The new Literary Arts program at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) kicks off with a writer’s panel to discuss the oft-debated topic of “cheating.”
Writer, editor and chef Catherine Blinder moderates tonight’s event at 6:30 p.m. that is expected to challenge the audience to examine cheating through different lenses.
For most of us the word “cheating” conjures up images of bosses and secretaries behind closed doors and interns lip-locked with higher ups in classic quid pro quo career-climbing schemes.
But what about other kinds of cheating? The Olympic gold medal athlete who takes illegal steroids surely evokes betrayal akin to the jilted spouse. What about friends that hatch a business plan and one of those friends heads off to start the business without the knowledge of the other. Is that cheating? A panel of experts will discuss questions like these and more.
The panel includes Paul Hochman, Gear and Technology Editor for NBC’s “The Today Show;” Ann Hood, the best-selling author of the “Knitting Circle;” Ravi Shankar, poet and chairman of the Connecticut Young Writers Trust.
“It’s important to talk about morality, cultural trends and opinions and to examine topics like this,” says Hood.
“We need to talk about what’s funny or what’s compelling or timely,” Hochman says. “Cheating is an issue of eternal human interest.”
Though stories of cheating by celebrities, politicians and other prominent figures are continuously in the news, society never tires of hearing about someone else’s debacles.
“Seeing others involved in scandal helps us feel better,” says Hochman. “If the high and mighty are prone to cheating then we all have to watch.”
Perhaps Hochman is right in his assessment about watching others fall prey to temptation but Hood is baffled by America’s obsession with the sex lives of those who are in the spotlight.
“They are human and have their share of flaws,” Hood explains. “Infidelity with politicians or celebrities doesn’t surprise me at all, or upset me. They can still make a good movie or run the government, even if they’ve had an affair.”
It’s clear that cheating, no matter how highly publicized is something that will always anger the public at least in western culture.
Cheating in relationships is painful, but that doesn’t keep couples struggling with infidelity from staying together.
“I used to believe infidelity was unforgivable,” Hood says. “But all the time I see couples staying together, trying to forgive and move on. I don’t know if that’s possible [for me], but I think it’s more of a gray area than I once believed.”
Whether it’s fudging numbers in an audit, looking over the shoulder of a nearby test taker or using performance-enhancing drugs, it’s all cheating, and most people do it at some point in life.
“It’s all about compromise. If someone finds that person or that thing they want, they will do whatever it takes to get it. Often, people give up more than they expect they will to get something they want,” says Hochman.
The Literary Arts panel at the BCA will take place in the Mills Gallery from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22. The event is free and open to the public.