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Advertising policy statement
I believe we should all be concerned about “the ever-thinning boundary between reality and illusion.” Yet it’s a concept which seems, perversely, to attract us.
An early ground-breaker was the book Masquerade by Kit Williams. What set it apart was that the riddles on each page led to a real-life buried treasure. Inevitably, a cult of treasure-hunters was formed, which drove the publicity for further marketing. The book was enigmatic, artistic, altogether charming. So no problem.
But the marketing possibilities must have been ringing bells all around. The years to come offered us increasing opportunities, such as feeling part of reality shows, being invited to feel that we really knew the people on screen, being cynically manipulated to pay for those shows ourselves through phone voting. Logic might say that it’s money wasted, but every voter must believe his support, his belief, his vote makes a difference. As Nick says, “it illustrates the nature of fanhood, the way our affinities help us find purchase, a sense of identity in the world.”
Mostly harmless… But it’s another step towards our acceptance of mass manipulation.
And the marketing Nick describes, the “fiction that bleeds into fact”, is an example of the progression towards willing suspension of the boundary line. If it’s willing, what could be wrong with it?
Well, we seem to be developing a population which says, “Yes, I know you are feeding me a mixture of reality and illusion, I know you are playing with my mind so I don’t always know which is which, I know you are manipulating my emotions and my actions. I willingly give up that control and suspend my judgement – because I want to feel part of it.”
It is insidious in popular culture and literature, but translate the above for a moment into a political arena. Is that something we are making more feasible? Is it something we would wish? Is it indeed something which is already happening?
Returning to the series, the portrayal of survivalists – negative, secretive, literally underground – could also be seen as having a political agenda. In the coming energy/climate crisis, governments will want everyone sticking together and following the party line, not going off and using their own initiatives, as the off-grid community will be more prepared to do. Watch out for further media portrayals of our shared values as evil, and be sure, such attitudes will cross the line into reality.
I know I often wonder how I would be reacting in situations shown on Lost, which is one of my family’s favorite TV shows this season. Of course, you must suspend disbelief quite a bit to even be able to watch it. :)