Baudry, Derrida, Film, and The Falling Man; How Everything is Too Long To Read:

The Falling Man

The Falling Man

Well, today I realized that everything is too long to read (TL; DR), and that is why we all love short texts like what is seen on Twitter, and tightly succinct updates on Facebook. In a way this shows how we have been evolved into hypermedicacy social addicts; we are living examples of instant-on-a-whim everything. In another way it shows the downfall of long-winded academic fluff pieces that no one cares about, or will actually read.

In lieu of this, I have told no less than twenty people that I want to write a single sentence that makes people cry, that makes people cum, and that makes people want die because nothing will be better.

Unfortunately it hasn’t happened yet, but with the lack of attention span exhibited in our society, probably people won’t read any whole piece, so they won’t read all of the sentences, so this fantasy reaction to the sentence I write won’t exist.

After reading a Baudry essay (“Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus”), one which mentions Derrida (boner!) and cameras as not creating an “objective reality” (larger boner!), I realized I was wrong about photographs. Yes, I will admit I was wrong, or it probably just happened—no right and wrong.

“Obviously”( a word used far too much by Baudry for having no meaning, as every other word universally always), a picture is worth a thousand words—we have all heard this antiquated theory, so saying that a picture is worth one or “two”, or that a photo is completely “objective”—which this piece states, is utter insane bullshit.

Firstly, I will state a couple ideas which I hold to, for the moment, right now, absolutely—in the literal sense of the word. One, nothing is “objective”, ever. Two, language means nothing in particular because it is a metaphor of a metaphor of a metaphor based on histories written by winners—it’s a long story… (And a bonus third, far less appealing thing I hold to is that we did not land on the moon, I cite Stanley Kubrick and, most recently, The Martian.)

So, what I told the class today, indirectly, was that a photograph has more power than an entire documentary or film because of the ease of access of a photograph, and because we are simple idiots—we like it fast and easy.

Accordingly I referenced the “Falling Man” photograph (The photograph above is of a 9/11 “jumper”) (fourth thing I hold to: the U.S. government took down the towers: inside job.) in mid-air, apparently the person has not been identified, it was considered “horrifying” and at the same time “beautiful”, and this is the crux of the argument. There is a fucking movie about this one photo, this one person, anonymous, and it is based on what people think about this singular image.

See, no one cares about the person, or really what happened to him—we know he dies after falling plus or minus 100 floors to flat hard New York concrete-kasplatt! (WE ALL DIE!) But, what makes this image effective, what gets people to care about this picture, is the ease of relating to it. I assume people think, “Hey, I can look at a photo for a moment and then form a meaningful opinion, and perhaps tell others about it.”

This assessment is important because it carries relevance in a world where scrolling Facebook and commenting, and/or posting to Instagram epitomizes our daily existence in “reality”. Looking at something for a moment and then telling people what we think about it is the skill we have evolved into being masters of. When I look at a cat photo online, I already “know” someone has made a shirt, taken photos, and basically amassed a company off of this dirty feline, and they make money!!!… I just “know” it!

Alternatively, when someone creates content that may be interesting or progressive or iconoclastic or inquisitive, alone, there is no money to be had, no community thought to be expanded, no one cares, there are no celebrations. However, when a local publication writes a predictable piece on mainstream interests: sex, drugs, rock and roll; perhaps a stock sob story, decent avant-garde photos (you see!), or an article on a new fill in the blank, then everyone loses their shit… Though, to be fair, that is what that entity is paid, and pays others, to do (through advertising).

Moreover, no one will read this entire piece. I get that. I am not surprised, or majorly bummed out in any way. People don’t give a shit. For instance, Moby-Dick is a great book, but those who read the Spark Notes version—I am guessing here, far outnumber those who read the book from cover to cover. And yet those same people will make jokes on the internets about it, they talk about it with ostentatious assumptions to pretentious friends, and then they reference it without understanding, because they haven’t read it. And this idea is sad, and sort of good, and a hallmark of our time and culture and society.

We want immediate satisfaction—where the fuck is my gratification (!), kneejerk outcomes on the most poignant things—and the most irrelevant things, and nothing is “objective”. We want to be Facebook philosophers, famous, loved, and change people’s minds. But we won’t spend more than five minutes trying. We merely keep scrolling onto the next meh thing.

See, now that seems backwards. Other people’s minds aren’t worth five minutes to us, no one cares. Even while we are falling there is apathy. No one reads, and everyone just assumes, proving Derrida’s “problematic language” perhaps probably true. How could we understand when we don’t take the time to? We are kind of like The Falling Man, we are going down fast to the hard truth.


If you have read this far, congratulations. Prove it by writing this in the comments sections: I hate this piece.


About Terry Scott Niebeling

Hello, My name is Terry Scott, a human being with flaws. twitter: @sirterryscott Buy my ebooks:
This entry was posted in Art, Baudry, Creative Non-Fiction, critique, Facebook, Fiction, Film, Language Arts, literature, Minneapolis, Minnesota, MN, Movies, Pastiche, post modern, post structuralism, review, Satire, society, Terry Scott Niebeling and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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