Thursday, February 26, 2009

Flickering Pixels: CH 9

I have a confession: I always look at myself first in a picture.

I have another confession: I want to look cool in my future biographic photo that will don the back cover of my book.

One final confession: My wife took the picture several years ago in a frozen pose of youth, intrigue, and hair. (This tip was inspired by author Neil Gaiman, who stated on his website that an author was wise to market his more handsome days of youth.)

Recently, we acquired a box of photographs from Liz's grandmother. My wife and I stumbled across a startling photograph. Linking arms with her husband--deceased over thirty years ago--my grandmother stood with a wide grin. She looked genuinely happy, and expression I have little seen.

Pictures are often deceptive. They freeze candid moments and present them as common. At least, this is what our 'celebrity culture' has formed in our thinking. We see Barack Obama with his shirt off, Michelle Obama with a sleeveless dress, Jessica Simpson with hiked up jeans, and Michael Phelps with a bong. These are not accurate representations of reality, but they sell an issue for the small price of our soul.

In Chapter Nine of Flickering Pixels Hipps talks about the dark side of our image-rich culture. Cameras feed our narcissism, exploit our 'celebrities,' and, according to Amish and African lore, 'steal our souls' (pp. 95-96).

But not only is the celebrity exploited, the consumer--me and you--has believed a myth. "Our culture has descended to a place where even the natural beauty of a supermodel is simply not beautiful enough to withstand the unflinching scrutiny of the camera" (pg. 98). This comment is in reference to an ad campaign by Dove promoting 'Real Beauty' (see pg. 96).

The scandal of our photoshop-Botox-implant-makeover culture is the perversion of natural beauty. Every run through the grocery store, every session on the Internet, every perusal of the newspaper, brings us face to face with unfair comparisons. Plastic beauty is synthetic--God looks at the heart.

Unfortunately, I have little time to elaborate in this post. The topic is worthy, my ire is high, but my wife has just finished putting on her make up, and we have an appointment at Olan Mills that we're running late to.

(NOTE: This falls under the Integrity limit).

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