Today on the news, I heard that Nancy Reagan passed away and she was fiercely loyal to her husband Ronald Reagan.
My first reaction was, why is this attribute of her personalty called out on the news? Is there any other way to be in a relationship? Shouldn’t you be fiercely loyal to your loved ones, your significant other, your children and to some good friends?
But unfortunately I know that loyalty, like many other noble traits, is on its way out. As the art of letter writing, cooking, and some others are fading, so is the attribute of loyalty.
People love to watch cooking shows, yet they don’t cook. People claim they thrive on friendships and social connections, yet many just have party buddies or acquaintances. Loyalty should be a key attribute of a true friendship.
"Cooking and writing should not only be spectator sports," I stated in Cooking Writing and Surviving. Instead, they are necessary components of surviving. Relationships with your friends and partners are also spectator sports in this age of brokered personal services that are facilitated by great apps and websites. Need some extra cash? Rent your home out on AirBnB. But your home may no longer feel like a home anymore. It is now a brokered asset. You can rent all types of services these days. Who needs a real home, friendship or relationship? A service has a clear beginning and ending date, and terms.
The fading concepts of character and loyalty have lately become a question for me. As I recently started writing a book, I’ve been struggling with how much ‘character’ to put into my characters. Sadly, too much character for your character is unrealistic. If they are loyal they will be labelled as lovesick, not independent and are subservient. Characters have to be ‘realistic.’ What is realistic these days? Characters need to be politically correct. They really shouldn’t be loyal because then they are pathetic. Also, integrity should be wavering depending on what advances their mission. The character shouldn’t be loyal to their significant other; no they should move on fast and have no ties. The friends shouldn’t be loyal because then they are picking sides and all should be a big democracy. No, loyalty is really a mafia trait, “don’t mess with the family.” But in real life, you can mess with anyone, and if you aren’t in the mafia, life goes on. Flexibility, agility and political correctness, even in personal friendships, is the way to go. After thinking this through, I don’t even want to write a book filled with such hollow characters, nor do I really want to know such people.
At least the word loyal is still defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
unswerving in allegiance: as
a : faithful in allegiance to one's lawful sovereign or government
b : faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due
c : faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product
I better write that book quick, before this word, like many others, disappears. Now trying googling the word loyal and see what the top hit is And yes, he’s right.
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