Standing, I think it is great that this show can portray the timeless interplay of parents and children – who are not children but grown into fledgling adults. And depicts topics with a touch of humor that also makes a point. In tonight’s episode, a scene where black neighbors and Tim’s character and wife meet for a barbecue, the wife constantly is making references to “show how ‘colorblind’ she is”. The husband, Tim’s character, pokes fun at how she sounds, and then makes a comment that the wife says “sounds racist”.
“I’m not racist. I’m a humanist. I hate everyone equally.”
Families are depicted as we actually are – sometimes we do sound ignorant, or a little too blunt towards each other, and at other times say things that are “politically incorrect”. In 2017, people in the United States have split into opposing camps, those who yearn for ‘how it used to be’ and those who want everyone to conform to the “new normal”. Where has humor, civility, disagreement, and free expression gone?
I look back fondly to my military service. I understood the military as the conversion of the willing into a homogeneous offensive or defensive unit. It was also my conversion to educated citizen of the world. Each culture has advantages and disadvantages, with different ideas, customs and history. As a result of a military uniform, I was able to see the benefits of living in America come into sharper focus despite the nation’s ills.
That is why I am becoming fond of family comedy of the sort that Tim Allen’s show represents. It allows a little relief from contemplating all the challenges around the globe. I am a different sort of humanist. I love people individually. I am learning to have an open mind toward the rest.