British wit and raconteur Quentin Crisp wrote something which has increasingly made sense to me: “The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person.”
When that person is a lover, a spouse, a teacher, a philosopher, it makes enormous good sense in our lonely lives. However, in recent times most of us have found [or made] this other person the Mass Media. If some preeminent voice pens a New York Times editorial or best selling novel, directs a powerhouse film or grants a network interview, sits in front of a cable news camera declaiming what is true or evil in our midst, millions of minds click into slightly different gear. We’ve been changed, whether intellectual pride admits it or not.
What, then, is reality for us? What we were born to believe, what we learned in school, or now what we are being preached from “the experts.” I would especially like to pose these questions to Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano who is currently photo-shopping famous Renaissance paintings such as “The Birth of Venus” that give those classic models thinner thighs, tighter tummies and perkier breasts.
Now you see it, now you don’t! Now it’s a masterpiece for the ages, now its just for today’s eyes! I mean how many times have we witnessed people, places and events on our screens which were computerized, air-brushed, reconstituted, or totally altered? Like our candidates, our news is mostly what our Mass Media have decided to make it for us this day.
I wonder what Quentin would have thought about this report just out of Charlotte N.C. While the Media’s image of true love comes with standard equipment — youth, beauty, energy, flowers — it’s not always the reality. Larry Bushnell (85) and Columba Rosaly (97) from the same senior home are getting married this month. They’ve found their “other person” without the Media’s standard equipment. And even without speaking the same language.
The next time the New York Times, MGM, Fox News, Oprah’s book-of-the-month, or even Mr Crisp tells us something, we have a right to raise our hand. In fact, we have an obligation.
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