Thursday, September 18, 2014

Don't Pick Your Wedgie on an Elevator

Over the last few weeks, elevator cameras have become the new big brother and have proven that even those on high can be brought low or at least exposed. When elevator cameras showed the now epic fight between Solange Knowles and rapper Jay Z, the world became aware of the potential fault lines in the Knowles Carter clan. For most, the elevator fight was proof that the perfect image that was presented to the world was merely a façade and a far cry from reality.

While it seems the story has gone away as the media has been inundated by other stories from the clan including how much they made on their recent tour to rumors about an impending divorce, the crux of the video that was brushed aside and lost under the weight of several memes and slapstick jokes was the violent attack that was the highlight of the video clip.

Then there was another clip. This time it was Desmond Hague, the chief executive at the helm of Centerplate, a catering firm that provides concessions to sports and entertainment venues with a roster of clients that includes Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The forty-second elevator clip shows Hague repeatedly kicking a puppy and at one point jerking on the leash so hard that the puppy was thrown in the air. His excuse, minor frustration with the puppy. Until the elevator clip was released, I had never heard of Centerplate or Hague for that matter. Not knowing much about Hague, it is hard to speculate about his tendencies or character, however, it is almost safe to say that Hague felt comfortable abusing a helpless puppy in what he thought was a space where his acts would go unnoticed.

Unlike the Knowles Carter clan who could release short video clips of an upcoming concert to divert attention away from their elevator brouhaha and Centerplate, which no one seriously cares about, the elevator incident that seems like it is here to stay involved domestic violence and importantly, the NFL, which a great percentage of Americans do care about. The video clip that just only became public fodder shows Ray Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens violently throwing a punch at this then fiancée Janay Palmer and knocking her unconscious.

What’s interesting in all these elevator attacks are seemingly normal people becoming violent in confined spaces they believe provide some semblance of privacy. Interestingly, the nature of the attacks are almost comparable to people who use the restroom and fail to wash their hands because no one is watching or people you see driving down the freeway while violently digging inside their noses with their free hand. Violence in all forms are an age old human tendency and I firmly believe that all humans will respond violently if they are in situations where they believe violence is the only recourse. Pacifism aside, innate violence is something all humans share across the board but there is rarely an excuse for violence. I understand that sometimes we can be provoked and in those moments, the only appropriate response is to attack physically until the anger is spent. But rather than violent outbursts solving problems, they only create fresh ones.

With the attacks in the elevators becoming public, one can only speculate as to how many times there have been physical fisticuffs in the Knowles Carter household or how many times Palmer has been pummeled by Rice. But beyond violence, the larger problem is uncontrolled, irrational acts meant to be private that become public. Why do we do some things in private that we would never do in public? The camera footage aside, it is almost fair to guess that Hague walked out of the elevator and patted the puppy with so much love, staged for the benefit of onlookers. Likewise, the Knowles Carter folks would have continued on, painting a picture of perfection when in essence they were covering up layers of dysfunction. 

With social media, it is even easier to live a double life; the life that is carefully curated with visits to fancy restaurants and exotic vacations on display while the days spent recovering from a black eye or bruised lip, the result of a violent attack are not displayed. Shouldn’t our lives be a continuum of some consistent kind of behavior, hopefully good behavior? Why should we have a game face and another face? Yes, there is room to be oneself, and I do not advocate being on all the time, but when so called private elevator attacks find their way to primetime news, it makes me wonder what demons people I encounter daily are shrouding. 

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