Obsessed with the "beautiful" nostalgia of the past, Cassidy has made a frightfully common mistake: he has assumed that ordinary, everyday life isn't romantic, when the truth of the matter is subtly (but vitally) different. It's not that ordinary life isn't romantic; it's that it isn't romanticized. Cassidy has mistaken flashy appearances for the truly worthwhile struggles of everyday life, and his inability to embrace ordinary challenges of living will prevent him from ever achieving the folk hero status he so desperately desires.
The Naked City reminds us that instinct to hide behind such facades is a powerful one. Faced with the challenges of daily life, many of us create personas to cope with those things we find most challenging—easily defendable fortresses that hold the harsher, more demanding "realities" of our world at bay. Sometimes, these masks are a means of escaping (and hiding) from the truth. But sometimes, they are a sign of progress rather than a sign of escape. Sometimes, these masks are created to protect those we love rather than to hold them at arm's length.
As the current presidential primary makes abundantly clear, having a handful of funny, simple, and (above all) short answers is far more important than having a nuanced, thoughtful grasp on complex issues. Our generation unconsciously bestows the veneer of entertainment upon anything it sees on TV, transforming themselves from constituents looking to be won over, into nothing more than "audience members." And audiences aren't looking for complex answers; they're looking for amusement.
...even God does not consider us independent of our human relationships, but in our totality within them. I am not only "Joseph," I am also "Dominic's father." And that paternal relationship profoundly influences us both. At the Final Judgment, I will be called to answer not only for my own life, but for the impact I have had on the lives of my children.
For More, sharp of tongue and even sharper of intellect, this moment is an opportunity to reach out one last time in an attempt to show his weak young friend the truly damnable blunder he has made. But for the audience, it is that most cathartic of moments when Rich's betrayal is shown in its true light, the absurdity of fatally compromising one's soul for something as transient and fleeting as worldly fame and fortune, cast into sharp contrast with More's impending martyrdom.
Fairy tales are not unrealistic; they're supra-realistic, underscoring the absurdly wonderful, fantastical world in which we find ourselves, and reminding us of the One who placed us in it. There are dragons, yes, but there is Someone to subdue them, as well. And if we have the one, resplendent in all its fairytale-encrusted glory, must we not also have the Other?
Despite the encouragement of Charlie Sheen and Al Davis, winning is far less important than being right. Our stubbornness and our pride in the validity of our positions can be a valuable tool. But we must never allow that stubbornness—our own deep-seated desire for victory—to get in the way of what is true.
How can God forgive someone who does not recognize their own need for forgiveness? Sure, a "debt" could be paid, but what would that payment mean if there was no spiritual transformation to accompany it? We must be transformed if we are to be perfected, yet there is no transformation without recognition and acceptance of our own personal, insurmountable failings.