There are so many different ways to be one’s authentic self. It can either be sharing our opinions unapologetically in a debate, modeling our sartorial persuasion flamboyantly, or conjuring up a culinary feast that is not only pleasing to the naked eyes, but also comforting to our taste buds. As great as it is to be one’s authentic self, there are moments, where we need to be extra careful of our pursuit of authenticity and self-expression, especially if we are a public personality, who wields social influence, our desire to stay true to every opinion we hold and let them be known to others needs to be checked constantly and appropriately so that we can avoid them from making us come across as bigoted.
There are a time and a space for each and every type of speeches, and our failure to keep in mind of this reality is a negligence that falls only on our shoulders. If this failure of ours is exacerbated by our inclination to preach to others what we consider to be THE ways of handling everything, it can only make us appear to be self-righteous and inconsiderate in the eyes of others. Jennifer Lawrence was undoubtedly that person this week, whose public act of lecturing a foreign journalist, whose first language was not English, certainly made her a personification of self-righteousness and self-importance.
“You can’t live your whole life behind your phone, bro. You just can’t do that. You gotta live in the now.” “We’re at the Golden Globes. If you put your phone down, you’d know that.” These were words of advice given by Jennifer Lawrence to a professionally trained journalist, who was in the middle of doing his job, reading his well prepared questions aloud at the Golden Globe press conference. She was right in the sense that modern technologies have downplayed, even deprived most of us the basic communication abilities. Using emojis as a form of replacement to show others our various emotional states is positively not conducive to facilitate more interpersonal interaction; after all, nothing can replace a face-to-face communication, along with all the benefits that come with it. That being said, there are different ways, more respectful ones, that Jennifer Lawrence could have used to convey her messages.
As someone, whose first language is not English, I have been in many situations, where I feel belittled by native English speaker, and “What?” is one of the rudest responses that can ever be given to me by someone, when he or she does not understand my accent or the contents of my verbally conveyed sentences. Many English speakers have a sense of superiority over others, who do not speak their language. This superiority is evidently exemplified by TV shows, such as The Amazing Race, when the contestants try to navigate their way around in a foreign, non-English speaking country. Quite often, out of frustration, The Amazing Race contestants would yell aloud in public “Anyone speaks English?” “Stupid, no one speaks English here!” Although many of these words are uttered out of frustration, on the spur of the moment; however, the fact that these English-speaking people can come up with opinions like these suggests to me an underlying, hidden self-superiority.
Back to Jennifer Lawrence. Who is she to wave her fingers at and lecture a professional journalist on how to live a good life? I am sure that her intention was not to help the journalist but to embarrass him publicly for personal satisfaction. It was all about her ego. Although her straightforwardness is well-known in the media land, although she is currently highest paid actress in Hollywood; however, so what? That does not make her better positioned to lecture an educated journalist on the methods of healthy living. I would argue, instead, that the journalist is more fit to educate Jennifer Lawrence how to live properly in this world, because he is surely more academically educated than she is, and has more understanding of how to be authentically confident, while self-conducting politely in relation to others in a public space.