The Meaning of the Truman Show

1550 Words7 Pages
In the last few years, America has undergone a significant cultural change. Previously, almost no criticism of the media reached the public, except for some of the complaints of business interests and conservatives. The media controlled the "means of communication" and it used that power to censor virtually all discussion of its own role in shaping events But now -- at last -- we are starting to get some public debate over the way the media manipulates public opinion and routinely creates fictions that masquerade as facts. The change has taken place in large measure because the media itself has become so powerful and so out of control, there is no longer any way for it to keep what it is doing under wraps. Ironically, one of the…show more content…
What gives this metaphor life is the way the movie depicts two attitudes we routinely take toward media. In one, we are absorbed by it; we accept its rendition of reality because it occupies our view. We are like children whose parents define their world. The lifelikeness and seamlessness of media fabrications and the fact that they are entertaining, help induce this attitude in us. We frequently experience it while reading news stories and watching television and movies. In the second attitude, we distance ourselves from media. We examine its meaning and try to understand the intentions of its authors. This second attitude is what makes criticism -- and freedom -- possible. In life, we frequently switch from one attitude to another and mix them together. In watching television, we may easily become absorbed in the program. Then something will jar us out of our spell, such as a breakdown in the illusion or the expression of ideas we disagree with. As a result, we will suddenly distance ourselves from what we are watching, and perhaps ridicule it or suspect the intentions of its creators. The critics of media have been trying to get us to cultivate this second attitude, so we will see through the falsehood we are offered on a daily basis. The movie depicts just such a change in attitude as a transformation in the way Truman sees
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