Distinguishing Fantasy from Reality

We now live in a world where the impossible can be done.  Many would argue the impossible has been a constant endeavour (a successful one at that,) since Mankind learned to stand up, walk, look around him, and over the ages, form tribes, clans, societies, civilisations, empires even.  Look at the feats of the Toltecs, Mayans, Egyptians and those lost civilizations such as Atlantis some would say.  And all of these statements would be true and are true.  Mankind has performed impossible feats, cured many diseases and our development as a species has been especially rapid over the past two hundred years, the previous hundred even.  The Twentieth Century has seen Mankind survive two Major World Wars, a stock market crash, the threat of possible nuclear annihilation – We have in the latter half of that Century, managed to send Man to the Moon and back again more than once.  Now in the New Millennium that seems like an impossible goal because the will, well the Political Will is no longer there to repeat the endeavours of the past and go to Mars for instance.  It is almost as if we have to start over not only to repeat feats of the past but to exceed them.

While all of the above is true, the focus of this piece is how easily people can be fooled.  How difficult it is for people to distinguish Fact from Fiction, Fantasy from Reality.

And who could blame them?  Hollywood is the greatest image maker in History.  Hollywood as a Film Industry was formed by Jewish Film makers – Dream Merchants – And they produced, packaged and sold dreams.  Dreams especially in times of hardship, enables people to forget the difficulties around them. This is why people flocked to theatres, picture houses to see dreams unfold on the stage and that big silver screen.

So what has changed?  Plenty!  But the basic principle remains the same.  Film still exists in theatres (cinemas if you will,) which are now large ‘Multiplexes’ that have several large screens or more to cater for every film goer’s taste.  There is Television of course that eventually brought those dreams of yesteryear into people’s homes and also went on to forge its own identity as a separate medium.  We now have the World Wide Web and the Internet, the platform it runs off.  Here dreams, some the stuff of possible nightmares are produced but like Television before it, it has forged its own identity as a separate medium on many levels and not just in terms of Entertainment.

Jumping back to Film, this medium took one hundred years to go from Zero to One Hundred Million Dollars in terms of financing and making a single feature.  It then took less than ten years to go from One Hundred Million dollars to Two Hundred Million dollars in terms of financing a single film.  It then took less than five years to go from Two Hundred Million dollars to nearly Three Hundred Million dollars in terms of financing and making one film.  That is how big Film still is and if it is Hollywood, it is far bigger and far more powerful than it ever was.  That is why Hollywood Studios are now subsidiaries of multi-national corporations.  The potential income they produce is unimaginable.  The same could be said of Television also.  Licences to print money.  This brings me to the story I wish to relate.  A slightly bizarre one.

The story I now relate was told to me by someone who had no business telling me but as human beings, we never know when to keep our mouths shut or when to hold our tongues.  I am as guilty as the next man and some of my dearest friends will testify to that but then I was always forthright in my views and opinion so here goes.

This person, (one of my friends,) put an ad out on Craig’s List.  No sooner had he mentioned that name, I knew exactly what he was talking about.  I knew in an instant he wasn’t looking for a job, an apartment, or selling stuff he no longer wanted.  I won’t go into the specifics too much but what he did was he placed an ad in the personals and having gone through all the spam mail and timewasters’ emails, finally read one response that seemed genuine enough, even though it wasn’t exactly what he was looking for but thought why not?  After all as he related, he had spend the best part of his day-off dealing with so many rubbish emails, he was glad to get at least one email that seemed genuine enough.

Anyway, the Lady’s name was ‘Karen’ (at least that was the name she gave,) and she was looking for a ‘Black Lover’ to satisfy her sexual needs.  Apparently her husband ‘Mark’ (as she referred to him,) was keen on the idea and had no problem with her plans – In fact, he positively liked the idea as long as he could be involved in some way.  “You’ve always been a crazy bastard,” I told him, to which he smiled and continued to relate the story.

