I just read a little factoid of no great importance, but it got me to thinking about all this social media stuff and letting your mind be heard. Internet sites, or should I say media outlets, all but mandate you express yourself unabated, and if you’ve somehow insulted or caused harm there’s always the “I’m sorry” or “it was taken out of context”comebacks in an effort to save face.
Giving an opinion is one thing, even if solicited, but never have I felt closer to the idiom “Silence is golden”. Saying nothing or choosing your words with such care is an art form that I am beginning to master as I near my 7th decade. If my greatest criticism is that “he keeps everything to himself”, then mission accomplished. At the very least I can say that I have hurt no-one with my words. I just wish that more people would cherish the gift of silence vs. the alternative of opining to ensure that the planet know how I feel about something.
And the little factoid that got my mind churning? Hopefully you are familiar with the actors Richard Harris and Ian McKellan and also familiar with the mega-hit Harry Potter series. I will assume you do. We know that after the 2nd installment of Harry Potter, (the Chamber of Secrets one) that Richard Harris no longer played the role of Albus Dumbledore. A relative unknown was given the part when it was clear that Mr. Harris’ cancer would no longer allow him to play the part. Michael Gambon was ultimately given the part, but not the first choice of the movie’s decision makers. After shooting had begun on The Prisoner of Azkaban, it was evident that Mr. Harris could no longer play the role and it was offered to Sir Ian McKellan, best known for his characters Gandalf the Gray in Lord of the Rings and Megatron in X-Men. He “graciously” declined then offered that he found it difficult to assume a role played by Richard Harris after Mr. Harris offered the opinion that Ian McKellan was a “dreadful actor”. There is little doubt of the acting ability of Richard Harris, but I think the majority of movie-goers would say the same of Ian McKellan.
So I ask myself “Why did Richard Harris have to make me feel less of him because of his opinion?” What possible good came from Mr. Harris’ negative critique of an excellent actor? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Well…..maybe that’s not true. Had Mr. McKellan taken the role then he most certainly would not have entertained participation in Lord of the Rings. And we would have been the worse for it, so maybe unwarranted negatvie opinions are good after all? Let me re-think this.