All the world’s a stage. I think Shakespeare wrote that. Or Alan Alda.
At any rate, the line is as true today as it was when Jaques said it in, “As You Like It.” Or when Hawkeye put the toe tag on Frank. Whichever.
The meaning of the phrase, however, has changed. We are not all “merely players” as the monologue goes on to say, but stars in our own dramas, and we go to great lengths to make a spectacle for all to see.
(Pun alert.) My opthamologist makes a spectacle several times a day.
This may be true mostly for the 30-and-under demographic, but it seems that a lot of people go through their days putting on this production, like we’re broadcasting our lives for everyone around us.
I blame social media.
Take the simple action of going out for a cup of coffee, for example. Ten years ago, if people wanted a grande iced soy double-shot caramel blended frappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate sauce, they would simply drive to their local coffeehouse, buy a grande iced soy double-shot caramel blended frappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate sauce, drink it and go home.
Now, after buying this ridiculous concoction, they have to tell everyone about it on their social media accounts. Because they want all their friends to know that they got coffee. Because one might go to bed at night and suddenly think, I wonder if Dave got coffee today?
What we really should be asking is, does a grande iced soy double-shot caramel blended frappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate sauce even count as coffee anymore? Or is it more like a compact semi-frozen artificially flavored calorie distribution mechanism?
But I’m getting off topic.
Generally, such social media postings include a photograph (in sepia tone) of the subject, which means that not only does the posting person want everyone to know about it, but we’re all supposed see it.
Then we all got used to broadcasting life on Facebook, so we started doing it everywhere else, too.
Show of hands: How many of you married folks got engaged quietly at a restaurant, had a simple wedding with a single photographer who took basic family photos on the stage, finished with a little cake and left?
(Put your hand down; you’re embarrassing yourself.)
That’s not the way it works anymore. First, to pull off a modern engagement, it takes about the same amount of preparation as the invasion of Normandy: You need to find some sort of exotic location and have at least one photographer lurking out of sight to document every moment.
Then, when wedding day comes, there are at least two photographers roaming throughout the ceremony, and a whole herd of movie cameras filming the event from 20 different angles so the happy couple can have a video of their wedding with the same amount of production tech as the last Pixar film.
I really don’t think there’s much of a desire for privacy anymore, as much as people broadcast their lives. I’d make some sort of smart remark, but I’m the one who has a newspaper column to publish all the impertinent things floating around my head.