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Published: September 28, 2012 | 12:09 pm
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An insurance salesman discovers his entire life is actually a TV show. If you’ve watched the movie- The Truman Show and wondered whether it could be based on a real story, you’re not quite insane to have that doubt. Apparently, someone in Georgia has become a fan of the idea. Lately we see negative video footages on government and opposition aired on TV almost in every news edition. Television is all about elections, which is normal, but elections are all about indecent movie-making, political opponents spreading abusing video shoots of each-other.

The absurd story implementation of this 1998 American satirical comedy-drama film, directed by Peter Weir and written by Andrew Niccol, sounds “real” in Georgia’s reality.

This “watching idea”, even as a movie format, was much discussed. Ronald Bishop of Sage Journals Online thought The Truman Show showcased the power of the media. Bishop commented, “In the end, the power of the media is affirmed rather than challenged.”

Parallels can be drawn from Thomas More’s 1516 book Utopia, in which More describes an island with only one entrance and only one exit. Only those who belonged to this island knew how to navigate their way through the treacherous openings safely and unharmed. This situation is similar to The Truman Show because there are limited entryways into the world that Truman knows. Truman does not belong to this utopia into which he has been implanted, and childhood trauma rendered him frightened of the prospect of ever leaving this small community. Utopian models of the past tended to be full of like-minded individuals who shared much in common, comparable to More’s Utopia and real-life groups such as the Shakers and the Oneida Community. It is clear that the people in Truman’s world are like-minded in their common effort to keep him oblivious to reality.

The suburban “picket fence” appearance of the show’s set is reminiscent of the “American Dream” of the 1950s. The “American Dream” concept in Truman’s world serves in an attempt to keep him happy and ignorant.

An essay published in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis analyzed Truman as a prototypical adolescent at the beginning of the movie. He feels trapped into a familial and social world to which he tries to conform while being unable to entirely identify with it, believing that he has no other choice (other than through the fantasy of fleeing to a far-way island). Eventually, Truman gains sufficient awareness of his condition to “leave home” — developing a more mature and authentic identity as a man, leaving his child-self behind and becoming a True-man.

Joel Gold, a psychiatrist at the Bellevue Hospital Center, revealed that by 2008, he had met five patients with schizophrenia (and heard of another twelve) who believed their lives were reality television shows. Gold named the syndrome “The Truman Show Delusion” after the film and attributed the delusion to a world that had become hungry for publicity.

Used Material: Extracts from the Truman Show movie review (Wikipedia).


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