Hal Sparks, Steve Jobs and the loss of Sincerity

This really isn’t about Hal Sparks, the actor/comedian turned activist, and it also isn’t about the late Steve Jobs. But an incident Saturday on the Hal Sparks radio program, carried on a local Progressive station revealed something lost in this country, at least in the media( Link:http://www.ustream.tv./channel/halsparkslive) . And it is as fundamental to a bygone American media as truth and facts and insight.

Hal, began his program Saturday with an homage to Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder. Hardly a minute into the remembrance, Sparks broke into tears, overcome with emotion as he thanked Jobs for the amazing ingenuity which had so deeply affected his life.

Actor, comedian, Progressive activist Hal Sparks

“Sometimes,” he choked back emotion, “we just forget how to say thank you.”

But there was something more in those words and the emotion. It was true, unadulterated, and honest sincerity. I was struck, at first by the emotion and second at the realization that we are in danger of losing the ability to discern true sincerity from manufactured emotion. Here’s what I mean. 

This was a real moment. It was a non-political, non-commercial display, which has become dangerously rare in our culture, especially in the media, in which everything is absolutely for sale. But this wasn’t some vehicle to bolster a political point, or a segway to a commercial for gold because Obama is out to destroy the American Dollar. Sparks didn’t pin wheel the moment into a tirade on some political or social ill. He brought us to a place that had touched him deeply. He said his heartfelt piece and let it go. We went along willingly because it was real, and I have no doubt many in his audience were swept into the moment, just as I was.

We are constantly defrauded by theatrical emotions in the corporate media. News people cry on cue. Politicians manufacture tears for the polls or to position themselves against adversaries. Glenn Beck’s faux-emotions are a means to close a sale for the vapid products he is selling(His whole schtick is to whip up his audience to be in position to buy the crap he hawks). It is meant to guilt  or fool us into a false belief in theatrical sincerity. Indeed, if that becomes the only food available to us, at some point we’ll forget what the real thing is.

There is a cry-on-demand industry, but that insincerity parading as sincerity only serves to cleave us away from the truth and one another. As the media degrades truth and facts, they render our own hearts as the final battlefield. We battle one another on that field, and then turn upon ourselves. It isolates us,  and leaves us alone, separated from our communities and the world.

 We’ve got to cling to those moments when there is no bottom line and no tag line. We’ve got to measure against the purposeful confusion and the avalanche of cynicism of our media and politicians those who reveal something true and vulnerable and selfless of themselves without expecting something in return. Kudos to Sparks for taking a moment just to be human.

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

2 responses to “Hal Sparks, Steve Jobs and the loss of Sincerity

  • roger

    wow, this about an outrageously profitable multi-billionaire whose endeavors exploited sweatshops in china and third world countries. me thinks hal sparks is a dork!

    • 900poundgorilla

      Roger, I think being human is having a perspective on our own proclivities for being “dorky. ” I certainly have a perspective on mine, which tells me to reach for a deeper humanity and to make connections instead of drawing boundaries. Do I fail at that sometimes? Absolutely, but the truth is in the sincere attempt. As for the article, it wasn’t about Sparks or Jobs, but about the moment and the heart.. Thanks for the comment.

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