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Friday, March 18, 2005

Freedom of De Press

Michele and I've been talking.

She's right, you know.

We're living in the Jerry Springer era. Everyone is waiting for their 15 minutes, even if they have to debase themselves and their families to do it. They want to have their Tammy Faye Bakker makeup running, to claim they're on TV.

Scandal has always been newsworthy. That's why public hangings were a form of public entertainment for the poor in England. They'd troop down to the Old Bailey and watch the famous, infamous, and those too poor to afford a large enough bribe fall to their deaths.

But in the era of lightning speed exchange of information, we have become remote from the reality. We see the chair being thrown into Geraldo's face and breaking his nose, and there's a vicarious thrill for some, but we never see the pain, the blood, smell the fear and anger, because of the cold separation of the television screen. We watch the farce of Michael Jackson in the courtroom, see video of his strange house, and can sit back, safe and secure, never having to face the child accuser, never having to feel the vibe of the courtroom, because we're watching on, fed to us via cable modem, faster than we can mock it.

There was a David Cronenberg movie a long time ago called Videodrome. This is an oversimplification of the movie but, the main character (played by James Woods ) is given access to this special (I remember it as being sort of secretive) television show that were essentially snuff films. He has a woman in his life, played by Deborah Harry, who is a masochist. He is drawn to this show, and caught in this tension between wanting to look and needing to look away. Deborah Harry ends up in a snuff movie, and he watches her die, not knowing if it is really real anymore. (His life had become a series of hallucinations and mental contortions for reasons too strange to go into). But what I remember is the draw of the television in his life. It controlled him, his mind, changing him.

We are caught like him. We demand daily celebrities and tire of them quickly. We've learned that sex and violence sell (look at the WWE) and the corporate world is soulless: it offers up tantalising cubbyholes leading to stardom for the weakminded and starstruck. So few make it, and those that do, we tire of so fast.

We make issues like gay marriage important because we feel insecure, under attack from all sides by the world that we ourselves have helped to create: we buy the products advertised with the sexy women, we eat the food sold by the steroid taking athletes, we play with the toys pimped by convicts.

The press takes it and runs with it because that's what now sells papers.

And we buy it.

Blogger Franikins said...
Very eloquently expressed, Blondzila.

Have you considered running for Prime Minister?  

Blogger blondzila said...
Nope. I'd have to explain things to often to the men in parliament.  

Blogger Franikins said...
:D too funny!  

Blogger xxan said...
Yes, very eloquently, I read it in one breath. I put a comment at Michele's blog. It's the same issues.

Take care :-)  

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