Wednesday, April 5, 2006

On rare occasions, I find myself sucked into watching the boob tube (for something other than my favorite show Battlestar Galactica, that is) and whenever I do I remember why I like the set better off than on. Especially bad are those entertainment shows which go on about the weirdest and most mundane little things that have to do with members of the celebrity class. I feel sorry for the utter lack of privacy these stars endure.

I have a pretty awesome life, if I do say so myself, so turning off the television is easy because I have much to look forward to in my real world. But it's amazing how shrill and controlling the media can be -- all these horrible messages about valuing oneself and achieving one's dreams presented through this very narrow, rigid lenses. Throw in a load of hypocritical judgment of others to brace the fragile yet overly enlarged ego and voila! it's modern mass marketing and media.

Thank goodness for blogs, podcasts, homegrown websites and other alternative forms of expression to strike a balance. It's funny because I've heard more than one person bewail all this guerilla media. "If everyone blogs, who will read it?" they say. There is a sort of nervousness at this hyper-proliferation of ideas, words, images, video et al. A comfort with the monolithic order of traditional media.

I subscribe to a more village view of things: smaller groupings of genuinely interest-aligned individuals sharing artistic expression and celebrating life. Basically, media as a representation of various subcultures. And it's already happening.

I recently watched some old episodes of The Honeymooners for the first time, wanting to check out this classic of early television. Interestingly, in a few episodes the plot revolved around watching TV or being on TV and dealt with some of the social implications of this new technology. It made me realize that TV shows today rarely directly address the viewer. That invisible forth wall is no longer acknowledged. By erasing a certain level of self-consciousness, it becomes harder to question what is being fed to the viewer, who is essentially treated as non-existent or assuming the role of the omniscent.

It should come as no surprise that I click best with those who think critically about what they take in.


I am just starting to read an interesting memoir called Timepass. It is about the life of Protima Bedi, a classical Indian dancer, model and wife of a Bollywood star who led a scandalous and liberated life.

A good friend and former domme lent it to me. And just in the nick of time, as it gave me an excuse to stop reading another book which had become more and more unpleasant.

I had gotten almost halfway through a very thick science fiction book which had really begun to irk me. It had some violent undercurrents in it, with women and children being butchered. As the story went on, these themes became stronger and more explicit. Well actually, the killings of the children, though disturbing, were extremely light on detail. Yet the terrorizing of the women was told quite explicitly, distastefully and in a way that showed the author's true colors. It was so obvious to me, as I read this crap, that the author was living out his sick fantasies. Of course, all the while taking a righteous and condemnatory tone against the character who's acting it out. Whatever...

Back to more pleasant topics, then! I do love reading about the lives of unique women. Another great read is Athenais: The Real Queen of France, which is the scintillatingly decadent true tale of King Louis XIV's mistress Athenais de Montespan. Beautiful, brilliant, and a key participant in France's highly influential culture of Versailles, Athenais had to live by her wits in a time when women were denied conventional avenues of power. A juicy story!