The Truman Show is a (1998) satiricalscience fiction film, starring actor Jim Carrey playing character TrumanBurbank. “The film depicts a series of fateful events, a phoney town, full ofactors and fake lives; enclosed in a giant dome there are high-tech simulationsthat enforce a nonstop telethon of ‘reality’. (Transparencynow.com). Online Thepremise of the film is how man involuntarily carries out a life within thisdystopian world, unaware that his entire life is a reality show that isbroadcasted 24/7, Truman slowly begins to unravel the horrible truth. As therest of humanity watch him go from “one staged situation into another, theaudience enjoy a little pathos and vicarious emotion”, (Transparencynow.
com) ofa character who is to delusional to challenge the mass world of media-politics. cultural theorist Guy Debord states ‘TheSociety of the Spectacle’, “traces the development of a modern society througha collection of thesis, that discuss the authentic social life that has beenreplaced with its representation of the spectacle”. (Debord 1967).
Thesis 6 ofthe book mentions that ‘understood in its totality, the spectacle is both theoutcome and the goal of the dominant mode of production. It is not somethingadded to the real world. On the contrary it is the very heart of society’s realunreality” (Debord 1967). Thus, does the movie offer us a metaphor for ownsituation. Especially today, where Hollywood filmmaking has provided us withcommentary on reality and free will, it’s a common part of the everyday now tobe paranoid about having this fear of being watched by the government on ourdigital devices. The manufactured world set up by the media, Truman Is situatedin is merely imitates our own media landscape that is formed of news, politics,advertising and public affairs all things we watch to be entertained and awareof the everyday.
“In all its specific manifestations – news or propaganda,advertising or the actual consumption of entertainment- the spectacle epitomizesthe prevailing model of social life” – (Debord 1967). Debords theory and themoral of the movie, routinely take towards media. In one aspect, we areabsorbed by it; and we accept the rendition of reality as we are occupied byits view (the view in which the media impose). The media have fabricated our attitudes, wefrequently experience this ‘real unreality’ through reading news stories andwatching television, movies break down from this illusion we mist however, setourselves away from this media landscape ‘prevailing us from social’ affairs’ (Debord1967). It is apparent the movie is of course a form of media depicting a “pseudonorm” (Debord 1967) of reality, yet we are consumed by its own take on themeaning of things.
The movie mass communicates the exploitation of what themedia is capable of and its willingness to parade as well as victimise, humans justfor newsworthy events for a worldwide ‘spectacle’ (Debord 1967),’. Ultimately theTruman Show portrays how the media desensitizes moral attitudes amongst thelife of Truman. In relevance, Debord embodies media as the ‘dominant mode ofproduction’ (Debord 1967), Media spectacles cover the whole world and attractsviewers globally. Critical theorists Adorno ‘real life is becoming indistinguishable from the movies’ (Adorno& Horkheimer 1944). Much like Truman who in the show is absorbed by hisstage –set world and everything that resides in it, convinced that his fakeworld is authentic manipulated by the power of media. Adorno & Horkheimerapply their studies on the many forms of social domination and mass culturethrough one of their core texts ‘Dialectic of Enlightenment’.
This text was aradical break in history in hope that emancipation: the encouragement of freethinking would become the instrument that would break man from domination. (image1) indicates the final scene from the movie where Truman decides to leave themanufactured world, to discover the new ‘real’ world. The Truman Show offers ametaphor for contemporary American culture, that is that we must distanceourselves from the safety and comfort the media offers us and be willing tolive in the world as it is. The use of the sky background (Image 1) suggestsTruman’s emancipation over the power of the media, the next two images show thereality behind the screen and the vignette around the frame vanishing,suggesting that Truman is now free.