I want my Verfremdungseffekt back. Our collective tech and media savvy makes me feel like I’m living a fictionalized version of my own life.
William Shatner Gets Meta
Sometimes I feel like my friends and I are living a fictionalized version of our lives as products. How many times a day do you hear someone reference what they said or heard on Facebook or Twitter that day, rather than talking about something that occurred in reality? How many times a day do you hear someone who doesn’t even have a job in advertising or marketing talk about branding, or someone who does have a marketing job talk about utilizing social media as if they have the secret that makes it work? We live in a culture that thinks itself so media-savvy that the best source of news is a comedy show , the most revered art form is reality shows, and the hippest people totally aren’t. I mean, once you move to Williamsburg to be hip, how hip are you? I love metafiction, in fact, I have a half-written novel (Don’t we all? Here’s an excerpt of mine, 116KB PDF) which uses the narrator’s time-traveling and alcohol abuse as the device to explain the writer’s block that prevents him from resolving the story for you. To add an extra layer of “meta” to the whole thing, I plan on not finishing the novel. This kind of hip media self-awareness was cool back when AdBusters was new, or when William Shatner acknowledged his own absurdity in things like this parody trailer for the movie Seven, but now it’s so pervasive that it’s actually cannibalized back into advertising. It’s gotten to the point that I honestly can’t suspend my disbelief about my own life any more, let alone a movie or a product. My fourth wall is gone. I want my Verfremdungseffekt back.
A classic example of “Meta”: