Monday, August 3, 2015

Media and Friendship


Over the course of five years of blogging I've written about the concept of friendships and relationships on many occasions. I've been left with more questions than answers as I'm often an observer and much less a participant. In that, though, I've wondered why that is; why is there this feeling of inadequacy? What constitutes a friend, or more? What are the rules? How is it rated? I've been confused and then I had a revelation.

I go back to my chapter Film Theory in Finding Kansas coupled with my Cement Theory from my yet to be published second book. Real quick, Film Theory states that whatever happens first always has to happen and Cement Theory covers that a mind on the autism spectrum is much easier to work with whilst younger meaning that the whatever happens first is much harder to delete the longer it goes on. That being said I'd like to introduce to you the media.

Ah, the media. Well, more like the realm of entertainment. If you watch any sitcom there will almost more than likely be a circle of friends. It'd make for bad television to have a show with a single star and no supporting cast, but besides that every show I've watched has had a cast with tight bonds. This goes from the cartoons I grew up with to the modern shows such as How I Met Your Mother or, to simply use the word I'm trying to sum up, the shoe Friends. Friendship abounds in almost all forms of scripted television and as a witness to this it has left me with a clear vision of what friendship is. However, does life work like that?

Then on the opposite of this media spectrum (not referring to autism spectrum for once while using the word spectrum) are movies where the primary character is a curmudgeon and is all in all miserable. I think back to the movie As Good As It Gets in that a writer with OCD leads a miserable life of solitude until a sequence of events changes it. However, until the story plays out it is clearly shown that being alone equals a life of misery. So here's the thing; if the friendship portrayed is impossible (or at least impossible for me to achieve if it is even possible) and every movie or television show that has depicted a person alone has equated to a life of misery then what is my fate going to be?

This is the hazards of the (at times) wonderful world of media. Movies can be an art form and can touch on topics and show a version of the world that few understand. At the same time it can create an image of how life should be and what friendship is like. It can paint this unobtainable picture of what life is when by all my estimation it can not; however it is difficult to shake off the hopes that I've witnessed many characters have and that is a circle of friends that go out and do things, get into a bit of trouble, and have everything solved in 30 or 60 minutes. (or perhaps four months on a season ending cliffhanger.) On top oh all that it can be murky even knowing if one is a friend because it isn't what or how it was first depicted on television.

Life can be confusing. It will be more confusing to a person on the autism spectrum because there are so many conflicting images of what life should be like and they come in at a bombarding fashion. There is nothing minute to the seamless ease that characters on television have when it comes to making friends. As I watch people that I know navigate the social world with the precision that I can only shake my head in disbelief in I wonder if my destiny is to turn into a curmudgeon and become bitter at the world because the world was not the way the media shows showed me how it was. Is it that way for anyone else? Here's the thing; I'm not anyone else. I'm me and to be alone in a crowd and to watch others on screen and in person so easily navigate the social world I worry a life of solitude is the only outcome. Perhaps though there will be a plot twist, with something wacky, maybe a chance meeting when I least expect it, and that destiny will be averted. Will it happen? I don't know, but if you believe almost every movie that's been written it's a guarantee. To finish though, how long can I hold out hope when the media's image of life has been proven wrong, for me, time and time again?

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