I will use my alien wisdom and try to talk to you human beings. I heard about a person called Jade Goody today and wondered about reality television.
Jade Goody wasn't created by television, but television gave her an audience of millions and a bank balance to match. Jade didn't have any special talents, but became famous simply for being herself on a reality television show (in 1984) called Big Brother.
Her picture has appeared in the Mirror and on the Sun a lot recently because she is dying of cancer. Yet, her path to death is being followed by a circus of newspapers and television channels. She has even hinted at the possibility of allowing television to record her death.
I feel sorry for Jade, she seems a lovely woman and is dying.
Yet I am confused about what is happening. Would humans really want to watch somebody dying on live television? Maybe, but what does this say about human beings? They seem to be very interested in watching each other; as if what they were watching is a reflection of themselves: a means to understand existence and the nature of oneself. Or maybe they are just mesmerized by the flashing lights and are too lazy to do anything else.
It reminds me about a fictional story called: The Truman Show. The story is about a man called Truman Burbank who lives in a fictional world on television. Truman, like Jade is owned by the viewers. It seems humans just want a virtual baby to look after, to reach out and love each other without being seen; to be a spectator of a living diary as somebody lives and dies.
I think this is bad. By watching another person suffer on television, humans are distancing themselves from other people; instead they are watching a circus of simulation. It is the same with war: technology (tele-visual firing mechanisms) has made it akin to playing computer games when pilots fire real missiles at enemy targets. The suffering and meaning of death is lost behind the friendly interfaces and television screens. I feel humans are not as smart or as lovely as they think. I wonder how they would react if higher intelligence appeared one day? We all know the answer I fear. Humans are warmongers.
What can be learned about watching somebody die on television? Answer: don't watch television.
Television is literally the making and the breaking of this woman. It gave her an audience, sustained her, and will be there at her end.