This week’s title is reflective of the careful attention I pay to never overpromising. Also, clickbait. Turns out there is a whole science to creating headlines that make people click (overpromise). Here you are reading the piece, so whose fault is it anyway?
I like to watch TV stretched out on the sofa with my laptop in front of me. I’m not proud of this. I realize I’m just doing two things poorly, but it’s fun in a highly consumable sort of way.
This is how I found myself watching Nanette
, the Netflix special featuring Hannah Gadsby. To call this a comedy show does a disservice to the performance. It’s art, story, searing truth. Somehow, she emptied the contents of my heart, too.
But, I had to watch it a second time, sans laptop, to get all that. Several friends texted about the special. Had I seen it? Wasn’t it incredible? I had. At least, I was in the same room while it was playing. I suspected I hadn’t absorbed it properly, so I watched it again with my undivided attention.
Hannah Gadsby elevated the genre with this performance. She is a seasoned comedienne and excellent thinker who used the craft to entertain, teach, and lay her life bare. She simultaneously uses the technique of tension, while explaining it and weaving it into her larger life story.
Best of all, Ms. Gadsby gives no more fucks. She leaves you spent and full. She gives herself permission to do and say things her way. Her way is clearly better.
How did all that get by me on the first go-round?
I wasn’t paying attention. One, simple distraction gutted her performance.
The way to extract beauty and truth in the world is to give something your full attention. I don’t want this to turn into a tirade against phones or screens because there are a million ways we numb ourselves to the existence of others. Hell, from our own existence.
It’s counter-intuitive, but the finer the quality, the more depth and richness something holds, the greater the demand is on us to participate in its appreciation. It’s incumbent on us to see, which takes time and focus.
We behave as though a good thing has to be so excellent that it wins us over. That it’s the worlds job to cut through our attention deficit.
That’s not how good things work. The quality of our observation is the tool needed to appreciate the best the world has to offer.
Maybe, you are skimming this now and my brilliance isn’t evident?
It’s possible I’m not all that great, but if you are reading this scrolling in the bathroom while flipping back and forth to Instagram, that might be on you.