The Performed Life

“More fun that way!”
Is it just me or is it becoming near impossible to live life without defaulting into instant replay at every turn? Worse still, are we headed for live-streaming the peaks, valleys, and plains of our every second on earth?

Signs of this hyper-self-consciousness are everywhere. My 2-1/2-year-old granddaughter — admittedly the current star of our family’s scene, and deservedly the apple of many an eye — gets more than her fair share of video time on every smartphone around. But it was troubling to see my husband’s latest mini-movie of her. There she was, delightfully, charmingly running in circles around her new, empty, and still-unpainted room in her family’s new house. After she’d made herself good and dizzy, she stopped, swerved a bit, and then headed straight for the iPhone, hands extended. “I want to see the picture,” she said. “I want to see the picture.”

Today, I opened an email from a friend in India, whose son is embarking on a 5400-mile roots trip, a 40-day yatra (pilgrimage) through his vast country. The young man’s announcement contained several hyperlinks, one being to the tiny looxcie, a hat-mountable video camera that is designed for streaming and social media. The company’s motto? “Share life as you live it (It’s more fun that way.)”

What drives this ramp-up in mirroring technology and obsession with being observed? Can we blame this real-time narcissism on Snookie? On Mark Zuckerberg? On Baby Boomers? (Surely, Boomers must be at least partially responsible, as they — we — are for so many societal ills.) As blogs are to novels and facebook friends are to friends, is simulacrumism to authentic living?

Where do we go from here? #hell #inastreaminghandbasket