Paying Attention to Who’s Paying Attention

While watching the Britcoms last night, a rare but much loved treat, something caught my eye.  On New Year’s Eve at 9:30 p.m. EST on Georgia Public Broadcasting, they are showing “Oklahoma.”  What made me really take notice was the actor playing Cowboy Curly.

Hugh Jackman.

I know, right?  Who knew?

“Wolferina” as my little guy calls him.

Hugh Jackman as Curly in "Oklahoma."  From http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/11/08/hugh-jackman-oklahoma/
Hugh Jackman as Curly in “Oklahoma.” From http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/11/08/hugh-jackman-oklahoma/

Only this is the role that gave him his start and caused him to be noticed back in 1998.  A year later he took on the role for which he’s most known for the first time.


Even if I had made big partying plans for New Year’s Eve (I haven’t), I would still make sure I got to see this by recording it.  I like “Oklahoma,” though it’s not my favorite.  Still, I am intrigued at the thought of seeing Hugh Jackman in this role, so yes, I will make every effort to watch it.  I love to see someone step outside of the expected box they’ve been put in.  I have all kinds of respect for the actors and actresses I’ve seen take time to speak out for St. Jude’s, for example–Jennifer Anniston and Robin Williams are the first two who come to mind.  I also love it when well-known performers make decent family films that can be watched by all around the holidays (or anytime).  I appreciate their choice in that.

Isn’t it interesting?  These famous people we watch from afar can have us learning about something new, watching something new, reading and discussing new issues–or old ones in a different way.  Just because they take part in it.  Or speak their minds.  Or share their own personal opinions.  I remember trying a genre of show I never would have before because Dougray Scott was going to star in it–you know, he’s the Prince from Ever After with Drew Barrymore, one of my very favorite movies.  I couldn’t stick with the show, but the fact that he played the lead had me trying it.

Mama and Daddy used to say, “With great privilege comes great responsibility.”  That’s what I had on my mind as I thought about Hugh Jackman having a role in this musical.  And how some actors and actresses get involved in political or social justice issues as well.  They influence us, don’t they? Sometimes we even give them to power to influence how we think, what we watch, what our opinions are.

That’s something I wish many of them would keep in mind.  That people are watching.  And taking notice.  It’s like when Oprah chose her favorite things every year.  She had so much power to educate people about fair trade and gifts that make a difference.  But no.  When these “stars” share their personal opinions and their “fans” take them to heart, they can have friends arguing and family members divided.  It’s a fine line they walk, isn’t it?

And then my conscience started talking to me.  Or maybe it was my Mama.  Either way, it occurred to me that while there may not be millions watching or listening or taking notice of my beliefs and lifestyle and thoughts on this and that, there are a few.  Three at least.  In my very own home.  And I need to watch what I say and do and how I act and what I support just as much as those stars in the movies and on TV do.  We all have the potential to influence and guide someone–for the worse or the better.  It’s our choice really.

I am looking forward to seeing Hugh Jackman in the role that gave him his start.  But I am also thankful to him and to PBS for the chance to think about whom I’m influencing and for the reminder that I have a chance to set an example and teach, with my actions matching my words and beliefs.  It’s a good thing for all of us to remember, isn’t it?  And what better time to start than right now, for as they say in the beginning lyrics to Oklahoma:

There’s never been a better time to start in life-
It ain’t too early and it aint too late!

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