‚Äú‚Ä¶it always strikes me as odd that people see my world as something alien and strange, while a world made up of ultra-handsome, charismatic models seems normal‚Äù
‚Äì Daniel Clowes, alternative comic artist, responsible for works such as Ghost World, David Boring and Caricature, when asked about the ‚Äúweirdo‚Äù nature of his characters.
I am not actually a ‚Äòreal‚Äô comic fan because of the unaffordable prices but being a fan of beautiful things, I do check about the world of comics and read about the comic scene. For the uninitiated, there is a genre simply known as underground comix, comics designed for adults and distributed through restricted channels because of the often violent and sexual nature of the content. Daniel Clowes, a Harvey Award winner, are one of the artists from the genre and in his Ghost World was made into a motion picture by MGM, released in 2001.
The characters in Clowes comics are all average people, like you and me. Pimpled youth going through puberty hardships, failing to get laid post high school, losers..no superheroes in tight suits and super power abilities. And guess what, the comic with orientation around an everyday character is categorized as ‚Äúalternative‚Äù genre from the mainstream.
On a deeper thought about Clowe‚Äôs statement above, I realize how true that was. How we have been conditioned by the media of the perfect body, perfect skin, beautiful faces of the people in the TV that when we look at ourselves in the mirror we see a weirdo. This may sounds like an exaggeration but it isn‚Äôt. We get bored looking at the people around us, we seek our TV for our escape, feasting ourselves with eye candies; the high cheekbones, double eyelids, durian abs, big mansions, fast cars. Is that also the reason why indie film, showing real, unglossified situation of the poeple will never appeal to the masses?
The role of media, especially the television has been more and more prominent in the modern society‚Äôs life. In the present where the participation to community-based activities is low, people refer to the TV for the norm in the society: what are other people wearing, what is the acceptable opinion, what is the opinion to support, what activities to indulge in the weekend. Whereas everybody know that is not the true representation of the condition of the people. It‚Äôs like how Bollywood movies are to India; a false mirror to the true poverty condition of the majority of the population.
Most of us realize the fact stated above, but as long as one dedicate their time in front of the idiot box or reading Vanity Fair, one will be volunteering self to the conditioning by the media; wear this, get accepted; eat here, get spotted; what to do to get what you want (BF Skinner‚Äôs theory of operational conditioning)*. Don‚Äôt think so, people are smart, they will not get affected by advertisements! , some might say, but if we look deeply, most human are very much submissive creatures to any sensations tickling their senses that does not need active participation (doesn‚Äôt need thinking); sight, sounds, of the TV. You may not be influenced the first time you watch an ad, but after being told a dozen times, you are affected subconsciously.
Another matter of opinion from me. I don‚Äôt know how to end this. Hope that it helps to offer a view.
* Burrhus Frederic Skinner is one of the prominent figure in behaviourism psychology theories, especially related to operational conditioning. Skinner puts a few cute mices and pigeon in hunger and trained them to push buttons or pull levers. The animals were then place in boxes with buttons and levers and every time the animal did the ‚Äòright‚Äô action (of pulling the right lever), a pellet of food will be rewarded. After sometime, predictably, the animal learnt the right action. (Is that really the right action? What if the people is not around? Does buying the certain product really will get you more admirers? The conditioning rules are made by people anyway
an interview with Dan Clowes