Thursday, 10 April 2008

The Distinction Between Reality And TV

Because I live in a cave now that I don't have a computer at home, I'm forced to seek other sources of entertainment. Newspapers serve to fill time, but they don't quite satisfy the entertainment aspect of things, so I started expending DVDs that I haven't watched yet. Dreamgirls is a pretty good movie. But after 2 days my DVD supply ran out, so last night I ended up watching some Channel 8 drama rerun, titled The Vagrant, which was irritatingly inane, and then I watched America's Next Top Model (some previous cycle), which did serve to entertain within really shallow means, of which I'd admit I lapped up but I'm not proud to do so.

Angie just pointed out what I couldn't put a finger to, so I'll add that it's quite perverse. Kinda like one of those things you despise doing, but you end up enjoying anyway and then hate yourself for liking the thing you despised. But whatever.

I found Sarah VonderHaar quite attractive in a Posh Spice kinda way.

It was interesting; the contestants were given their first photoshoot and they had to portray a political statement, such as anti-fur, pro-choice, vegan, anti-death penalty, pro-gun, etc, whether they agreed with it or not. And the results were quite fascinating; apparently how inspired you are to assert a statement depends a lot on your own ideologies and, to the trained eye, it is very clear when captured in a still frame. Nigel Barker, the photographer, put it quite well: "In a movie you have 100s of lines to bring your message across. In a photograph you have just that one moment." Never knew so much could go into a picture.

When did reality
Become TV?
Whatever happened to
Gameshows, sitcoms
Or the radio or
Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana?

I'm quite ambivalent about an age defined by reality TV. Along the lines of this age of reality TV, we have the advent of blogs and personality sites as well, amongst other things. Personally, I think that celebrities shouldn't be born out of the reality TV, American-Idol-esque production concept because we get to see them in such a flawed light. This in turn really blurs the traditional distinction between mundane reality and plastic superstardom. It's kinda like how you shouldn't know the past of someone you respect, like a teacher or a pastor. Once you're privy to that knowledge, the ones you look up to, admire and/or respect can become far too ordinary.

I guess I kinda had something like that going when I was in the army. After seeing the depths of loserism some people can succumb to, it does make one wonder what kinda people some of the conventionally-revered persons in society have been before they got there. Especially officers, since they're the ones who often have the resource to become important people in future.

You get to see the worst in potential celebrities as they slug it out backstage on reality TV or when judges spew out all their faults as if they were little kids. Increasingly, celebrities are appearing on personality profile sites like Facebook and Myspace, bringing them far down to earth that they're practically touchable. And on the other hand, normal people are garnering increasing celebrity status through media such as blogs. People also get recognition through talkshows that increasingly wish to propel stories of ordinary people into the public media sphere, such as Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Springer.

I don't really know what's worse. That superstars now are becoming too ordinary, or that the plastic nature of superstardom is invading our normal lives. But if you're talking about the sanctity of being grounded in reality, then the pervasiveness of the celebrity status into the realm of the ordinary does sound like the greater evil, along with it's creeping voyeurism of the public overriding the private.

Discretion is being able to raise your eyebrow instead of your voice.

Audio Candy:
Bowling For Soup - 1985

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