Saturday, July 31, 2010

Life Has Become an Unreality Show

The video below has been up on YouTube for two days. During that time it’s received over a million and a half hits:


I’ll give you my own response to what transpired in those brief moments below the fold.
- - - - - - - - -
This brother-sister act is just that: an act. The indignation, the shout-out to the rapist, the stamp-your-foot outrage - all of it designed for the “news” clip that would later air on TV.

Their act had to be over the top, otherwise how could they compel the TV entertainment news show to film them? And if they weren’t getting their two minutes’(and two seconds) worth of fame, then what was the experience worth in the long run?


Have you ever sat at the local mall for a while and watched the “Reality Show Groups” strut by? The whole time these kids are there, the self-conscious interactions are performed as though there were a camera following them. It’s self-consciousness totally barren of any self-awareness.

Too much television has been blamed for all sorts of cultural problems. But has anyone addressed the hollowing out of the core self which is the outcome of a TV-saturated life?

As it happens, they have. Call it the “Truman Syndrome”, named after the 1998 Jim Carrey film:

Joel and Ian Gold, a New York psychiatrist and Montreal academic, say they have been inundated with cases since they first expounded what they have dubbed the “Truman Syndrome” two years ago.

[…]

The condition might seem comical - one man went to a US government building and announced he wanted his show to end - but it tended to be “absolutely debilitating” as sufferers believed they could trust no-one, said Dr Joel Gold, head of psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital in New York.

He said he had recently been contacted by the father of a girl who had contemplated suicide because she believed it was the only way of “getting out of the show”.

It was also difficult to treat because, as he had found himself, sufferers will dismiss their doctors and psychiatrists as actors.

The existence of a specific Truman Syndrome has divided experts, with critics pointing out that delusional patients have long believed that friends or relatives have been replaced by imposters.

However, the Gold brothers counter that the Truman Syndrome is different because of the “sweeping” scope of the delusion, taking in society at large.

“We’re not claiming it’s a new form of mental illness and we’re not suggesting these people would be well if there was no YouTube,” said Dr Gold.

“But we’ve passed a watershed moment with respect to the internet, in which you can do something very silly and without skill, and yet become famous instantly. That can be very exciting for many people but for those who are at risk of this kind of paranoia, it can be very stressful.”

“Silly and without skill” pretty much nails this sad delusional state. Why strive for accomplishment if you can win instant fame? Just look at all the others who’ve made it. Why shouldn’t I?

I first noticed the preoccupation with fame among young girls when I was working in foster care programs. In fact, it was impossible to get most of the girls to be ‘real’ even in moments of extreme duress. Always, there was the camera - at least the one inside their head - moving in for close-ups of their over-wrought emotional state.

Except, it wasn’t really a state of being so much as a shallow acting-out of what they thought represented an emotion: extremis on the outside…but nothing inside. These girls, as young as they were, had been hollowed out; there wasn’t a core self with principles or beliefs. They hungered after fame because that’s all they’d ever been shown as representing genuine satisfaction.

So it seems to be with the latest titillation from YouTube: a brother-sister act that may go into overtime if the police find the perpetrator.

Lord spare us - and them - Act II.


Hat tip: Brutally Honest

***UPDATE***

Thanks to Archonix for the tip to this song. Much more concisely than I, these lyrics capture several aspects of the intellectual poverty on display in the afflicted.


Couch potatoes can sit and dream…

10 comments:

goethechosemercy said...

I call such television false drama.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

a song that encapsulates the whole thing quite nicely.

Van Grungy said...

I think it's funny that black or white THAT is an Alabaman.

Kinda Gay too... NTTAWWT ;-)

Zenster said...

But we’ve passed a watershed moment with respect to the internet, in which you can do something very silly and without skill, and yet become famous instantly.

An early manifestation of this was the "Pet Rock". A useless and idiotic pesudo-product that earned Gary Dahl over one million dollars. In comparison to what passes for "skill" today, Dhal was a certifiable genius and not the one-trick pony that he really was.

We are now in an era where style has triumphed over substance. (C)rap music is standing proof of that. People like Paris Hilton and Regis Philbin are merely "famous for being famous". Accomplishment and expertise do not even remotely enter into the equation.

What we see now is the ultimate product that results from decades of Lowest Common Denominator Television Programming. It is nothing more than panum et circum specifically designed to further dumb down an already near-comatose sheeple.

One need only to scan Communism's 45 Declared Goals to see repeated examples of what now passes for reality. Just the term "Reality TV" is symptomatic of this entire societal malaise.

From the link:

2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.

3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.

14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.

15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policy-making positions.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."


25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
[emphasis added]

The list of Communist triumphs goes on and on. More than a few are now commonplace in the America of today.

1389 said...

The left always complains about "rednecks" and "crackers" and suchlike. Maybe what bothers them so much about middle-class and working-class white Americans in the South is that they don't care about appearing "hip" or "cool"; their emotions, including concern for one another, are genuine; and they ignore the hipsters, wannabees, posers, grandstanders, pseudointellectuals, professional victims, race-card players, and other members of the pop-culture, made-for-TV menagerie on the left.