Emails were exchanged and he wanted to move things forward. By this time, he was now talking to the husband via email also so there was some kind of three-way discussion going on and things seemed to be moving along quite nicely.  My friend had noticed that there was some resistance to them holding actual verbal conversations over the ‘phone.  He thought this strange initially but put it down to some caution on their part.  Weeks seem to go by and there was no change or interest on their part to actually pick up a ‘phone and call him (by this time he had given them a contact number).

His began to push the issue and tried to arrange a meeting and in this (he fully admits,) he erred.  An angry email by him didn’t help matters, plus by this time he had a dialogue and rapport going with the lady’s husband, who according to my friend was very helpful and compliant up to this point.  The trouble was the ‘Lady’ was apparently getting annoyed at my friend’s insistence on moving things forward and at the very least holding a verbal conversation prior to arranging a meeting.  Due to this, she left her husband to deal with the matter at hand.

So two men conversing and getting pally normally means they start talking about things, they don’t normally talk about around women.  What my friend didn’t realise that his potential lover was accessing her husband’s email and reading the correspondence taking place.  Now with the benefit of hindsight (wonderful thing that it is,) my friend realised that she didn’t want her husband to play any part in her extra-marital activities.  It seemed that he agreed to things because he had no say or no choice in the matter but wanted to get involved so talked with my friend about being involved in some manner – I am sitting there listening to all this, whilst looking into a pint class in an empty bar, while he relates this story, thinking he should be in Hollywood.

Needless to say my dear friend over-played his hand and sent the husband a video of a mature man involved in some rough sexual acts with a young lady (above the age of consent – I know this because I checked out the video link on his IPad,) and while it was truly shocking in terms of what was happening.  I saw it for what I was but I will come back to that shortly.

Now the ‘Lady’ had all this time being checking up on her husband, saw what was written in the various emails, saw the video and apparently freaked out.  Both husband and ‘Don Juan’ were up shit’s creek without a paddle and my dear friend was branded ‘a rapist’ and someone with a sick and dangerous mind.  None of these things he is or ever was.  The husband, caught up in the crossfire, told my friend he would have to deal with his wife from now on without his help.  The damage was done.  His last email from her told him he stood no chance and that was the end of the road for him.  All perfectly understandable and a little too melodramatic for my tastes.  And that coming from an Actor.

I now come back to the Video.  I won’t go into the content of the video.  It was too graphic and it was a little disturbing – And that comes from someone who has worked on the second Human Centipede movie so I am not that faint-hearted about such things.  However as someone who has worked extensively in movies, I clearly spotted what most people (women in particular,) would not have spotted (or choose to ignore,) when they began watching the video online.  And it is this:  None it was real.  It was pure fantasy made to look real.  There is no doubt that what transpired in that video would have sent any potential girlfriend running for the hills if any man sent them a link to such a film.  However, I noted at the beginning that the couple were smiling and laughing.  Browsing through to the end, the young lady was smiling, even laughing about the whole affair, which was very surprising, given what had transpired between them or rather what had been done to her.  It seemed that she had gone to this man’s apartment, undressed, was sitting on the sofa talking to the camera, when suddenly the man lunged at her and began doing what he did, leaving nothing to the imagination.  The fact she behaved the way she did at the end told me without hesitation this was not a real event nor was she a victim.  It was film production catering for the porn market side of the Web.  It wasn’t real, it was a fantasy made to look real.  The fact that it had ‘Karen’ and her husband running for cover showed that it fulfilled its intent.  To shock some, while pleasing others.

The porn industry has been with us since time began in some form or other.  It has encompassed all the media outlets I have discussed throughout this piece.  Like film it is a multi-million – probably a multi-billion dollar industry (I use dollars as the currency because the American Porn Industry like its Hollywood counterpart is huge).  There are stories of lawyers who stop being lawyers because the potential is there to earn one hundred million a year and many have!

