Life, as seen on TV

Jordan Javelet

Contributing Editor

Today as I was walking through Best Buy, one of the biggest televisions in the store caught my eye. It was a Samsung LED television that boasted a 65 inch display, vibrant color definition, and an image quality that made the video of New York City that was displayed on the screen look as real as if I were actually in New York. But what really caught my eye—in fact, the only reason I even bothered stopping—was the fact that the television was curved.

     A salesman approached me and started listing off the details of the television (as if a college student could possibly afford the $3,000 price tag), and I listened even though I wasn’t really interested in making a purchase. I just wanted to look at the pretty picture of New York for a few seconds before continuing on my way.

     As I was brainstorming ways to make a quick escape from the salesman, he said something that caught my attention: “Really,” he said, “this is the best image quality out there. In

fact, with the color enhancing technology in this device, it gives you a picture that is better than real life.”

     If there was any phrase that was going to convince me not to buy that television, it was that one. And worse yet, as I studied the image on the screen, which had switched to a colorful view of Prague, I was tempted to agree with the salesman. The reds were brighter, the blues richer. The definition made every window in the city visible in a way that the human brain could never process even as the eye saw it, and the cars on the street took on a spectacular, lively potential as they sped through the city and wove between buildings.

     Suddenly, in the middle of Best Buy, I was having an existential crisis hinging on the existence of a television that makes a picture that is better than real life. If I could purchase a television like that, there would be no point in traveling or even in leaving my house, right? I would be able to sit on my couch and display an image of the Great Barrier Reef, and I wouldn’t have to get a SCUBA certification or be worried about all the animals that would probably be trying to kill me as I swam around the Australian waters. I could display the summit of Mount Everest without having to fly across the world and actually climb it. Worst of all, I could play a sitcom on the screen and stay in my house pretending that I had actual friends. After all, the picture is better than real life, right? Why even bother with real life if I can get a better picture on a screen?

     Spelled out this way, it’s obvious that there are flaws in this sort of reasoning. Despite the fact that people are making televisions with displays that are better than real life, I’m sure we can all agree that there is an important distinction between real life and what technology suggests real life might be. Anyone on Instagram knows that social media would be dull and pointless without filters, owns that the whole network is an exercise in posturing as more interesting than you really are. In fact, the more you look at any sort of technology, the more it feels like technology reduces real life into a series of images.

     In 1928, René Magritte painted a work called “The Treachery of Images” (French: “La trahison des images”) in which he painted a pipe and captioned it “Ceci n’est une pipe.”: “This is not a pipe.” Perhaps for the next few years, people will remember that televisions and Facebook and the internet are not real life, and perhaps for the next few years, people will maintain their interest in real-world living. But it is not hard to imagine a world in which people stop thinking this way; as Chuck Klosterman says in his book “Eating the Dinosaur,” “We are latently enslaved by our own ingenuity, and we have unknowingly constructed a simulated world…the benefits of technology are easy to point out…but they do not compensate for the overall loss of humanity that is its inevitable consequence.”

     Technology raises important questions of authenticity and truth. A television can display New York City in a beautiful and artistic (read: color enhanced) way, but what is shown on the screen cannot convey the energy of a hundred thousand people walking shoulder to shoulder down Fifth Avenue. It cannot convey the human spirit of New York City.

     Maybe the Best Buy salesman was right: a curved television can produce an image that is better than real life. But I do not want my life to become a series of images on a color-enhanced LED display, curved or not. I want to walk down Fifth Avenue. I want to touch the shoulders of the people I pass. I want to make contact with humanity.

Brandy Melville: One size or no size

Jordan Javelet
Opinion Editor

The first time I encountered Brandy Melville brand clothing, I was at a PacSun in California with my sixteen-year-old cousin Justine. Several crop tops and skirts from the brand’s summer fashion line were on display at the front of the store, and Justine immediately reached for one of the crop tops and started cooing to my aunt about how cute it was.
It was a simple black crop top. It probably took less than one square yard of fabric to make. The fabric was a blend of cotton, spandex, and rayon. It was nothing special, and I assumed that Brandy Melville was just one of those elite California brands that charged twenty bucks for something I could get for four dollars at Forever 21 or H&M. I figured that the value was in the brand name, not the clothing itself.
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WWJO: What would Jesus order?

