Thursday, February 09, 2006

Everything is real on TV

The universe is a strange place sometimes.

On one hand, you have people who think they know what's best for you, telling you who you are, and what you are supposed to be doing.

They tell you what toothpaste to use, what moisturizer will make you look 25 years younger, the TV show that will heal your ulcers, the magic football jersey that will make the women love you, the beer that will make you a man. They'll sell you your soul back to you, for the low, low price of $29.95 (per month, not including shipping and handling).

On the other hand, you have people who think they know who you are, and tell you what you have been doing wrong.

They tell you how you can never get ahead, how it was a waste of time to take that challenging job, how unlikely it is that you'll reach your goals, what a mistake it was to try that new hairdo, how ugly that new watch you bought is. Conform. Be like us. Give up hope. Lower your expectations. Watch Friends. Drink Miller Light. Eat Frito Lays. Don't try anything different. Don't be different. Different is scary. Different is dangerous. Remember: we are all individuals! As long as no one rocks the boat.

Talk about Britney Spears.

"Isn't her behaviour outrageous? And Brad Pitt. What a cad, huh? What do you mean, I don't know him? I see him every day - in the papers. How about those wacky twins who used to be on Full House? Didn't their parents raise them any better? My kids? What about them? They're at the mall...I think.


What war?

Is there a war going on? Gosh, I hate those.

Is someone starving? Don't talk to me about that. I don't want to hear about it. There's nothing I can do about it anyway.

What's on TV? Can you believe what happened last week?

I think there's supposed a new Survivor on tonight! I wonder who'll get kicked off this time?

What do you mean it's not real? Of course it's real! It's on TV."

Everything is real on TV.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You very clearly deride the hypocrisy which pervades our culture. I have no specific issue with that other than to state that a certain level of individual disassociation and social dishonesty might be required for the smooth operation of a complex culture.
Just think how chronically unpleasant people would find themselves if they were constantly bothered by the problems the see around them. Yes, that level of discomfort would be a powerful agent of change, however, that level of social awareness would also depress many people to the point of inaction. What is more socially beneficial: a happy, socially oblivious person or a depressed, socially aware person? From a sociological perspective, the smooth operations of cultural activities require a reasonably content population.
I would also hazard that the level of social amnesia which we are currently engaged is very little different from that of the past. Previously, rumours, religions and prejudices took the place of today's mass-produced news and "info-tainment". It's a simple matter of having changed one master for another. The individuals who were able to see through the lies of the past are the same types of people who can see through the lies of the present; although the information available today would possibly allow more people to see through the haze of disinformation.
Reality is only as defined as you allow it to be.

9:38 AM  

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