This brings me full circle to what I was saying earlier about Hollywood as the greatest image maker and builder in History.  Every medium since Hollywood’s inception as an outlet for Jewish film makers, through to the foundation and formation of the ‘Studio System’ through to Television and other media and beyond, each new media or the convergence of existing media to create a new type of media, all have learned lessons from Hollywood.  The main lesson being if you can get people to suspend disbelief or make them think what they are watching is real, you will always have them in your thrall.  The video my friend’s couple were shocked by is no different in that respect.  The problem is when something appears too real, some folk cannot distinguish fact from fiction and that can create problems.  We have all heard stories of the actor who plays a baddie in TV series or film who does his job so well playing the bad guy that he starts getting death threats because he has done his job so well that people cannot distinguish fact from fiction.  Being an actor playing a character in a fictional story, he does his job so well that everything appears real.  So it is with stuff the porn industry produces.  It is no different.  I have never worked in the Industry but have known and worked with people who have.  That is where my insight comes from, as well as researching the Industry as part of my University Degree in Computing and Multimedia, some years back.  You put that together with my experience as an Actor in Films, then nothing really surprises.

I am not for one minute condoning my friend’s sending an email containing the weblink to the husband of the lady he was going to be having a relationship with.  But as bizarre as that situation was, in his defence (and as rocky as that is,) he thought he was getting inside knowledge from the source (the husband). He had no idea that the wife was accessing her husband’s email nor did he think for a second, she would see the video. Maybe if he had, he would have thought twice before having the kind of conversation he was having with the husband, let alone sending the video.  It backfired on him and he has learned lessons and moved on. More so when the husband asked him (via email,) whether he was ‘bi’ or had ever had any gay encounters.  Suddenly, alarm bells began ringing.  “What!?  You mean they didn’t start ringing before?” I asked him. He was dumbfounded or plain dumb.  Not sure which!  Even now!

His dilemma in a funny way was that none of what he experienced was real anyway.  He is not even sure the couple were real.  For all he knows it could have been some randy gay guy pretending to be ‘Karen’ and ‘Mark’.  He didn’t think about that until I put the idea in his head.  What evidence does he have ‘Karen’ was real?  He has a series of photographs of a slim, dark-haired scantily-clad lady but there are loads of photos online that anyone can download and keep as a gallery.  That is all he has.  Okay there is ‘Mark’ but when you put it all together everything was done via email.  ‘They’ resisted having any kind of verbal conversation with him which seemed very bizarre, given the tale I was told which I now relate to you.  Even I have a hard time trying to figure out what is real, what is fact, what is fiction. If anyone else had related the tale I have related to you, I would have put them on the first plane to Hollywood.  It sounds so fantastical, too bizarre.  He needs to pitch the idea to some enterprising producer and get a screenplay out there.

The not so new media of online content via the Web (if they still call it that,) along with email has enable us to create new realities around us and to get people to suspend disbelief or fool them into thinking we are someone else entirely.  That we live lives far removed from the actual reality is no longer an issue.  The efforts people will go to in order to make people believe they are someone other than who they really are, is worthy of any enterprising film maker with a good script.  And yet, should we ask these same people to be creative and do something truly creative and they would not have a clue what to do.  Where to start.  The fact they already do these things online creating the situations I have discussed above is neither here nor there for them.  They will have you believe they cannot use their imagination and creative abilities because they don’t realise how creative they are, even when they are putting out online ads creating personas that are a far cry from who they really are. There are more sinister examples and reasons for people doing what has been discussed here but that topic is best written by someone who is far more qualified than I.

It does seem (to be me at least,) that we live in an increasingly Matrix-like world, where the lines between Reality and Fantasy are getting increasingly blurred.  People don’t want to directly converse with other people anymore.  They would rather use text messaging, Instant Messaging (IM), Emails and if you are lucky mobile communications (‘phone).  Direct conversations or face-to-face meetings is something people seem more resistant to do now than at any time I can remember.  Internet dating or simply meeting people online is easy because it is just that – easy and requires no effort.  Personally I believe it makes for a poorer society because in the long run people get degenerate and lazy.  We are already seeing signs of that anyway.  It is one thing if need to keep in touch with family and friends that live on the other side of the world but when people live close by or even a bus ride or short train away, I could never understand the resistance to actually converse directly with that person. Without the kind of human contact and interaction that no longer really physically happens, it does not surprise me that people are fast losing perspective and cannot distinguish between Fantasy and Reality, or Reality from Fantasy.


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