Category Archives: Television

Let’s Talk About Respect

Last Friday, I proposed four key ingredients we need to cultivate within ourselves if we want to work to reduce tensions in our society and bring about a more peaceful and loving world. They are: respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness. When combined, these four values become a powerful force for good.

Today, I focus upon the value of respect. I’ll begin by restating my original call for respect: “We must commit ourselves to valuing the worth and dignity of each individual being. Mutual respect lays a foundation upon which we can build mutual understanding. Without respect, people’s voices cannot be heard. When we work to respect one another, we can achieve tolerance and even acceptance of one another.”

I want to be clear that the type of respect I am referring to is the kind of respect that values each individual being, their right to life, and their sense of self worth. I am talking about respect for all people by all people.

In the wake of the horrific act in Las Vegas on Sunday night, televangelist Pat Robertson spoke about respect. He said, “we have disrespected authority. There is profound disrespect for our president… disrespect for the institutions of our government… All the way up and down the line, disrespect.” Here, Robertson is referring to an old-school style of respect that says ‘you should not question authority.’

First of all, let’s look at the fact that Pat Robertson is speculating about a horrific act being caused by a lack of respect and completely missed the point that the most basic type of respect we as human being can show one another is a respect for our right to exist. It is true that Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock perpetrated his hideous act because of disrespect, but it was his disrespect for people’s right to life. It was his disrespect for people’s worth and dignity. How Robertson could talk about respect and miss this point is surprising.

Next, I want to make a clear distinction between the type of respect Pat Robertson is talking about the the type of respect I am talking about. I do not mean a blind respect for authority. I mean respect for the sanctity of life. I mean respect for people’s dignity. I mean the type of respect that people in authority all too often deny to those they see as less than them. Respect for each and every person’s potential for good, for their right to prosperity, for their happiness.

Let’s all show each other respect. Let’s practice being respectful toward one another even when we disagree. Let’s take action in a respectful way to advance equality, justice, and peace.

Love to you all.

You Won’t Believe How Cheerios Dares to Portray Dads!

Yesterday, my wife came running over to me with her YouTube app open on her phone and said, “You’ve got to see this!  It’s a Cheerios commercial and it’s… well, here, just watch.”

Having no idea what to expect, I watched – and was stunned.  My mind reeled.  I gasped.

Cheerios Box
©BAKER

Cheerios has made a commercial (this one, in fact) about a dad that is not an incompetent goofball; a dad that doesn’t say and/or do things so wildly idiotic that no thinking human being could possibly relate to him; a dad that isn’t a lazy, spineless, helpless, hopeless waste of space on the couch.

He is… wait for it… a dad with his crap together.

Not only that, but he is fully invested in being a dad and – get this – is completely capable of caring for his kids.  The Mom doesn’t need to bail him out once.  None of the kids pull one over on him.  Not once does he fall down and get his head stuck in something.

Is he superhuman?  Is he a demigod?

NO!  He is just a normal Dad.

He is a Dad like billions of Dads the world over.  He cares about his kids, is skilled at seeing to their needs, is 100% invested in his family, and he loves it.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about this commercial is that someone at an ad agency is apparently as fed up with the way that dads are portrayed in commercials as I am.  Is this commercial a sign that we are heading into a new age of pop culture enlightenment?  Is this the dawn of an era in which a commercial dad can be more than the butt of the joke?

Probably not.

But hey – at least somebody got it right once.

(Now, if that person could just talk to the people that make sitcoms.)