Life is so arbitrary and exact, so painful and joyous, so loving and fleeting. As I LookAroundMe this is what I see and share through my words...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


No doubt that many of my academic colleagues will want to burn me at the stake for my comments but I believe that the Soap Opera genre fills the same role that Shakespeare’s plays originally offered audiences.

“As The World Turns” is celebrating 50 years. Next year “Guiding Light” will celebrate its 70th year. This genre popularized as Soaps offers its audience the plot twists, catharsis, identification, suspension of disbelief and pure enjoyment that Shakespeare’s plays gave to his audience masses in his day. I would guess that Shakespeare might have been a fan of the Soaps.

As did Shakespeare’s works, the Soap genre implements many plots that require the audience to believe dramatically rather than literally. This suspension of disbelief allows viewers to identify and empathize. The result is an attachment to characters in an almost familial way.

Shakespeare’s works live on as do the Soaps. Many of the truths in Shakespeare’s plays are universal and timeless. Today’s Soaps serve to explore many of our modern day problems and challenges. As Lynn Leahey, Editorial Director of Soap Opera Digest, recently wrote “Many shows have featured prominent, impactful social issue stories…
Soaps are a uniquely effective way to communicate.”

A recent example of a Soap Opera dealing exquisitely with today’s challenges of the single female was “Guiding Light’s” in the life focus on its character Dinah brilliantly played by the gifted Gina Tognoni. Most women once or presently single could identify with the life portrayed in this special segment.

Audiences have a need to escape, to get lost in the lives of others. Time will tell how long the Reality Show genre will last. Shakespeare’s works, however, are timeless and infinite. The Soap Opera is enjoying half century and more life spans. Its popularity is evident. Its need by society as a cathartic form of entertainment is proven. Its role as a means to present social issues is invaluable. Like the role of Shakespeare’s works, Soaps allow their audiences to leave their own lives for the moment and to partake in the twists and flow of the lives of characters they have come to love and hate. Like Shakespeare, the Soap Opera experience is universal.

PUBLISHED Soap Opera Digest Website March 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006


Citibank has come up with one of the greatest innovations that modern day business can implement. The advertisement goes something like this: WITH THE CITIBANK SIMPLICITY CARD JUST DIAL "O" TO TALK TO AN OPERATOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No phone menus. No taped messages. No speaking to an automated human-like voice.
The first thing you do is dial "O" and get a real live person immediately.
Can you imagine such a concept being conceived in the past? Who could ever have thought of a customer speaking directly to an operator?

Well, dear Citibank, that is how this 60-year-old woman and everyone she knows lived it for decades. Your card is indeed worded correctly. The Simplicity Card is a metaphor for a time not so long ago when we lived more expediently, with less frustration and more human connection. I lived my entire childhood and part of my adulthood dialing "O" for operator.

What does this new old simplicity concept mean? Are we going to start bringing back more of past procedures and methods? Will we have gas attendants again so we do not have to leave our cars? I am hanging on for dear life to the only station in Chicago that still has an option of not being self help.

Will supermarkets do away with self-checkout? Will we once again have public restrooms with toilets that do not automatically flush every fifteen seconds whether you are still on them or not? Will airlines find a way again to feed Coach passengers so they do not have to BYO?

I have been lonely for that operator’s voice. Seeing Citibank’s advertisement for the Simplicity Card gave me hope that in other industries we may also soon go back to the future.