“Big” is oh such a relative and imprecise little word. Sitting here retired and reflective in the very middle of the American Midwest, my keypad has a kind of eagle-eye view on how this word is currently in play in fall 2011. Much too over-used, the word needs to be understood in practice, not simply in principle. Now for those of you too busy with life to fret about lexicon, let us pause here to re-consider this ubiquitous adjective:
* Big obviously describes most everything coming out of Hollywood. Be it for the large screen or the small. In addition to our recent summer splurge of cinematic biggies, the fall television schedule is bulging with big offerings from Steven Spielberg’s “Terra Nova” to Simon Cowell’s “X Factor.” They’ve spent millions on these series, and just to prove it they’re charging $400,000 + for 30 second commercials. [One reels at the thought of the number of roads and bridges these dollars could be used for]. But what’s really big about these productions is the question whether or not an over-sated public really wants more and more bigness. The producers are gambling on the fact that, as with all addicts, Americans need bigger and bigger doses of big to still get a jolt
* Big also describes how big numbers of these stories call for a big dose of gay & lesbian roles. Having come off two centuries of up-tight homophobia in our fair land, the entertainment world has opted for at least one gay or lesbian character in virtually every narrative. It’s the latest screen requirement along with at least one urinal scene, several fireballs, and any number of car chases [the big cost in injured stunt people is, well, a necessary write-off]. Again the question is do more gay and lesbian roles help illuminate or irritate straight audiences. The producers are counting on at least a tie
* Even bigger may be the epic decision by the US Postal Service to break a 200 year tradition that only the deceased can appear on stamps. You know, the usual gang like Washington, Lincoln, Einstein, and Elvis. Just last month the Postmaster invited Americans to submit their choice from among the living. What makes this so big is that the winning faces will appear on a gazillon snail-mail items for years to come. One trembles to report that thus far Lady GaGa is in the lead
Walking on this autumnal Midwest morning, I was thinking these big thoughts. Then there it was…! Perhaps the biggest of bigs I shall see this entire day. Two young mothers strolling their infants. They meet…they smile…they exchange glares at their little bundles… they move on. Leaving this male member of the species knowing just how chillingly big a competitive maternal glare can feel.
Sorta puts the rest of the my day in perspective.
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