Dymphna said...

@1389:

This isn't about race; our white and black underclass participate equally in the delusion about fame as a panacea. Both are the major customers for lottery tickets. Not the only buyers, just the major market. Instant fame, instant riches...

The underclass is in an entirely different category than those who work. In fact, regular employment without large gaps of indolence are what separates everyone else from those who don't work for a living. Two different universes.

Mark Steyn has written on this subject extensively, esp. if he visits Britain.
===========
@ Zenster:

Every time I read that list, the word turns into this:

2. U.S. willingness to copulate in preference to engaging in atomic war...

Must need glasses.
====
@Van Grungy:

So how come a Canadian can suss out an Alabama accent?

Okay, I'll bite: what's NTTAWWT? -- or at least let us know, but only if it's fit for a PG 13 group.
============
Goethe chose mercy: My son is a Goethe fan. And a Latin scholar a long time ago. Not at your level! But tell us, please, about the passage of Goethe's to which your nic applies...

Also, have you seen Sarah Ruden's translation of Vergil?

The Aeneid

Zenster said...

For those who had trouble with the "news" report's audio track, as I did, here is a link to another site's mirror of the broadcast.

In fact, it was impossible to get most of the girls to be ‘real’ even in moments of extreme duress. Always, there was the camera - at least the one inside their head - moving in for close-ups of their over-wrought emotional state.

This is no surprise considering how so many children grow up being babysat by a television set. Be it a dual income, single mother or absentee father setting, many homes are starved of parental interaction much less actual affection. Genuine feeling and authentic emotion are in short supply.

What's more, as style continues its Long March through the corridors of modern culture's original substance, there have been some exceptionally destructive paradigm shifts.

Look at what passes for modern celebrities. Bling bedecked (c)rap music thugs, self-absorbed halfwit television and movie stars, race baiting poverty pimp wannabe warlords, semi-literate ball players, the list of modern "role models" goes on and it is as endless as it is void of uplifting qualities.

Society no longer finds its heroes in authors, inventors, scientists, or explorers. Our surrogate warriors are no long space faring astronauts trailblazing the final frontier but, instead, a herd of steroid-laced mesomorphs engaging in overblown false conflict scripted "wrestling" matches.

Kids grow up hearing the words "I love you" more often from an electromagnetic purple dinosaur than any human. Small wonder that children subscribe to and emulate the utmost in fabricated "reality" as opposed to taking on the daunting task of having actual feelings.

Worst of all is the cumulative effect of successive generations growing up among, and with, increasingly barren emotional inventories. It is difficult to imagine the wasteland of insincerity and superficiality that so many of today's children are raised in.

Populating this lunar landscape of the soul are pre-teen drug users and suicides, murderers and rapists with single digit ages; with ever-increasing numbers of them being fed powerful neurochemical behavorial modifiers to render them more tractable.

Aldous Huxley's nightmarish "Brave New World" is a veritable Eden by comparison.

Zenster said...

Dymphna: Every time I read that list, the word turns into this:

2. U.S. willingness to copulate in preference to engaging in atomic war...


What do you expect from generations that have been raised around crowds chanting "Make love not war!"?

Zenster said...

Dymphna: Instant fame, instant riches...

Ayn Rand correctly identified this malaise as a modern day obsession with unearned wealth and unmerited fame. This syndrome is just as often self-inflicted as it is routinely inculcated by mass media. Never in history has there been so strong a belief in the fantasy of a Free Lunch™.

Actual creation of wealth is now an almost arcane concept, even as the wholesale redistribution of earned wealth by otherwise incompetent industrially-illiterate morons has become the norm.

Liberal and Socialist addiction to Magical Thinking™ now reigns supreme as we enter an era of Islam being The Religion of Peace™ and truth no longer serving as a last and best legal defense.

The societal butcher's bill only continues to mushroom as niggling facts keep getting pushed aside in favor of whatever comfortable delusion is currently en vogue. With unlimited moral credit being provided by a culture of boundlessly unwarranted self-esteem, the day is constantly put off when there will be Hell to pay for this defiance of reality's rapidly approaching brick wall.

Okay, I'll bite: what's NTTAWWT? -- or at least let us know, but only if it's fit for a PG 13 group.

Your wish is my command: NTTAWWT = Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

goethechosemercy said...

Quote:
Goethe chose mercy: My son is a Goethe fan. And a Latin scholar a long time ago. Not at your level! But tell us, please, about the passage of Goethe's to which your nic applies...

Also, have you seen Sarah Ruden's translation of Vergil?
end quote.

I created the name Goethe chose mercy after I read Faust. One of the fascinating things about this play is that every other version of the Faust story has the doctor going to hell. There is no hope for him. Goethe, with his Enlightenment sensibility, chose mercy for his anti-hero. The love of humanity transcends humanity itself in the outcome of his drama.
So that's why I created the name.
No, I haven't seen Sarah Rudens's translation of Vergil. Though I'm investing in a Legamus transitional reader with the objective of translating some of the Aeneid on Western Dream Time.