Friday, September 20, 2013

When Immersion Becomes Shocking.

Frank Rose argues that with each new medium of entertainment albeit books, 3D movies, the World Wide Web: society gets more immersed into a world of fantasy. Especially in the past this was a concept that was feared, the lower class was on a strict schedule and needed to be doing menial tasks, although their minds didn’t have to be sharp they had to be focused. They supposedly couldn’t handle juggling fiction and actuality. In the 21st Century we know that this is not true we can read a story, take away from it what we will and not live in Wonderland. With the access to facts and information we can understand more about truth around the world, but we would rather transcend it and escape to the far reaches of imagination. With the advancing mediums our evasion becomes less of a sabbatical and more apparent in our lives. 

Even though we clearly have the cognitive functioning to differentiate the separate entities, fact and fiction, we still choose to have three conversations over Facebook while in the middle of another with someone standing next to us. While reading text we do not have the chance to see the body language that may confirm or contradict the words we would rather “keep in touch” with many people instead of focus on few fulfilling friendships. In a different way than social media, Dracula holds some significant aspects of reality although still fiction. The Count, although a monster- looks human (comparative to the use of Photoshop as mentioned in Rose’s article) he can blend in and reach societal standards and expectations. This “aesthetic reality” (what appears to be real/normal but is not [catfish!]) may draw us in because everyone feels a little misunderstood at some point. Sometimes we think thoughts or feel emotions that we believe no one else ever has, referring back to Why We Love Horror Movies, maybe we all feel like monsters inside even though we look like everyone else. Since it is never written from the point of view of a vampire we are still curious, as this character is even more impersonal we can use our own minds to fill in the rest. I believe we enjoy fiction that gives us a structure other than our everyday lives but with enough obscurity for us to make it a world of our own. In The Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff (everyone should read this book, 'tis awesome!) he explains his theory of apocalypto, basically how with the zombie and end of humanity as we know it fads that have been crowding our media we are all searching for a way out of our daily lives. In this technological age we all secretly crave simplicity. Fiction in all its forms is fairly straightforward when we watch a horror movie we expect to scream, when we read a romance novel we expect to cry but above all we expect to not be interrupted in this alternate reality, everything else can wait.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, AnnmarieMallon! You nailed it with Photoshop and social media; it could easily be argued that our immersion into these create a fantasy we escape into!

    Apocalypse movies are another really good example! We'll talk more zombies later in the semester :-)