Rejecting Reality

So, I was just in the gym. On the television was a program that had something to do with a contest where you could win an X-box 360. I was not really paying attention as I was focused on the screen showing Trading Spaces. However, I occasionally caught it in my peripheral vision, and I happened to see the screen divided in such a way that it showed the face of the contestant, the face of some hot movie star chick, the face of someone I assumed to be the “judge” and at the center of it all, the screen of the video game that the contestant was playing. My jaw kind of dropped. Surely I wasn’t really seeing this.

Now, as a child, I didn’t really like playing the video games because I was the type to die over and over again at the same spot, get immediately frustrated and go find something else to do. Yes, even as a Mario Brother, Sara is a klutz. So when I would go to my friends’ houses to play, where some of them enjoyed doing the video game thing, I would often enjoy just sitting back to watch. Ironically, the more advanced these things have gotten, the less fascinated I have become. Ask my husband what I do when he’s playing his. That’s right, I read a book, go visit the internet, perhaps even do the whole going to the gym thing. In other words, I’d rather not just sit there and watch.

But perhaps some folks still do prefer to watch someone else play a video game. Why else would they show it on television? Perhaps whatever demographic this show is geared toward has not outgrown this pastime as I have. But really, have we run out of stuff to put on television already? Is even “reality” not good enough anymore? This just utterly confounds me. It’s like Escape Squared. Not only are you sitting there watching TV, but you’re watching a show that makes you watch someone else play a video game. Is this for people who are too poor to be able to afford systems like the PS2 and X-box? Or for people too lazy to go all the way over to their game systems to press the power button and retrieve the controllers?

Maybe I’m overreacting. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I am. But we’re so bombarded with these computer-altered images everywhere we turn–magazines, movies, commercials, even documentaries–that I just can’t help but be a little bit sad that it’s gotten to such a point where we can’t even tell what’s “real” anymore. That reality isn’t good enough. It no longer sells.


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