Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My Reasoning For Watching David Blaine

Generally, I pride myself on an ability to resist the strong tide of popular culture and sensational media, but last night after returning home from work I found myself in front of my Television set for two whole hours. I make a conscious effort to keep my TV watching during the week to an absolute minimum, so two hours on a Monday night was a significant commitment.

The purpose of my drone-like television consumption? Why, none other than David Blaine’s most recent death-defying stunt!

At some point during my time in junior high school (‘95-‘97) network television caught onto David Blaine’s signature brand of street magic and roughly a decade later the larger population is still watching in bewilderment and wonder. The voyeuristic pleasure derived from sensational media has become the linchpin of contemporary television and greater popular culture, and while I understand this, I still have trouble turning the television completely off and averting my eyes when others are watching. I should know better, right?

In the two hours that Stuart Scott (perhaps my favorite media personality of all-time) and ABC worked to keep the viewing public’s interest, I continued to ask myself why I was watching this ridiculous public spectacle that had absolutely no bearing on anything of even tangential personal interest. I came up with a few reasons:

-I’d have something to speak to my middle-age co-workers about on Tuesday next to the water cooler.
-If Blaine successfully broke the world record for holding his breath under water I could convince myself that I saw history! Whether or not that history is relevant or not is a completely different question…
-If Blaine drowned (God forbid!), I’d have some really interesting water cooler talk for Tuesday!
-Though it was a live broadcast, did ABC have the decadent gumption to let someone drown during primetime?
-At some point during the broadcast I figured that some rationale would be given for why Blaine was allowed to set up shop in Lincoln Center, the storied capital of performing arts.

Alas, the anti-climatic ending to this live network television event consisted of Blaine only holding his breath for a bit more than 7 minutes after spending an entire week submerged. If nothing else, I came to respect the physical and mental endurance that Blaine’s effort -- not completely futile because he did set a record for time submerged --demonstrated. In some respects, this is the same skill set that many world-class athletes rely on.

That’s a good excuse-- I mean reason.


Brother Afrocan said...

Spotless, I too was drawn into watching the Blaine spectacle. I found it ok, I really was impressed by what he managed to achieve even if he did fail to break the world record.

However, what I DID find ridiculous was his sentiments at the end

“I am humbled so much by the support of everyone from New York City and from all over the world,” Blaine said. “This was a very difficult week, but you all made it fly by with your strong support and your energy.”

- Come on mang!, difficult is the death of someone close to you, difficult is katrina wiping out all your physical belongings, generally speaking difficult is something UNAVOIDABLE! Maybe I am making a big deal out of nothing, but I did feel he was getting carried away with the hyperbole over an elective exercise- He should be talking about how much fun he had challenging himself instead of lamenting non-existent woes.

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