Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Art of Reality (DS)

We had a dream......and in that dream we found ourselves strolling through the surreal terrain of Dutch renaissance painter H. Bosch in “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, and felt as though we were immersed in a modern reality feature film that only Tim Burton could direct.

Our voyage through this intoxicating dreamscape plunged us without thought of consequence deep into a world of art imitating life imitating art. To a place where we were incapable of separating fact from fantasy, for the reality is that there was no difference.

And like every true pageant of the masters where a two dimensional painting is brought to real life, we watched like voyeurs as the indulgent derangement of earthly pleasures before us morphed into a third panel reality war zone.

The reality wars being waged within our dream were inescapably dominated by the Balloon Boy posse and the D.C. No R.S.V.P. party crashers. We were rendered speechless as both competitors deliberately left in their wake a smoldering third scene battlefield fully decimated by outrageous exploits – all dramatically delivered with the flamboyance required of a successful reality show audition. A couple sets of felonious fingerprints were left behind in the scorched earth as well, with perhaps a couple more to follow.

Apparently in the real world, the end is meant to justify the means. This ostensibly translates for many to mean no rules, no boundaries, no limitations, no dignity and usually no talent. So when we see that big reality bull burst into a stampede through the china closet of innocent bystanders and carelessly shatter lives and livelihoods while screaming “me, me, me!”, we’ve bizarrely come to accept that even bad publicity is still publicity.

Well, psychology 101 has long asserted that negative attention is better than no attention at all. Yet to repetitively reward the bad behavior of attention grabbers with the media attention they're aggressively hungering for has not only helped create a ravenous monster always starving for attention, but has unquestionably sustained it.

As narcissism continues its incessant me-parade across our high definition screens, and Pavlovian conditioning reinforces the belief that anything and everything goes in the insatiable quest for notoriety, we can only wonder when going too far will just be going too far.

And then we woke up and realized that Bosch’s vivid, yet surprisingly realistic, illustration of life’s temptations and the human condition has lost no relevance with the passing of time and civilizations. Can we reasonably expect the master’s real life garden of earthly delights to remain as relevant in the coming centuries as it is today?

15 minutes: too long for reality show media mongers, too short for the truly talented. Spend 15 more minutes reading all about it in our ‘In The Rear View Mirror’ May 12, 2009 posting "The Boyling Point".

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