Buzzkill: Is this the real life?

Rob Wilber

Over the course of my youth, my life’s foundation was rattled on many occasions. As I progressed through elementary and middle school, people, places and things that I had believed to be true were revealed to be mere illusions. The moments when I learned that the tooth fairy and pro-wrestling were not authentic certainly gave me a strong sense of disillusionment and angst. 

However, as time went on and my intellect progressed, things which would appear legitimate to the untrained eye became obviously untrue to me. Such transparencies include the artistic merit of Hoobastank, the “reality” of reality television (exception: “Rock of Love” — Bret Michaels doesn’t need to stoop to deceitful levels simply for media exposure) and Clay Aiken being heterosexual.  

I’m not trying to sing my own praises, saying that I could sift through these items and find their validity; I would consider this process to be a natural product of brain development. Having said that, a blue, computer-animated humanoid race appears to have destroyed many people’s ability to cope with fictional beings. 

A few weeks ago, I was on CNN’s homepage, which had a featured headline of “Audiences Experience Avatar Blues.” Intrigued, I read through the article, and what I found made me sincerely worried about where our society is headed. People who saw “Avatar” were becoming legitimately depressed in the days after their viewing, because they could not handle the fact that the Na’vi world of Pandora was, in fact, made up by “Titanic” director James Cameron rather than a real place of wonder and hope. One quote from the article was particularly unsettling: “I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora, and that everything is the same as in ‘Avatar.'” 

Are these people serious? Don’t get me wrong, “Avatar” was a great movie, but how can people react this way to a movie that was mostly made with computers? Do these people keep spy cameras in their rooms to monitor their action figures, hoping that “Toy Story” will fulfill some sort of Hasbro-related prophecy? Obviously, it would be awesome if certain aspects of movies existed in real life (goodbye Villanova, hello Hogwarts), but I’m not prepared to kill myself to try to play the alternate universe lottery. 

Besides, what if you ended up in a world where “The Master of Disguise” was your people’s greatest achievement? If you can’t handle going to a movie without destroying your sense of self-esteem and hope for the future, there’s another magical land that may interest you. Located in central Pennsylvania, it’s a world where people have never experienced electricity, buttons or even Bagel Bites. Unless this option appeals to you, I’d recommend getting a grip and remembering that not everything you see is real.