There was a Catfish on this morning that ended with the catfishing couple in each other’s arms, the rare happy ending. Only as I was watching, it didn’t feel happy at all. The person answered the gazillion-dollar question of “Why?” with, “I didn’t want her to leave,” which sounds sort of sweet and romantic.
At the end of Guardians Of The Galaxy, Rocket (the raccoon) asks the Nova Corps officer, “What if I see something that I want to take, and it belongs to someone else?” The officer (played by the always awesome John C. Reilly): “Well, you will be arrested.” Rocket pushes, “But what if I want it more than the person who has it?” John C. Reilly: “Still illegal.” Rocket: “That doesn’t follow. No, I want it more, sir. Do you understand?” This sounds exactly like this Catfish. I want it, so I’ll do whatever I have to do to have it.
She said, “I didn’t want her to leave,” and figured that was a terrific reason to misrepresent herself. But what about the other? Who cares??? The only concern was the Catfish and her own interests. She, like Rocket, saw something she wanted to take.
Saturday night, the Angel and I watched the Tinder Swindler on Netflix. This documentary detailed the story of a guy who lied and lied and lied to everyone he could possibly lie to, creating an intricate pyramid scheme. He’d manipulate one woman, “steal” her money to pay for another woman, using her money to pay for another woman, and on and on. He lived this extravagant globe-hopping lifestyle bankrolled by women all over the world that he caught on matching app Tinder.
It was impossible to watch the doc and feel any other way than this “Simon” was a monster. (Now, I say impossible, but that’s not entirely true. There were plenty of embarrassing trolls who took to the internet to blame the women!!! Whatever.) But the Catfish played as touching and beautiful, love persevering against all odds. Almost like the lies proved how real the emotions were, the depth of the facade evidence of the depth of the hearts involved. I wonder what the difference was, other than the directors & film editors.
The scene in Guardians was comedy, the Tinder Swindler was tragedy, and Catfish was romance, but all were different versions of Rocket, hopelessly selfish and single-minded in achieving the desired item (even if the item is a human being). All based on one simple precept: If I want it more, I should have it.
This is not romance. This is not love, and in fact bears little resemblance to actual love. Love asks, and in the asking, releases control and gives it to the other, gives the other the power to say yes…or to say no. Love does not take, either by force or deception. This town isn’t big enough for manipulation and respect. Control and love cannot coexist, no matter what the soundtrack is, and I’m pretty sure we should stop pretending they do.