Easy targets make bad marksmen.
I spent more than a little time last night reliving my glory days as a soldier. As a soldier, I earned a badge for marksmanship in basic training. Later, at a range at Fort McPherson, Georgia in Atlanta, I’d earn a better badge for marksmanship. That time, I hit 39 of the 40 targets. Only hubris kept me from getting them all. In basic, at eighteen years old, I had hit 24 targets. Good God, I had improved!
The truth is I hadn’t improved at all; the course had changed. In basic, we were on a full range with pop-up targets at distances of up to 300 meters. At McPherson, we had paper targets on a shorter range, perhaps 25 meters. I could select the shots I wanted in the sequence I wanted and had no reason to account for anything else.
They were easier targets. I wasn’t a better shot.
I have always tried to relate my classes to what my students care about or, because I’m getting older and they’re staying the same age, what I thought they cared about that hasn’t been popular in ten years. They don’t even understand The Matrix references these days. It’s super frustrating for someone teaching philosophy not to be able to use that film! But they still know Miley Cyrus.
“Is Miley Cyrus a person or a product?” I ask. Some won’t understand the question, but they’re overpowered by those who do. It’s a question that gets some interesting answers, especially since the Miley the kids knew was the Miley who played Miley playing Hannah Montana. Who needs Neo and Morpheus?
“She was a person, but now she’s just . . . ” or “I used to like her when she was on the show, but then . . . “
Damn, kids? Y’all have no sense of loyalty? They expected real Miley to be fake Miley always. I suspect they listened to their parents, too. Whatever it is that causes us to build people up then tear them down, sign me up for wanting to know more about why it happens.
She’s an easy target. You can talk as much as you want about her, especially when you’re joining a chorus of echoes online, and nothing happens. Who is going to sanction your behavior that you respect? No, you can just keep it up because she’s a public figure. Because she changed. Because . . . you can.
Why am I asking about this? Because I’m having to open myself up to a public that is sometimes going to judge me. If I make mistakes, I’ll know it. I’m not being arrogant and thinking, even for a second, I’ll be Miley or Kim Kardashian famous, but even having an audience online of dozens of people can be exhausting.
Since I started this blog, I haven’t slept well. Since I would like to be able to write and explore things that interest me while producing high quality content, I need to be able to generate income. That means I need to invest in social media. Social media is addictive! I have had problems with addiction. Get my point?
But this is why this is work and not just a hobby.
I’ve been sharing my stories knowing not everyone who visits will like them or me. I’m categorizing them as “author” because that’s what I am on this blog. But, I need more stories which will require people being open and vulnerable with me. I’m sharing out of the spirit of reciprocity. Will they share with me? Not if they’re easy targets.
I think easy targets say more about us than them, though. You?
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