Art imitating Life imitating Art

October 2, 2009 at 4:29 PM 5 comments

I suppose it’s nothing new.  When I think back through the ages, I think of Shakespeare recounting star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet, King Richard III, and Julius Caesar.  I’m thinking that people have kind of always been doing the same things for quite some time, and how often the mere reemergence or “modernized” view of some concept revitalizes it to imitation.  Charles Caleb Colton once said that “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.”  But what happens when people choose to imitate insincere and petty things?  What happens when we start mocking reality?  Oh, how our culture has turned to perpetuation of thoughts, ideals, and behaviors completely unbecoming of them, and their victims, and how often this is venerated and imitated for entertainment purposes.  What happens when reality shows become reality.  Can we still tell our children “That’s make-believe” when our entertainment culture destroys our real lives?

The Land of Make Believe

The Land of Make Believe

I’m a huge advocate of freedom.  I’m never going to tell you what you can and cannot watch, nor do I believe anyone should tell you what is entertainment you should or shouldn’t experience.  The fact is, it is you and I that are driving this sick ship.  It’s our choice!  The public has spoken.  We choose to sit and watch people in mock reality.  Confusing ourselves of information and entertainment.  Choice is our one gift that makes us who we are.  Everything is about choice.  Every decision you make comes with a responsibility of cause and effect.  Even your mood is based on choice.  You have the power to choose to be happy.  No one can make you angry.  No one can offend you.  That is not to say that those people who choose to say offensive things, or choose to try and anger you aren’t making poor choices, but ultimately, you have the power of choice in how you react.  It is probably your single most powerful thing you as a human being could ever posses.

Two stories really brought this to mind:

Jon and Kate plus 8 (now: Kate plus 8?)

The beginning of the end

Far be it from me to interject any real opinion about what happened with their marriage.  To say I don’t care is too crass.  It is very inconsequential to my life.  However, I can only imagine the strain that eight children place on a marriage to begin with, then with added pressures of a show, with ratings, it was all probably too much.  I empathize with a young couple trying to make ends meet thinking this was a good idea.  I can understand how fame can fan the flames of an ego to burn a desire for more and more.  Was it worth it?  That’s what we have to ask ourselves.

David Letterman’s Blackmail

David Letterman is blackmailed

David Letterman is blackmailed

I bet he didn’t see this one coming in his mailbag!  I bet this will make his Top Ten list of nightmares!  All joking aside, I know David Letterman isn’t “reality TV” but here we have a CBS News producer Robert “Joe” Halderman using an entertainment medium to push an agenda for blackmail.  48 Hours was always using real life to make entertainment.  But as media and entertainment permeate our lives in new and inventive ways, the victims and the ripples this makes impart real damage.  As much as people enjoy watching train wrecks, literal and figurative, are we really no different than the Mayans or the Romans watching people get torn apart and lives destroyed in the rings?

Our egos attempt to strengthen itself with power by balancing and bolstering the side of a triangle, to become equilateral.  The three sides of the Power Pyramid are Fame, Wealth, and Sex

Pyramid of Power:  The building-block of human ego

Pyramid of Power: The building-block of human ego

The larger the pyramid, and the more equal the triangle, the more fun and exciting it is to see it deflate.  There’s a certain satisfaction in watching people fail because, while we may not be growing our pyramid of power, our egos become bigger in relation to the fallen.  We see them more human and this in turn makes us feel better, but what are we really saying about ourselves?  When we as a society start blending entertainment with reality, what are we saying?  Are we feeding the desires of our egos?  Are we saying that our reality has to be entertaining or that our entertainment has to be real?  If one begins to expect entertainment for existence, when that becomes reality, where will you go to escape?  What are you escaping from?  Our entertainers become purveyors of life.  Our life becomes a medium, scripted for maximum effect, playing 24 hours a day, stripping us of our unique essences.  Here’s to hoping that we make the best choices and recognize when we’re becoming the train wrecks.

Tell me what you think!

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The menace of the public option 9 lives

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cindy Hanson  |  October 3, 2009 at 10:45 AM

    true power is in submission…..

    Reply
    • 2. Nathan Schmidt  |  October 3, 2009 at 8:37 PM

      I was speaking of a psychological trait of the power-seeking ego that all humans have. Are you referring to submission of God? Just making sure I fully comprehend your statement.

      Reply
  • 3. Cindy Hanson  |  October 4, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    actually, no… but can be that too… the concept comes from…. well, some leadership book I read… that catering to others egos, a person has more power to inspire them to wanting to participate in accomplishing your own goals. sounds more manipulative than it is…. but I have found it effective in initiating response in the workplace, and that makes my job easier, despite a little more intentional mind work…. which at my age is a little slower than it used to be!!! 😉

    Reply
    • 4. Nathan Schmidt  |  October 4, 2009 at 11:51 AM

      I’m familiar with that one too. Thanks for clarifying! 🙂 Very true, though. If you can convince people that a decision is essentially their idea, they’re much more willing to “buy in” to what you’re doing. I know some folks who are really good at this management style. I’ve never been too good at it, myself. If you’re familiar with the strength finders, my #2 strength is ‘command’. So….yeah.

      Reply
  • 5. :)(:  |  April 11, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    &+@+!=!), perfect destruction reflecting a *+#=!! world…….

    Reply

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