Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu really know how to get you to watch what they want you to watch. The other night Paul and I flipped on the TV and put Hulu on. Their show-du-jour was something called the D’Amelio‘s. Instead of just seeing a still picture advertising the show, it started playing. We ended up watching two full episodes.
Please know how embarrassed I am to tell you that. It is a “reality” show. It’s the story of a family - mom, dad, older sister, and younger daughter - who all moved from Connecticut to LA. The youngest child, Charli, is an “influencer.” She posted some tik toks of herself dancing, and the public went crazy, and she became famous. And now she’s trying to parlay that 15 minutes of fame into wealth and a career.
There’s a part of me that wants to go on a rant just like many people are doing these days, asking questions like “Why are people famous for being famous, not because of what they can do?” An actor or actress is famous because of their acting ability, a musician because of their singing, playing, or composing. But people like the Kardashians don't make a lot of sense to me.
However it seems unfair to come down so hard on these people. The American dream is, in large part, based on Horatio Alger’s rags-to-riches stories. It’s simply that the vehicle to riches has changed from hard manual labor to social media. The young people have merely adapted.
On the surface, this show is a piece of overdramatized fluff, but one part caught my attention. The move to California was made to give Charli, the younger sibling, the chance to “make it“ in Hollywood, but it also meant that the less-talented, older daughter, Dixie, came with them. It was painful to watch her struggle for purchase in the harsh landscape of Hollywood. It didn’t help that people seemed to hate and comment on everything she did. But her sister never once (in both episodes I saw) lost her empathy or support for her sister.
I can’t help but think what if we supported each other like that? A friend sent me a video of her daughter learning to walk. Little Faye fills the screen with her hesitant, wobbly, little steps, and you hear Mama behind the camera saying, “Step, Step.“ Then as the baby lands on her bottom you hear both mama and baby clapping and saying “YAY!“ What if we did not lose that innocent cheering for one another instead of waiting for the complete stroll across the floor? What if we cheered and were happy for those initial, albeit shaky, attempts?
It reminds me of a word I heard: ubuntu - I am because we are. In Zimbabwe the Xhosa culture lives by this concept. A great example was given. A basket of fruit was placed on the finish line, and it was announced that the first child to reach the basket could have all the fruit. They stood up, held hands and ran as a group. When asked why, they replied, “How can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?“
I am because we are. Step, Step - YAY!