iGhetto: the new ghetto.


Graphic by Pakaln

— An isolated place where people are segregated from the aristocracy or upper classes. That pretty much sums up the origin of the word, ghetto. As to motivations for creating or allowing ghettos to exist, one could argue political, social, and economic incentives – keep the undesirables under control, out of sight, and create economic dependencies either as a cheap work force or as a dependable consumer base for certain products (in our U.S. era, cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, come to mind).

Guilty – I’m generalizing. And certainly, not all societal actions come with a clear measure of awareness or conscious choice – that not withstanding, ghettos exist, and for some, they serve a purpose, if unintentional and unacknowledged (affordable housing anyone?).

Contemporary media and marketing – the market goes where it wants to go: to online (not physical) networking, reality TV (not physical reality), fantasized celebrity fame (not real here and now).

Being cut off from the physical reality all around you – this includes people, the physical kind, as compared with the kind represented by electronic sound and visuals. They don’t call it “virtual” for nothing. Actually, they no longer even call it virtual, do they? The phrase, “virtual reality” for example, is becoming archaic, isn’t it?

The problem, if you think it is one, comes in being able to distinguish the real from the virtual real, within an every day field of view. Does it matter? Is it all merely relative? My answers are mine – we each grow up knowing that the world we are born into is the base line, the one which becomes a kind of standard in comparing the years that come after.

Normal is what you are accustomed to. Your normal is different than mine, whoever you are. That is the standard line, except when it comes to things like ethics and morality. The question here is, how should we connect to the world around us – physically, and/or virtually? And the question is – does it matter?

Photo by Pakaln

Virtual electronic representations of reality – it’s kind of like you’re sitting in a cafe looking out at the world beyond the glass, only you’re distracted by what’s on the glass. How distracted are you?

Quick – answer this – in the photo above, which do you want to see first, the person’s eyes, or the graphic feel of the window and the scene beyond? It’s a fake test – I made it up (obviously) only to illustrate a point. Well, you illustrate it!

Photo by Pakaln

Recently, I went for a walk with a friend and we were both taking pictures and at one point, fooling around, one of us threatened the other with a camera. In a flash, we both shot the other taking a shot. Well, all in good fun, except if I admit to the little things going on in my mind (an perpetual annoyance to some of my friends), I realize, in some sense, we were hiding behind the lens.

To step out from behind the lens is to just stand there, accepting whatever happens between you and the person you are connecting with. And I don’t care what media experts might say about connecting – reality, the real kind – it ain’t always easy, but it is.