The Truman ShowS

In 1998, in The Truman Show, an insurance adjuster played by Jim Carrey discovered that his life was a television show; his every move monitored by cameras; every person in his life a performer, and his world a gigantic soundstage. The movie was a parable, inspired by reality television, but taking the early model of the mediated life to its outrageous conclusion. No longer so outrageous. Here, pictured, is a text message from Britney Spears' confidante, Sam Lufti, telling her exploitative paparazzo boyfriend to disappear. "If you continue to have any contact, you'll kill her." Of course, the exchange, just like the troubled popstar changing out of her dancing gear or weeping on her bed, was played out in front of the cameras. The Truman Show no longer works as satire; reality has caught up with the conceit. There is a difference, however. Truman Burbank was the dupe, unaware of his role in the show. By contrast, the central character in this tawdry soap, Britney Spears, is complicit. If anybody's the dupe, it's the audience, half-suspecting that, as in this picture, Adnan Ghalib is tilting his iPhone toward the camera, but preferring to believe that this is an authentic drama to which the viewer has sneaked access.