Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Problem With Perception

Have you ever watched The View? It's a daytime talk show starring four ladies of television, varying in age and experience and let's face it; intellect. I don't need to go on, but suffice it to say that I love a world with color. 

And being an art major for the first two years of college, I'll confess that I also love light. Together, light and hue paint the world with more beauty than most minds can comprehend. The lack of light, however, produces nothing visually appealing because as humans, we need to see it to believe it. 

Back to the original question. Have you ever watched The View? If you have, you've seen the magic of light dance across Barbara Walters face, leaving her appearing at least 30 years younger than her 84. Why? Because life is all about perception. 

So don't look too close at the lines on Barbara Walter's face and certainly don't check out her wikipedia entry. If you are a fan of hers, it will not take too much to knock her off a pedestal. That's also what makes her great, I think, and it makes her oh-so-human; more than a few divorces, family strife and turmoil, sickness and heartache. It can all be found in her story because she has lived a life well lead and a life well-documented now in social media. And sometimes the story - and the reality- is not so pretty. Hence the bright lights that flatter; creating a perception that we all crave. 

Katherine Heigl has a similar story as of late, but she is taking it a step further. Seems Heigl is suing CVS because they posted a "unauthorized paparazzi" image of her carrying two shopping bags from CVS. The perception is that Heigl endorses the brand. The reality is she probably had to buy some acne cream or Tampons (like the rest of the world) and was caught off guard. The real reality is that celebrities don't do anything without being "highly compensated." 

And if they do do something and they are not "highly compensated," they reserve the right to deny reality. That's why Kim Kardashian is so pissed about the spa in Thailand that allegedly provided her with 6 hours of luxury spa treatments a day. The reality was probably something closer to how the Kardashian clan took advantage of the spa in what they hoped would be free services and when the bill came, they were offended. The reality is the more money you have, the less you expect to pay. It's sad, really, but it's not a life of rich experiences and authentic friendships, it's a a life of endorsements and perception, in part thanks to Facebook, Twitter and Google. 

The biggest problem with perception is that reality ruins it for us all. We want to believe that movie stars, television reporters and reality celebrities are better than us. But they are not. They are, in fact, just like us. It's not far from the man behind the curtain scene straight out of Wizard of Oz. Just imagine if the reality was that everyone had a team of writers, publicists, lawyers and staff to man our Twitter accounts, update our Facebook pages, negotiate branded deals and raise our babies for us.