Saturday, November 10, 2007

Struck Out and Synthetic Love

The political right wing here, as of recent years, has not been overly fond of respecting people's rights. Workers' rights in particular seem to be especially uncool, with all their efforts to support the dissolving of unions. It would seem that they'd like us to believe that workers' only right should be to do what they're told by their employer, as so to remain employed and receive a paycheck at all. Clearly, these fellows are the epitome of decent, sympathetic human beings, like many on the right, valuing gigantic companies far more than the common man and woman in our workforce. But this isn't exactly an uncommon sentiment in our blindly capitalistic, consumeristic society. After all, there's happiness in those thar products! Open your wallets, lasses and knaves! Give us enough and we'll plug the joy right into your veins! (Please note: Nothing purchased will ever bring you happiness but we'd like you to continue operating under that misconception so that you'll continue giving us your money in pursuit of a fantasy at the end of a rainbow.)

Despite these union-stomping efforts, they couldn't stop the biggest strike in years - the Writer's Guild of America strike that began on Monday. Writers weren't getting a cut of the profits on DVD sales and internet viewings of episodes. The networks liked this - the less people there are getting a cut of the profits from whatever they can separate them from, the more money the network gets out of it - so instead of settling, here we are. The Screen Actors Guild is supporting this strike as well, with its outcome affecting what shares of the profits actors receive as well. Of course, the networks don't want to shell out said share of the profits, and once again - it's strike time. (Which is kind of like Hammer Time, but more important in the scheme of workers' rights, while Hammer Time really only affects a mostly-forgotten rapper from the early '90s and internet people who won't let the joke go.)

So far, the strike has hit day-to-day programming the hardest. Talk shows of all kinds, late night comedy, things like that. With the writers not getting the appreciation they've deserved in their cut of the fruits of their labors, the networks are taking hits already. People like fresh programming, as do advertisers. The reruns they're falling back on will only stymie their losses for so long, and they know this. When the time comes, they'll sit down, and they'll settle. But as writers are largely unappreciated in daily life, this strike underscores their importance. Without them, television effectively falls apart, after all. And primetime programming is just beginning to see the strike's effects. Without writers, sitcoms are halted, as are ultimately dramas as well. (Luckily for myself, nothing I watch has run out of scripts yet.) Though for some, this strike may come as a reprieve. Fame can have a creepy cost at times.

At times like this, all one can do is hope for a swift and just end to the strike, and in the least, take a minute out to appreciate the importance of these writers in our daily lives. Even if most of what's on TV is garbage.


Oh boy, just what you were hoping for! The second half of this entry is going back to the shorter one from earlier this week.

For those who've been by the link in the past day or so, the guy finally found his "dream girl." Conveniently.

It's something alright, when someone sees a woman and creates a whole fantasy in his head where he must know her and have her. Though it could just as easily be seen as rationalizing wanting to sleep with her, when faced by the fact that he doesn't know her or anything about her. A moment of what is effectively no more than lust - pure physical attraction - romanticized by those sucked into the scheme on the internet.

After a moment like that, most people move on with their lives and don't think about it. But the guy's a decent looking hipster, so instead of being weird or creepy, it's romantic. (And let's not forget the part where he doesn't take any kind of realistic approach to the issue. Instead of using one of any number of missed connection services easily found for free online, he makes a staged video hosted on a Youtube knockoff just now conveniently hoping to take off and become a solid competitor, in addition to making a cheesy little trendy website.) This was all about the spectacle - the viral effect, the attention, the fifteen minutes of fame everybody's seeking these days, through the "Look at me!" internet effect.

If this guy were ugly, he wouldn't get away with this - it wouldn't have gone viral. Instead, everyone'd be calling him out, and looking at this whole situation as unhealthy. But there's good marketing in here, tapping into people's overt sentimentality - typical of people, but there you go - just taking a moment of lust on a subway and trying to repaint it as love, when even in reality, that's nothing to go on, let alone enough to call someone the "girl of your dreams."

