Everyone thinks that North American’s are infected with apathy. Well let me tell you something. Not only are North American’s infected with apathy, we’re simultaneously and shockingly addicted to drama.
We, as a people will sit in our extra-wide seats and watch someone else’s artificial life unfold on the television, reveling in the strife of these make-believe people. We’re amazed at the level of drama in these fictional lives. Not just amazed. Dazzled. Infatuated. Our lives are stunningly boring in comparison. I’m not a human being, I just play one on television. No wonder we’re so damned messed up.
What’s interesting is the effect this is having on us. We subconsciously create drama in our lives so we can somehow compare to what we’re being shovel-fed on the screen. We blissfully let the television warp our self-image by injecting us with the attractive artificial lives of attractive artificial people while real drama unfolds all around us. Ten thousand children starve to death, but that’s not as compelling as Tom Cruise being engaged to a girl young enough to be his daughter. Or, it won’t be, till Angelina Jolie shows us a new fashion bracelet she has for sale, the proceeds of which will be used to feed starving children. Then we too can pretend to care. Or least be able to claim we know why everyone’s wearing them.
We’re a mess. We don’t know what we want, because we don’t know how to think about our own lives without comparing them to exaggerated caricatures of lives we see on television. Our marriages have to be full of stress, deception and grief, because that’s how they do it on television. Our divorces have to be messy, because gods know you can’t be friends with someone you shared a part of your life with. All the law shows on teevee say so.
Life imitating art indeed. I don’ t know about you, but I find that so frightening I’m shitting my pants.