April 22, 2024

What The Truman Show Teaches Us About Politics

Published June 11, 2023, 10:20 p.m. by Naomi Charles


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Kristof, let me ask you.

Why do you think that Truman has never come close to discovering the true nature of his world until now?

We accept the reality of the world with which we're presented. It's as simple as that

In the beginning of the truman show a star falls from the sky, well.. a light falls from the ceiling of a sky-high

Set that encloses an artificial town built for the life of one


and the entertainment of the whole world the light says sirius nine canis major which refers to

sirius the Brightest [star] in the night sky

This star which [homer] once called an evil portent bringing heat and fevers to suffering humanity. In the film the falling of Sirius

is the first in a series of

Ruptures in Truman's fake reality, a series that ends here with [an] actual rupture a breach in things as they are

like an homer Peter Weir director of the Truman show

envisions this door into real reality

in darker terms than you might expect. All the symbols we usually associate with goodness and positivity are

behind Truman. Bright blue skies sunbeams breaking through the clouds an expanse of sea of

possibility. Reality, truth and authenticity on the other hand are relegated to a small single rectangle of


hardly the light at the end of the Tunnel that we normally associate with

liberation all throughout the film freedom for Truman is linked tightly with trauma every peek behind the curtain is accompanied by

Some form of pain whether it's the pain of seeing the image of a deceased loved one the pain of a true connection

Abruptly cut short the pain of memory or simply the pain of uncertainty of not knowing what it is

You're seeing that's of course a pain that we're all familiar with it's why for the most part we see only

What we want to see. Truman has been privy to a lifetime full of hints

Clues to the fact that his world is not as it seems


to incorporate those clues means to reconfigure the [entire] narrative of his existence and

Rewrites like that just aren't free. They cost.

They cost suffering. Peter Weir and writer Andrew Niccol were prophetic about so much from the vantage of

1998 the ubiquity of Reality television the rise of Mass Surveillance

they keyed in perfectly to my parents generation of cold War Paranoia of being watched or bugged and my own generation of

narcissism where it bugs us not to be watched

That's a great joy of the truman show the allegories and layered readings, the heaviness of it all stands out vividly

Even for a kid like I was when I saw it at age 10

It's not pedantic or preachy. It just asks so many damn questions that are impossible to ignore. [Truman] "what the hell are you talking about?

Who are you talking to?" And actually I was watching it again recently

And I was really struck by how easily the truman show can be read as an allegory for

the present. Like Truman's town of C. Haven, our own world seems to be experiencing a similar series of

ruptures, ruptures like the Great Recession 2008

the Arab Spring, like the killings of Young Black men by police or our

increasing awareness of them, like brexit the splitting of [the] uk from Europe and

Most recently like the rise of the political outsider movements of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

I think American society at large is a lot like Truman Burbank

Laboring like him for 30 plus years under a system that is finally showing itself to be ridiculous

Society like Truman is trying to wake itself up while stumbling under the pain that surfaces from doing so

The Truman show is a massive operation with a crew and cast of thousands

But for all the power that Christoph commands the show's success always

Hinges on Truman himself. It can only work if Truman believes in it. [Chrtistoph] "He could leave at any time

if he was absolutely determined to discover the truth

There's no way we could prevent him" The powerful in our world hold things in place like Christoph holds Truman

But we hold ourselves in place, too. If nothing else, It's clear that in 2016

we are slowly waking up into a new political reality like in Truman's world the power

relationships of our own have gained and consolidated strength by convincing us that

They're normal like laws of nature by taking any breach and folding it [back] into the narrative

They've kept all those like Truman who are perennial losers at they but ideologies don't last forever eventually

They crumble under their own weight and the increasing refusal of people to believe it. [Truman] Thank you for your help. [Policemen] You're welcome, Truman.

the Truman Show shows us

what waking up looks like. It stages in a really valuable way the struggles that come with it?

It shows how the messaging of the dominant ideology is absorbed into media and into education

It shows us how individual people even people we trust, good people, can become the mouthpieces of a rotten system

Everybody is in on it

I'd have to be a nun [too] and

Most importantly of [all] the Truman show Imagines liberation, not as utopia

but as a world flawed like our own full of multiplicity and contradiction and

people obsessed with TV

[it's] a world gained only by struggle and pain, one that often looks like an evil portent in the moment

It's not a sunburst in the clouds or an endless sea

But a small shadowy door that leads off to a territory unmapped

But invested hopefully with a greater

Authenticity. [Truman] In case I don't see ya

Good afternoon good evening, and good night

There is a new Nerdwriter video every [Wednesday]

So if you go right there and click on that you'll subscribe to this channel get all the videos and that's what helps

Me out the most the truman show blows my mind every time [I] watch it

[I] saw it in the theaters when [I] was 10 in 1998 with my mom

And it was one of the best movie experiences the formative movie experiences of my life

So this was a blast to make thanks so much for watching again. [I'll] see you guys [next] Wednesday


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