It’s fairly rare that a few tears can capture America’s attention. Yet, somehow, it has happened twice in week. The first example was Hillary’s much heralded eye-watering ahead of the New Hampshire primary. The second occurred at a Terrell Owens press conference following the Dallas Cowboys lackluster defeat at the hands of the New York Giants in the NFC playoffs.
The appearance of tears often brings up questions or concerns about those from whose eyes the saline emanates, and these moments are no different. In the case of Hillary, we wonder: Were the tears real? Is it OK for a politician to cry? Do we hold different expectations about a female presidential candidate. Did she simply, at that precise moment, realize once and for all “what is is.”
In the case of Owens, we wonder: Is he crazy? Is he nuts? How much were the shades?
Ultimately, the more important questions are about us. Can we open ourselves up to a little emotion? Do we feel more or less connected to the crier? In two cases mentioned here, it is difficult for me to experience any self-reflective clarity because I was, coincidentally, crying myself during the realtime broadcasts of the two events. Both times it was (as usual) because of a recurring and traumatic flashback to the moment, in ninth grade, when my mom would not let me go to Journey at the Greek Theater, giving me no reason other than, “It’s just not necessary.”
So I’ll leave it to you to analyze…
Will either of these tearful moments stand the test of time? There have certainly been several tears that forever changed us all. I don’t think there’s a person in my cohort who ever again tossed an open sack of garbage out the car window after seeing this 1971 public service commercial.
Months following the release of this commercial, littering went down. Media stereotype levels remained pretty static. And for whatever reason, my mom didn’t think it was necessary to buy me a canoe.