THANKS to star GuestPost author Luis for tackling the Year in Disgrace. Comments welcome; happy 2015!
Luis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.
2014, Year of Illusions by Luis M. Luque
Since the first time a false prophet persuaded a gullible pal to believe his lies, image management has dominated show business. The entertainment industry has always perpetrated one enormous lie after another. Magicians have never performed actual magic. Peddlers of life-saving elixers by necessity have always been fleet of foot and mendacious of mouth (not to mention good at math).
Actors, pop stars, politicians, televangelists, lawyers, agents, and advertisers are no different—con artists one and all. And yet, somewhere inside us, since the day we figured out the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, we have always known they are con artists, but we have never cared.
We always knew Michael Jackson’s relationships with women were as orchestrated as the New York Philharmonic. We knew Elizabeth Taylor was unfaithful, that wrestling was fake, the space ship wasn’t real, the angry stare before the boxing match was an act, “I don’t recall” and “mistakes were made” were ways to avoid responsibility, and “I won’t dignify that with a response” and “my private life is none of your business” were admissions. Still, we played along. The truth was we preferred the lie. We needed the lie. We want to believe in truth, beauty, integrity, selflessness, loyalty, intelligence, patriotism, justice, privacy, decency, compassion, and effortless grace. We want fiction. We don’t want to know about plastic surgery, Auto-Tune, green screens, PhotoShop, publicity stunts, rehearsals, memorization, study, staging, contracts, and nondisclosure agreements. We don’t want to hear that Britney Spears constantly lip synchs and really can’t sing in tune. She looks great, after all (under all the makeup and hair extensions). We don’t want to know that Renee Zellweger was getting so desperate for roles that she made her face unrecognizable. We don’t want to know that manic comic Robin Williams actually struggled with depression for decades. We don’t want to know that Philip Seymour Hoffman was found on the floor of his bathroom with a needle in his arm and heroin at the scene. We don’t want to know about black sites and torture and leaders who approve of monstrous behavior. The truth hurts. The truth is no fun. The truth is ugly. Give us the lie, the beautiful illusion. We want to smile, to laugh, to believe.
The problem is, these days, believing is getting harder. Every day we are confronted with leaked photos, leaked conversations, leaked videotapes, leaked documents, and a slew of nasty allegations. We want to believe the cops are there to protect and serve, but then we see them choke a man to death on a public sidewalk or shoot a boy playing in a public park. We want to believe Bill Cosby and Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable are the same person, that the lovable father and the hilarious stand-up comedian are incapable of doing anyone harm. We want to believe that no one would dare lie to a national magazine reporter about being gang-raped. Such a harrowing tale has to be true!
So, because I care about your mental health, dear reader, instead of the truth, I give you what you want, the Illusions of the Year: (more…)