Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Long Levers, Light Weights

Years ago there was a TV series called Candid Camera which took advantage of people by filming them at foolish or awkward moments. Sometimes it was just silly stuff like a 5 dollar bill on the pavement tugged away from an acquisitive grasp by an invisible thread or a set-up police event ensnaring an innocent. Sometimes it was uglier where the producers took advantage of their subjects' better natures.. There was one where a beautiful woman stepped out of an elevator into a hotel lobby naked. The women were horrified, the men rushed to her, taking their coats off to cover her. They all thought the poor girl was victimized--or  mad. The producers thought their protective response quite funny.

Last week a girl at Carnegie-Mellon University, presumably a student who has high SATs, appeared on the campus naked from the waist down, her escutcheon shaved in the form of a cross. She wore a headdress like a bishop and handed out condoms. No one rushed to cover her.

This demonstration veered close to incoherence but probably had some purpose related to the Catholic Church's position on contraception although that connection requires a lot of observer input, like modern art. So it has been with much of life as we become more accepting of vagueness, imprecision and poetic license in everything--all masquerading as strong stands. And, like modern art, the bell-shaped curve of value has become a circle where nothing is either great or small.

All this is, perhaps, best seen as a new, modern and updated version of Peeping Tom: We can look, but not too hard. 

No comments: