I wrote a bit earlier about the disjointed nature of modern life– the quick transitions from world to world, setting to setting.
Back in the 1980’s, when I was a teenager, a new network emerged called MTV. This was a music channel that displayed music videos– often back to back for longer periods of time. Music videos were new to the world, and so was this kind of programming.
It spoke to the increasingly jarring nature of reality. Instead of slower-paced dramas or sitcoms, using the same characters over months or even years, programming was comprised of short snippets of media, perhaps shown again but appearing in different sequences.
The music was loud, there were lots of new sounds, and there was lots of rock and roll.
MTV lessened the strain on our attention spans– and it also spoke to the rapid pace and quick transitions that are so characteristic of modern life– and that can be so difficult for schizophrenics to navigate. I can testify that, with my diagnosis, it can take some time and energy to assimilate to new situations and environments. Life can feel more like MTV than a soap opera.
Later on, MTV changed their format, and explored the world or reality television. Again, this was innovative. It brought up a new idea– putting “normal” people in front of cameras for prolonged periods of time.
I would suggest that this was an abnormal phenomenon. Being on camera is different than being off. A person tends to be aware that they are being watched– they hold themselves differently, their speech is more contrived– they tend to be more on edge– even paranoid. Reality television is not really “reality” as we know it– it represents a new kind of reality– a televised reality.
In fact, my paranoia often feels a lot like I am on camera. I sense that others are somehow watching me, listening to me, tuning in. When I am alone, I am rather part of a community, a network. The sensation is pretty convincing. It reinforces the notion that MTV accurately depicted ways that modern people think– be they natural and healthy or no.