Brett McCracken has a fine article (you should read it all here) asking what are we to believe in this dubious world of deception, lies, and tabloids that we live in:
I saw the film Catfish this weekend–a documentary about a Facebook relationship. The film observes photographer Nev Schulman during his online romance with “Megan,” who he gets to know on Facebook (along with her whole family). As the film progresses, however, Nev begins to have doubts about who Megan actually is. Is she a real person? What would happen if he tried to meet her in person?
The film (which you should see) demonstrates our contemporary longing for connection in a world that is increasingly surreal, virtual, and subject to doubt. It underscores how prone we are to trust what we feel to be real, even though experience increasingly proves our skepticism warranted. Should we believe anything anymore? What can be trusted?
We used to trust authority. Presidents, politicians, pastors… Not so much anymore. It’s hard when the media constantly feeds us stories of the scandals, dishonesty, and hypocrisy of these formerly heroic, respectable officials.
MJ and I had a relative conversation about this yesterday. We wonder if Sarah Palin truly believes that America has nothing to apologize for, if Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly actually believe all that they preach daily at the Church of Fox News, and if all the tabloids at the grocery store check-out are true, exaggerated, based on assumptions, or plain lies?
In cases such as Casey Affleck, which is the center of McCracken’s article, we assume to know that he was lying about his life (or parts of it) over the past two years. The sad part is there seems to be little fact checking in the tabloid world and main stream media. In these realms of glitter, glam, and photographs, you are guilty before you are proven innocent. Worse, there are not court rooms for you to plead your innocence. As heretical as this may sound to the media junkie or realist, are the annals and details of our president, movie stars, or odd neighbor down the street ours to know or possess?
(Image: Lindsay Lohan after one of her drug run-ins. Her picture provoked the thought: how much of what the media (or her own self) reports is real?)