antonia williams-gary.pngLately, I have been overwhelmed by the torrent of current events: the Casey Anthony trial; the United States’ budget crisis debate; daily televised ‘Middle East’ demonstrations, regime changes, etc; media giants hacking into citizens’ cell phones; a Congressman’s Internet indiscretions; the French re-examination of their elevated practice of enticement (seduction) to an art form, to name a few.

They all have held my attention equally and I now realize that there is a common denominator amongst them: just how easily we can be seduced by the constancy of exposure — from the sublime to the ridiculous, to the outright criminal.

I use the word “seduced” advisedly.  The French have been turning themselves inside out over their long-standing claim to having perfected the art of seduction – from their foods, to their perfumes, to their champagnes, to their forms of sexual conquest – after their Socialist Party candidate for president was arrested and detained in New York City for an alleged rape.

The arguments and debates have followed along the lines that the subtleties of the inducement must be mutually understood to end in some act of acquiescence; i.e., taking that last bite of some decadent food, putting on that extra dab of perfume, blushing from the hand kiss (that is not a kiss but a brush of the lips), the object of the sexual conquest saying “yes.”

So what does that have to do with Casey Anthony, U.S. budget woes, phone hacking, etc?

I don’t know about you but I have been overcome by the constant, brutal, in-my-face onslaught of reporting on all of the above, to the point that I can no longer turn away; the temptation is too great.  Is this seduction? Far from it but the outcome feels a little like it.

Hear me out.  First, there is the lure of 24-hour media: television, radio, Twitter, Cloud, et al. How could I not look, listen? How could I not want more? 

How could I not prepare myself, daily, for the ritual of anticipation, getting in place (in front of the computer or television screen), focusing my attention, waiting for the first flirtation with what I know will titillate, excite, stimulate, arouse, satisfy (to some degree)?

And then I succumb.

Here comes the train wreck of information speeding at me, offering unlimited options (like so many lovers), an unlimited supply of temptations (I begin to understand what some men may experience at the brothels), looking slightly askance from the shame of so much to choose from.

The modern human being can hardly help being thoroughly taken in by so much information. It can’t be good for the soul: riotous reactions, jarring dialogue, shameful behavior, uncivilized relationships, murder and mayhem. And yet we look on.

If I turned away, turned off the media, stood aside from my fellows in discourse about the world and its events; if I only feed my mind’s eye with the beauty of nature, the words of the poets, the verses in holy script (pick one, any one). If only. Would that make me a lesser member of the human race?

I must confess that, even as I write this, the background noise is tuned to one of those radio talk shows, albeit at a low volume, but still …

Hard as I try, it becomes difficult — near impossible at times — to keep the lure of more information out of my immediate range.

I yearn for seduction yet I have been indecently assaulted, hit over the head by a club and dragged into the cave. The subtleties are missing: to be drawn into the discussion; to have thoughtful debate presented about the country’s finances; to understand that circumstantial evidence cannot usually support a death penalty charge; to leave the peaceful process peacefully; to realize that a charge of rape is never frivolous.

Ah, seduction! Bring it back but make it work — in media, in politics, in life.

Antonia Williams-Gary is a consultant with Miami-based Savings and Grace Enterprise. She may be reached at

Photo: Antonia Williams-Gary