Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sounding the Barbaric Yawp: Publicized or Privatized?

Robin Williams said it best in "Dead Poet's Society" when he quoted Walt Whitman to his class -- sometimes we just need to sound our barbaric yawps, and it often feels really good to do it over the roofs of the world.

My own barbaric yawps have been known to sound like a wide variety of things: delirious, deep-bellied laughter, principal's-office-sobs, screams, shouts, top-of-the-lungs singing, and even silence. (And if you know me, the last one is the most unbelievable. But for real. It's happened.)

Lately, quite a few public figures have gone on their own special rants and have been publicly sounding their barbaric yawps.

Unless I'm missing something before this instance, Representative Joe Wilson (South Carolina - Rep.) kicked off The Public Barbaric Yawping by screaming "You lie!" to President Obama during a speech about Obama's infamously controversial healthcare plan.

Acclaimed tennis player Serena Williams soon followed suit with her less than ladylike suggestion of what the referee who called her foul could do with the tennis ball during the U.S. Open.

And most recently, Kanye West gave America yet another sequel to what seems to be a bad habit of Public Barbaric Yawping when he stole Taylor Swift's microphone (and moment, and ability to speak) after she won a VMA, letting the audience know his opinion that Beyonce' should have been awarded instead.

President Obama didn't realize he was publicly yawping when he spoke his mind "off the record" to a reporter about Kanye's actions, but it turned all too public, thanks to an errant (?) tweet by a CNBC reporter (whom I now feel pretty sorry for).

Beyonce' Knowles followed up Kanye's rant with a LOVELY public (but not so barbaric) yawp when she gave Taylor Swift her much-deserved moment to shine. (As if we could possible love Beyonce' more these days!)

There've been plenty of other Public Yawps: Tom Cruise's not-soon-to-be-forgotten couch dance on Oprah's show about Scientology, post-partum, and who knows what else; Mel Gibson's untimely drunken rant on the Jewish community while being pulled over for a DUI... and the list could go on.

You should know as you read this that I'm all about a barbaric yawp. Truth be told, sometimes it's the only thing that saves my redhead from insanity. And Lord knows that when I'm feeling less than sane, I have a LOT to yawp about. And it's often quite barbaric.

My question is: Is public yawping ok?

While I'm embarrassed to admit I have definitely done it, my opinion is no. Public ranting is NOT ok. I look at it much like PDA (public displays of affection): keep that private. Show the world your best, because you have plenty of time to be overly detailed when you're alone.

So why are so many public figures these past few weeks ranting...and doing it in front of cameras, audiences filled with dignitaries, and in an age where everything is instantly YouTubed, Tweeted, Facebooked and texted? Is it a full moon? Or have we simply lost our value for privacy?

I know my opinion's not the only one, so I welcome yours, too. Is public ranting ok? Should we -- public figures and peons alike -- feel free to say whatever, whenever, to whomever?

I'd love to know what you think.

1 comment:

  1. good question! let me just say that dead poet's society is a top five all time favorite movie of mine!


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