In this real life place where most of us live, it doesn't matter how good you look externally - someone can be perfectly gorgeous and amazing in bed, but utterly worthless and incompatible with you as a real lover, as a companion, and all that love actually entails. In love, you yearn for someone for who they are, not some pretty stranger you know nothing about. That's when you just move on, normally. Rather than re-enacting a terrible Lance Bass movie to promote a website. Nobody's the anything of your dreams just because you stared at them on a train. But vimeo and the magazine (At which the woman is an intern.) involved have obviously done their work - they got these kids on the national news. (And oddly enough, it's hard not to feel kind of old here, being older than both these people, when even at my age, plenty of people aren't finding the magical perfect entirely one-sided (Though that's clearly irrelevant here, it's romantic, after all!) love. Even less so at that age. Most people spend their early twenties figuring out just what love actually is.)

They've succeeded in creating their spectacle - a media circus, in which everything's far too convenient and unreal. While the saps just keep cheering them on. "Hooray complete strangers who only just met in a stunt, indulge our fantasies of an ideal and unrealistic love!" Actual love doesn't get made into a spectacle like this. (At least, assuming your love is real and you respect the genuineness of said feelings, as well as the other person involved. And also assuming that you aren't obsessing over a stranger on a train.) I just have to hope like hell no one misinterprets what I'm doing as a cheap stunt to sell a book, as that absolutely is not the case. I'm not slapping it in everyone's faces or trying to make that a selling point or using it to garner attention as is. It's just a matter of something I'm tying to quietly do, with meaning and dignity. A stunt like this "girl of dreams" one would effectively cheapen it. In real life, a long shot grasp at a stranger would rarely if ever work out. There's a million things that would have gone wrong, complications. This is all obviously manufactured. Everything is too convenient.

In my case, I actually know the person I'm reaching out to. It's a matter of reconnection, as opposed to calling on a stranger to create one that never existed before. As it's only natural to do in this guy's case, my love has been questioned plenty of times before - both by myself and others. It's something you really should do, ultimately, as questioning yourself is typically the best way to break down that which should be, while likewise reinforcing that which is true. And I have tried to get over her and move on - you don't stay in love with the same person unrequited for over half a decade without putting up one hell of a fight. While there's plenty of beautiful, interesting women out there, I do not meet them, and people, whether women or guys, who have any chemistry with me as friends - let alone as lovers in the case of the women - are extremely rare. I don't meet lots of people, I don't talk to lots of people, I don't make a lot of connections, but I've made enough regularly enough in my lifetime to realize how little chemistry I have with most people, and how incompatible I am with nearly everybody on the love wavelength. I tried to feel things for others I couldn't feel. I tried to create connections that couldn't last when of artificial construct. I tried to stop thinking about her entirely, and to focus on other things - it's a matter of love, not obsession here, after all. I can live and function without her. And even go many stretches of months without thinking about her. But regardless of my efforts, my heart won't change. I have to be honest and realistic - and try as I might, I can't just walk away from this rare, precious connection. I've learned the hard way how few real connections you will make in your lifetime. In the very least, I owe it to both her and myself to be honest about my feelings. If it all blows up in my face and nothing good ever happens as a result, then that's what'll happen, but at least I'll have been honest, even in self-destruction. It's not as though that's my end goal here, but beyond saying how I feel here and putting that out there, I have little control over where the outcome goes from there, at least unless things take some turns I'm not expecting.

Call me a cynic if you feel that you must, but I simply prefer to temper my perceptions of love with a little realism, in all its perceived negative trappings, rather than give myself over to the illusion of a perfect, far-too-convenient fairytale romance. The world may be full of suckers for them, but these are not real love stories. The real thing's a hell of a lot more difficult and complicated than that, and if anything, it's our preoccupation with the unattainable perfect fairytale romance that leaves so many people alone and miserable with our ever-climbing divorce rates. As old Robert Frost put it best, "Nothing gold can stay."


priceless_seraph said...

It's wonderful to see someone who's fighting for what's real. The last two paragraphs made me smile. :)

Rose said...

oh dear...