Are Reality Television Shows and The Internet Making People Crazy?Do you have the nagging fear that your whole life is being documented by unseen cameras, or that the Internet people are coming to get you, or, perhaps, that you may pour a glass of water from the tap and send the world into ecological cataclysm? Well you may be a delusional crazy person! And not just any old delusional crazy person, but a modern one. Well, so sayeth the New York Times in a trend piece today about crazy people. These days you just might have "Truman Show delusion" (like the movie!) or "Internet delusion" or "Climate Change delusion." But what came first, the chicken or the crazy? Most psychiatrists seem to the think that, in the case of Truman Syndrome, the fear generated by reality television—that the people of the world has gone mad for documenting each other's mundane existences, invading privacy at any cost—is simply a new trope for people who were already paranoid and delusional to grab onto. There is an air of Fear of Persecution, a good ol' crazypants standby, in the idea that cameras are documenting your every move. It's a lie, it's sinister. Everything else is fake! No one is real but me! Lonely and desperate imaginings. It must be how Lauren Conrad's dog feels. So yes the fear was always there, it's just taken on new themes. A psychiatrist at NYU tells the paper:
Most likely these people would be delusional anyway. But the more radical view is that this pushes some people over the threshold; the environment tips them over the edge. And if culture can make people crazy, then we need to look at it.
Well, right. I mean the Truman Show delusion is pretty nuts, but not that nuts. Why must that fear be relegated solely to the realm of the psychotic? Is every be-halter topped young lady bellowing and sloshing her drink around, whoop!-ing at Off the Wagon as if she were on The Real World, some sort of mental invalid? Well, maybe, but not necessarily crazy! If all behavior is learned from somewhere, it's certainly possible that our youngs are learning from reality television. They may be operating under some soft delusion that if they're not already there doing so, a camera crew could pop out and film them at any moment. And as for the other two, well... I just don't find it that irrational to be afraid of environmental catastrophe or the Internet. I mean, you could be some tinfoil hat-wearing nutterbutter who skulks around his apartment in a soiled bathrobe listening to Mozart at full-blast, occasionally darting his hands at the computer keyboard, conversing with another bathrobe-clad insane in Missoula. And that, yes, would be crazy. But the internet does open a strange side door into one's life that is easily crept through by some wicked people. It is perfectly rational to be aware of that slice-of-modern-life fact. And the environment? Well let's just say take your unborn great-grandchildren to New York City for a visit now. Because it's not going to be around when they're breathing and blinking and in the world if we continue on this Icarusian course. Or, you know, maybe I'm just crazy.