I understand your initial trepidation.
The statement is riddled with assumptions and generalizations that govern social perception thinking the opposite. I will not argue. However, I will write this to express my personal perspective. It may be flawed, but it is my own to pen down.
Do you know what the experience is of a child locked into a life devoid of the possibilities presented to others?
The Apple pie life of complete families, and a future mapped in the pursuit of quality education and many experiences to later in ones life, is remembered in warm nostalgia. For me, I found solace in what books and movies gave me. Probably one of the most poignant moments concerning literacy in my life was my discovery of the library, and my awe after I got my taste buds titillated. The relevance is less about the learning aspect of reading, but rather the meaning I associate with reading. To this day there is one author I praise above the rest for their contribution to literature-JK Rowling. It may be ridiculous fantasy fiction to some people, but the Harry Potter book franchise helped me so much throughout my childhood. It taught me a fantastical vocabulary, involved me honing in on the ability to deduce, and it was my escape from the pains happening in my personal life. Her works affected me so much I wrote a thank you letter to her. JK Rowling is now a multi-millionaire and celebrity. I found my reason to never fully disregard the importance of celebrities with her.
Filmmaking and acting is an art all on its own. It is exact in its objective, and versatile in every other way. Take the film “Rear Window” as a point of reference. It is a film founded on the murky sensibilities of Alfred Hitchcock, as well as the dry humor of one John Michael Hayes, a screenwriter who has written 4 of Hitchcock’s films. “Rear Window” was created based on a short story by William Irish (also known as Cornell Woolrich) called, “It had to be Murder” which was originally published in 1942. The 50s were a time caught between determined exertions by Americans to win World War II, and the cynical discontent of the 60s, following the Civil Rights Movement, and the slaying of John F. Kennedy. The 1950s were a time of reasonable economic growth in the United States of America for those who already had enough. The United States economy had been powered by Studio System for more than 30yrs, and the 50s saw it head towards eventual closure. Hitchcock was among several directors who had built their reputations during the 40s Studio Era but, as the remnants of Studio System dissolved, a time came for new methodologies towards acting, directing and the implementation of the notion of how the real world should be depicted. Alfred Hitchcock explored the darker regions of the human heart. He notes the self-destructive behaviors of humans that turn into obsessions, and he sees the dangerous thirst for power (to dominate) a man has as he attempts to remake a woman into a reproduction of his ideal woman. Hitchcock works the script so we note complex deceits that people try to rise out of one another
Voyeurism is revealed spectacularly by Thelma Ritter’s character, as she states that: “We’ve become a race of peeping toms.” “Rear Window” functions to acknowledge how social networking, media etc. possess the power to make anything go technologically viral globally in seconds. It delves into how privacy is invaded and threats to one’s livelihood have become evident. There is a justification that voyeurism, however imposing it may be on others privacy, may facilitate in something much more morally beneficial, if used. The film serves to open up other perspectives here, and debate the moral ambiguity of a hybrid world with no set rules.
It is not only this film, but many others. Many other stories, stories from the rich and the everyman, are delved into in cinema. These films reflect how one was truly raised, the values and belief systems instilled, so that when you look at a film with all these themes and ideas, you realize that you must question almost all you know to be right. In the society pages of City Press, big screens around the world, the international timeline of twitter and the New York Times etc. you will see the crumbling of institutions like respect for elders and authority, the sanctity of romantic relationships and woman’s rights. You will note how law bears its own limitations towards justice. The indifferent stratification of this decadent act of watching we partake in towards celebrity lifestyles, turns into a conscious and unconscious learning experience- to make you think about the realities and the illusions of the world around you. I do not dispute the occurrence of moral degradation the minds of most children are experiencing in the face of desensitized television, news, etc. It is despicable for children to have such easy access to things that could, and will harm their abilities to function as a fully-functioning member of society later in life. I guess it’s the perspective you take. Celebrity lifestyles sometimes provide a possible escape for those with unimaginable personal upheavals, it is an avenue that others may consider to cultivate their creative talents, it is a means to an end for those craving financial stability, it is access to the previously unattainable- a chance to eradicate an identity that has held you back, or a rebelling from a norms that prevents you from truly living the way you see life to be lived to the fullest etc.
The world needs the actor who will set up organizations that change or better even one person’s life, and the singer who becomes a philanthropist in the hopes that their vision of a better future for all is realized and that their fame can be utilized to progress the objective. The world needs the television mom visibly using their child’s fame to gain some wealth as a lesson on morality for the audience- a beacon to note where you actually stand on issues of morality. The world needs the outlet of watching these spectacular lives. It is an escape and a dream and hope and a nightmare all rolled into one. The world needs celebrities because they are visionaries, sadists, genius lyricists, moral derelicts, inspirational markers, narcotics addicts, life savers, ideological engines, and the worlds projected image of human evolution at the pinnacle. Humans crave mastery over their carnal shell. It is in the very fabric of the world’s existence that the hybrid nature of human culture, in this period, is to be riddled with flaws and speckles of hope.
- Exploiting Voyeurism and Implicating the Audience: ENG586 (thepastandprologue.wordpress.com)