Friday, April 27, 2007

Voyeurs All

I haven't seen the movie "Disturbia," but I from the trailer, I think I get the gist, and I find it curious that it is the number one movie in the land.

Is that because it's a great movie?


But I suspect something more's at play.

A modern-day nod to the master, Alfred Hitchcock, whose "Rear Window" stands the test of time as a phenomenal film - these works of fiction tap into the insatiable curiosity leading us to look into other people's lives without having to be invested in them.

For some, such curiosity is fetish - for others, still, it is escapism. If we can look at someone else's plight, we don't have to think about dealing with our own. And as it is with any of us who, without a system of accountability, if we don't have to deal with the issues of our own lives, we won't.

So, we watch Mary Winkler's trial. Glued to it. The preacher's wife who kills her preacher husband, and the rest of the world gets to hear what is, at times, the harsh reality of the bifurcated world in which some clergy families live.

We fain disgust at NBC for airing snipets of the multi-media manifesto of Cho Seung-Hui, the deeply troubled young man whose rage found expression by murdering 30 something people and injuring just as many more. We don't want to see it, but we do. We want to look in the eyes of someone who does the unimaginable to see if we can figure out why.

We make value judgements of Alec Baldwin's tirade at his child played from a voicemail - we're looking into the window of someone else's life. Does celebrity mean that all measure of privacy is lost? What he said was inappropriate, sure - but to have it shared with the world is wrong, maybe criminal, and is at least tacky.

But we keep looking in - and maybe get a little rush that someone else's "stuff" has been exposed.

We are "Peeping Toms" of another kind, and sadly, I'm not so sure there's any turning back from that.
Truly, it exposes the lesser angels of our nature.

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