It’s just a bit of fun, isn’t it? Playing make-believe and pretending to be someone else. With costumes, scenery, make-up and adopting a different persona, people are convinced of what they see. Suspending reality for a moment or a short time to be immersed in the fakery, your own brain playing along and helping to create and sustain the illusion.
But where does that illusion end and reality really begin in some people’s minds? It’s been noted for years how some people struggle to separate the two, often thinking about soap operas and storylines as if they were real. Thinking about the characters as if they are real, and often taking influence from these constructed ‘lives’ to learn about their own. Not always in a good way. Don’t get me wrong, people don’t need to watch constant drama to become it, some people are genuinely a whirlwind of instances they create and cannot manage effectively, and mayhem usually follows. But the television portrayal of it is a constant and exaggerated version of that.
Following soap operas though, came the boom in reality TV. Big Brother (aptly named) popped up at a turning point, with others quickly following. It must have been realised by the behaviour department that although people could be manipulated and influenced with completely fictional characters, pretending those fictional characters are real people, was an interesting twist and one which was obviously of benefit. And that’s where I realised that’s what we had anyway. The people now deemed ‘celebrities’ have been paraded here and there for quite some time, where apparently we are shown moments in their lives, their ups and downs, romances and disasters etc off screen. Revealing things from behind the screens and closed doors, as if you are being allowed to glimpse their ‘real world’. Making them the soap opera when acting, then reality TV when not.
Which leads me to one actor in particular, who has stood out recently more than most for his apparent ‘revealing’ of his issues surrounding his career and thought process towards the ‘system of entertainment’. But it’s not a new revelation to me, and isn’t to many others I suspect. What he thinks he is revealing though is to tell us of how the person we think is the actor, is also a role being played (where I had to kind of chuckle and think, no shit sherlock). Scripted and contrived for purpose and effect, as they all are. But that particular actor, Jim Carey, has an interesting catalogue behind them, much of which I have enjoyed I shall admit. Because there is something else there, beyond the ‘zany expressions’ and overdone presentation, which is what made him seem like a character for the longest time anyway.
Some of the films seem to display an extra tone to them – The Mask, Cable Guy, Batman Forever, Liar Liar, Truman Show. Some of the others have things too, but those are a little trail towards the persona for title of them and content. And the first one being a strange concept, of a mask you put on, with it having its own ‘life force and personality’, taking you over and being all the things you ever wanted to be. Seems like a possible analogy for AI, or what they have now called your avatar. An online personality you create and nurture, to show the online world what you want to be, hoping that maybe you will become it in real life. But not noticing how you become more and more a part of the virtual existence, because that is where you can be the ‘you’ that you think you are. But is it you? With talk of AI becoming more progressive within ‘social environments’, there being holographic generated imagery of deceased people and of programmes keeping peoples social media accounts ‘alive’ after they have passed. With voice mapping and created images to help people with their grief apparently, letting the person ‘live forever’ in the cyber world. Might sound advanced to some, but it sounds downright creepy to me. And as if they are slowly erasing the real identities and lives of people, wanting them to be fully in a system, whether you are dead or alive. Seemingly that you will no longer have a choice about your consciousness soon as well as your body.
We have various types of masking these days as well to confuse what we think we see and know. Prosthetic masks, painted as a development within entertainment, Hollywood being the main point where lots of things converge. But we know that if there are creations that would easily trick the eyes, then all sorts of agencies would have been employing them, way before entertainment. If something becomes public knowledge, then it has been around for more than an age. Information has been controlled for the longest time, since they worked out to open a patent office, to intercept all the ideas and inventions that creatively flow through people. And that leads to a very bottlenecked version of what should be, and I guess I would it call a masked reality. Things feel stunted and held back, because they are. As if all you have to do is open the gate and everything can get through together and spread out and grow naturally. Instead it’s contained, separated into different lanes and holding carts, herded into dusty rooms to sit and wait. Breaking the flow of energy and creativity and changing it into frustration and confusion. That’s why they have so many hoops to jump through to be able to achieve anything, or be anything, or to want anything. People end up spending so long trying to fight and change the system that they never get to the potential they are being held back from, but still end up being part of it. As everyone does, but that doesn’t mean we should stop imagining or planning for a better way…