“In the New Media culture, anything good you do is tossed in a pit, and you are measured by who you are on your worst day. What’s the Boy Scout code? Trustworthy. Loyal. Helpful. Friendly. Courteous. Kind. Obedient. Cheerful. Thrifty. Brave. Clean. Reverent. I might be all of those things, at certain moments. But people suspect that whatever good you do, you are faking. You’re that guy.” Alec Baldwin
You have to love it when someone has just had enough, and instead of sitting on the sidelines, they helplessly try to make their peace with their antagonist. Especially when it surfaces as a public rant. The rebellious part of me roots them on, but there is the other part of me that feels sad they were brought to the point of insane expressionism. One minute you can be feeling light and airy like a painting by Monet, the next minute you feel like you’re being devoured by Saturn in one of Goya’s “Black Paintings.”
We’ve all been there- especially at the end of a relationship that has gone totally downhill. After long periods of distress with anyone, you reach your breaking point. It is how you handle those breaking points that can create a defining moment in your life. You might find yourself hurling a spoon of mashed potatoes at your brother’s face like Kevin in the Wonder Years during a family dinner (insert laughter here!). Or you might be like Alec Baldwin earlier this week, writing an angry manifesto to the world of media saying “goodbye to the public life”.
Projecting Our Positives and Negatives
Yes, guilty as charged- I read it. And, I have to admit, I feel compassion for him. People who live in the public eye, whether they are “celebrities” or “politicians”, have drawn a tough lot in many ways. Everything they say or do is scrutinized, judged. The person that once existed in that shell of a body eventually becomes objectified by a media that has become a constant feeding source for the ego. They aren’t human beings anymore to the public that reads these stories or checks out their picture in People magazine. They become a story, an image to laugh at, an image to aspire to- but the human being, the world unto itself, slowly disappears in the words that try to paint a picture about them. The rabble will project their light and darkness on them and make them become what they want in that moment. It’s like an energy vampire feeding time.
Remembering Compassion, Remembering We Are Not Objects
In conjunction with this, I recently saw the film about one of our world’s most objectified women- Diana with Naomi Watts, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. I knew nothing about this film, and saw it on Amazon one night, wondering what the heck it was and its take on her life. To say the least, it was very well done. The film showed how difficult the life of Princess Diana became towards the end due to the media, eventually leading to her tragic death. She developed all of these strategies to get to places without the media’s knowledge, just to do something that we would see as mundane. Getting a hamburger for her was like obtaining a visa to visit Azerbaijan.
Towards the end of the film, before her fatal car crash, she attempted to eat a meal at her hotel’s restaurant, when a camera flashes from another diner. She had absolutely no privacy and you could see in Naomi Watts’ performance a shell of a person that had lost the love of her life because she couldn’t avoid the media’s attention.
Alec Baldwin stated in his letter that, “In the New Media culture, anything good you do is tossed in a pit, and you are measured by who you are on your worst day.” I find this statement fascinating, because it is true that we appear to another as they choose to perceive us. Yes, we all have “bad” days. And, yes- we all have “good” days. That’s because we are all of it- both good and bad. We never know what a person is going through, how their world may be falling apart or coming together. Knowing this, it may help us to be more compassionate beings and remember when you do see someone falling apart- that could be me.