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In televised programs, often news clips or commentary, we often see faces or license plates or signage deliberately blurred. We assume there is some good reason for this, like changing names to protect the innocent. Some identities want to be concealed or should be. I am intrigued by darkened figures with electronically garbled voices reporting some scurrilous or astonishing matter we all want to know. 60 Minutes on CBS is famous for this.
I have come to believe that everything I read or hear (I do a lot of reading and hearing) is blurred or darkened to protect both the innocent and the not so innocent. There is such a thing as selective reportage and carefully cut clips to protect the chosen and to defame the fakers. Consider the political ads for the candidates in the upcoming runoff elections for federal senators from Georgia. Long ago, I believe that ads like these were all tainted with half-truths and outright lies. This would be true for both sides and both for what candidates said about themselves and about their opponent. Half-truths and carefully crafted lies. But now I am grown up and think like a seasoned person. Now I assume that everything said and depicted is all true about both candidates, until somebody produces hard evidence to the contrary. If something nasty or something good can be said about someone then either matter probably contains some truth, maybe even 51% of truth. I like to search for the good in both nasty candidates. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. I do however suggest that the candidates have their faces blurred when they say, “I am Wile E. Coyote and I approve this message.” After all, some nefarious person might be looking for them someday and that nefarious person might have good cause, maybe even 51% of a good cause. Who knows until it is too late. I can’t decide whether this is cynical or optimistic, jaded or hopeful.
Things get blurred. When I recollect certain seasons of my life, I wish that my face had been blurred, especially when I approved the message. Then, there is another kind of blurring our faces will sooner or later get. This blurring is of the faces we will no longer see this time next year. If there is a fancy burial right for these faces, then there will probably be blurry eulogies said. Also, blurry obituaries will be read. And then, the memories will become very blurry, unless those blurry faces were famous for something worth remembering, both the good and the bad. I remember a eulogist who actually gave a crisp, unblurred account of the deceased’s checkered life. Fifty-one percent of those present already knew about that stuff and they wished the eulogist would shut up and go to his car. The forty-nine percent hungered for elaboration. Blurring is not so bad.
We always make fond wishes for the new year that never come true. I am wishing for less blurriness. It won’t come true. Matters do have a way of getting cleared up down the road of history. Blurriness gets revised, but we get blurred well before that happens. Here’s a fond wish for less blurriness of now for our grandchildren and great grandchildren when they look back upon this age. May there have been no necessity to blur our faces to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.