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Reality is Overrated

Posted on January 3, 2011 | By Patty Pino | No Comments

Are you old enough to remember when home video cameras first started to become popular and people started bringing them to parties or family things and somehow, whenever a video camera entered the situation, people changed.  You could be having a good meal or conversation and everyone would be relaxed and then some uncle would come through with the say-hi-to-the-camera bit and nervous people got more nervous, and outgoing people turned on the charm, and those in-between just kinda stiffened up and waved “hi” because they didn’t know what else to do?

Then, TV hit the air with a show called “The Real World” where they tried to capture that same social thing where everyone is hanging out together but there just happens to be cameras present?  What happened on that show in 1992 was sort of the same thing that occurred with your technical uncle – people became slightly warped, awkward versions of themselves for the MTV nation, and other people found that entertaining.

What was true in your family setting was true for those 20-somethings in that New York apartment – the camera changes things.

Now everything feels different.  Andy Warhol’s experiment has expanded.  The huge commercial enterprise that is now Reality Television has warped our true sense of what makes up the reality of our lives.

Technology and the interwebs have pushed entertainment into our lives every day in every way.  Videos on our cell phones, pictures and words everywhere; you’re no longer allowed to be shy or stiff.  You must have a joke, a smooth line, a sweet soundbite to share.  In this “I’m always on” world, friends become more like fans and all of us are performing most all of the time.

How can we not be confused by all of this expectation of entertainment?  Is Miley Cirus Miley Cirus today or is she Hanna Montana?  I can’t tell anymore.

In real life, now, people become impatient with those who don’t know their lines.  I’m guilty of it.  Standing in line 10 minutes to get a coffee and the person in front of me doesn’t know what they want when they get up to the counter, and I become so aggravated.  You mean they haven’t checked it all out, already?  They haven’t rehearsed exactly how they’re going to say their order?  They’re not ready for their performance?  Or, how about those people who always need help with their lines – using their cell phone – “Line, please” – to ask their girlfriend what they should get for dinner or what to pick up at the supermarket?

Do you sense it happening at work?  If your boss or some leadership person is speaking to a group of people, don’t you expect them to be perfect?  If they make a gaffe or are repetitive or lose their train of thought, do you lose respect for them?  Not only have we all become performers, but we have seen so much of this stuff, we have become intense critics, too.

You’re going to speak to me; it better be good.

Buddhists believe that reality is a big dream and that we’re all connected because we are all made up of the same essence.  I’m holding tight to that big dream part, because if I’m really connected with Snookie and her housemates from Jersey Shore, I gotta revaluate some things.

< Listen to this meandering rant, and more, on the Crazy like Patty (or Snooki) podcast TSF11 here or on iTunes >

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