When The Camera Turns On You

I heard a comment once on talk radio that everybody thinks he can act, run a country, and host a talk show.

Acting is largely reacting and a large part of the TV sports broadcast is up-close shots of members of the crowd reacting to the game.

Imagine the camera turned on you and you knew that your face filled the TV screens of millions of people? How would you react?

Some people jump up and down and wave like it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to them. Other people have more muted reactions. I think there are all sorts of age, sex, race and class differences operating here. I just saw a shot of the crowd in the India-England World Series of Cricket match and it appeared that the upper class, well-dressed contingent in this part of the India stadium displayed under-stated smiles while the working class around them whooped and hollered.

When I see someone painted in his team colors, I don’t expect that person to be a six-figure earner. In my life experience, the more intense the person’s fandom, the more desperate the life (and this fandom might dominate in arenas outside of sports such as politics and religion). If you like yourself, you don’t need to lose yourself in a team. If your happiness depends upon the fortunes of your team, you don’t have much going for you.

The more individuated, rational, intellectual, abstract, buffered and disembodied your approach to life, the less likely you’d be to express rabid enthusiasm in any context. I’d expect overall that sports fans are more tribal and right-wing than the average citizen.

Here’s one academic survey on class differences:

…the higher in socioeconomic status you are, the more independently oriented you are likely to be, while the lower in status you are, the more group-minded you are likely to be…

Because lower ranking people have fewer resources and opportunities than those of relatively high rank, they tend to believe that external, uncontrollable social forces and others’ power have correspondingly greater influence over their lives. Success for them, therefore, depends on how well they can “read,” rely on and help out others, the psychologists’ theory holds.

By contrast, those who enjoy more resources and greater class status live in contexts that enhance their personal power and freedom — larger and safer living spaces, the means to buy high-priced goods and experiences, and education that provides access to influential people, ideas and venues. These conditions give rise to a more self-focused approach to life, the theory states.

“With wealth and privilege comes this island of sorts, this increased insularity from others,” as Piff puts it.

I notice that children tend to react more to the camera than do older people and men more than women. Asians, of all the races, seem to react least to the camera.

I heard an observation that while the middle class in America welcome fame, the working class and the upper class generally don’t want it.

Here some random observations on life:

“Happiness is a liability in only one profession — attorney. Clients and superiors see it as a lack of commitment. When you leave at 6 pm, you have to look unhappy at having to leave so early. Opponents in court and depo see happiness as a weakness. Peers are jealous.” (Attorney caller to Dennis Prager)

“Being a gentleman is considered as weakness.” (Next lawyer caller)

* Saying “that ideology matters more than blood relations is a lot like saying that Chicago Bears fans root for the Bears because they believe intellectually in the Bears` Tampa-2 defensive alignment, while Green Bay Packer rooters have chosen their team out of their faith in the merits of the Packers` 3-4 defensive set.”

* “It really can’t be disputed that Jewish American men treat their wives better than men of all other religions by orders of magnitude.”

* “Unless I am wrong, Luke, you basically advocate for the shadow side of everything your father stood for?” (Mate)

* Woman: “Does nothing ever offend you because you are dead inside or because I just don’t matter to you?”

* Chaim Amalek: “You have a history of exposing the underside of every movement/activity you have attached yourself to.”

* Friend: “You just want to be a celebrity. That’s all you dream of. It’s a dream life, you want, baby. You can’t settle for the prosaic tasks of building up a good life.”

* “Luke is like a chrysalis in a chrysalis in a chrysalis, destined to repeatedly molt one identity as he take on another. SDA to orthodox Jew, and now from orthodox Jew to…”

* All of my therapists have told me that when I let my cynical guard down, I am easier to get close to.

* A friend who’s known me since childhood says: “You want everyone to love you. You want to be special to everyone. I so understand you. You have to have been unloved to understand this need.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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