so i watched rear window this past weekend, and while i have an irrepressible love for jimmy stewart and his cute voice, i was preoccupied for most of the movie with something that jimmy’s character’s nurse said at the beginning of the movie:
“we become a race of peeping toms. what people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change.”
which made me think celebrity gossip magazines and e!news and such things, and how easily they can turn people into peeping toms, to a certain degree. it’s so alluring to let yourself be absorbed by someone else’s life and problems, and in that sense, it’s a sort of escapism; we love to see famous people screw up their lives because it makes us forget for a moment how much we’ve screwed up our own lives. i’ve read a lot of magazine articles where actors or musicians were interviewed, and voiced their extreme contempt for the invasiveness of the paparazzi. i’m always incredulous when i read something like that, because paparazzi seems like the smallest part of the larger problem; photographers are just trying to make a living by giving the public something that’s in high demand. it seems to me that the real problem is the everyman’s obsession with famous people’s lives, which are really not that different from their own (aside from their heightened public visibility and economic standing). and then i thought about the irony of that nurse’s statement in a film, which also kind of turns people into peeping toms on a fictional world and which also functions as escapist entertainment. and then i laughed.