Tuesday, October 16, 2007

maybe reality can be photographed

portrait of my reflection, originally uploaded by zen♫♪.

Most people will say they hate reality shows but will whisperingly confide that they turned on this one and "just got hooked, but it's the only one," (or two) that they can tolerate. I can't seem to watch any of them. Even the dancing ones or the scavenger hunt ones. Least of all the love or roommate or vote-someone-off shows. There's just too little there in terms of a story to interest me. Too much condiment and not enough food.

But there is a reality show I would watch. It would be the reality show of reality shows. It would answer this burning question in my head of "who on earth would want to be on a reality show?

It would be a reality show about reality shows. It would follow a couple or a single person from the decision and idealism of wanting to become a reality show contestant to the disgust or shame or ultimate sell-out that the contestant has become after the show was over. Or after they were voted off. From their own point of view, not the point of view of the reality show itself.

It would show, with as honest an eye as TV could muster, the human life a person lead before their "reality" experience began, with all their hopes of notoriety or money or resolve to "show them how it's done" or whatever motivates a person to humiliate themselves into being filmed acting badly, along with how those dreams were ground down by the Directors and the Executive Producers who find they need to manipulate the contestant's reality to "give good drama." It would of course expose the "reality television" for what it is -- nothing even remotely close to reality -- but all for the good of our reality show, not theirs.

The hardest part of being human is being frail and making mistakes and learning from them and modifying our behavior because of it. Well, the hardest part may be taking that first step to all those steps: admitting it. And here is where my reality show would shine. We would show the people our filmings of their beginnings about what they thought, remind them of their idealism and naivety and let them realize how they look and then turn off the cameras. Allow them to understand what everyone else seems to understand about them But we would not film that realization. If it becomes an epiphany for them, then it does - but the finality of that will not be known by us, who shall be called "the viewer." The "final outcome" that TV loves so much would be left to the viewer's imagination.

What is private, should remain the ownership of the person who experiences reality, and the value of that could oneday become some sort of artistic expression or muted understanding passed along to us in the form of a poem or painting or best yet, a better reality show.

The revolution will not be broadcast, but will be what goes on after the cameras are turned off.

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