Jordan Javelet
Opinion Editor

My mother works as the communications coordinator for a small suburb of Denver, and part of her

The print image of Jesus tat was given to my mother (Photo: Jordan Javelet)

The print image of Jesus tat was given to my mother (Photo: Jordan Javelet)

job involves answering and routing phone calls from citizens to the various departments housed in City Hall. One citizen, an eccentric old man with a great need to have dialogue with someone about something, calls the City of Arvada government offices repeatedly – as in, at least four times a week. My mom patiently helps him out every time he calls, and about a month ago, the man was so overwhelmed with gratitude for my mom’s help that he drove to City Hall to give my mom what he claimed was a “signed, numbered original” of a famous artist’s pencil drawing of Jesus’ face.
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The selfie of Dorian Gray

Jordan Javelet
Opinion Editor

“Dorian made no answer, but passed listlessly in front of his picture and turned towards it. When he saw it he drew back, and his cheeks flushed for a moment with pleasure. A look of joy came into his eyes, as if he had recognized himself for the first time….Yes, there would be a day when his face would be wrinkled and wizen, his eyes dim and colourless, the grace of his figure broken and deformed….The life that was to make his soul would mar his body.” –Oscar Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”
I like to take selfies as much as the next almost-twenty college student with an iPhone and an Instagram – which is to say I like to take selfies a lot. Selfies have become something of a staple in the world of social media, which means they’ve become something of a staple in the world, because I think it’s safe to say that society is getting to a point where the real world and the virtual world overlap almost constantly.
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How to be an efficient and respectful traveler

Jordan Javelet
Opinion Editor

Goucher College draws students from all over the country – and the world – which means most of us deal with airline travel at least four times per year (maybe a few more if we decide to go home for Thanksgiving and Spring Break). And since all of us will go abroad at some point during college, it’s pretty safe to say that everyone here at Goucher has or will have flown on a plane by the time we graduate.
With that in mind, I’ve come up with some helpful tips to make traveling easier.
DO pack wisely. Packing up your entire closet to ensure you have all the clothes you need might feel necessary, but in reality, packing minimally translates into NO CHECKED bags, and that saves time at every airport departure and arrival point. Packing minimally also means that your suitcase doesn’t break your back when you go to heave it up on the security belt or to place it in the overhead bin. Remember, there will probably be laundry facilities wherever you are traveling to, so you can count on a clean set of clothing without packing something new for every day of the trip.
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The pros and cons of life without social media

Jordan Javelet
Opinion Editor

It’s been a month since the last time I logged into Twitter, two since the last time I checked my Facebook (which has since been deleted). I don’t have a Pinterest, an

Logos from many popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Youtube, Google Plus, Reddit, Myspace, and others. (Photo: Google Images)

Logos from many popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Youtube, Google Plus, Reddit, Myspace, and others. (Photo: Google Images)

Instagram, or a LinkedIn. In fact, the only social media site I use is Tumblr, but I don’t really use it to talk with anyone or interact with people who are in the same fandoms as I am. It’s more for mindless entertainment than anything “social.”
I like to think that my decision to not use social media gives me an interesting perspective on the whole phenomenon – while maybe there is a certain hipster glamor to staying off of Facebook, I am in no way trying to assert superiority over those who do use social media, especially considering there was a time when I did use social media platforms regularly to communicate with others and to stay up-to-date on my friends’ lives. Really, my choosing to abstain from social media stemmed more from the need to get off Facebook and start doing homework than anything else, but I’ve come to notice a few interesting things, both good and bad, that have come from my refusal to use social media.
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Musings on the life and death of Cory Monteith

Jordan Javelet
Opinion Editor

It’s been several months since 31-year-old “Glee” star Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose. I was shocked to hear of his death, as we all are any time a

Cory Monteith, May 11, 1982 - July 13, 2013 (Photo: Google Images)

Cory Monteith, May 11, 1982 – July 13, 2013 (Photo: Google Images)

young person with such a promising future passes suddenly. But, having not been a “Glee” fan, I did not grieve the way “Glee” fans were grieving. It had been years since I had watched it, and then only briefly. However, when I heard Fox was airing a memorial episode of “Glee” honoring Cory’s life, I was curious to see if they could elicit emotions without exploiting Monteith’s tragic death.
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