The world today has become increasingly dependent on television and other forms of media. Many authors have written articles about this phenomenon, but never in the history of literature has this phenomenon been more exposed. In an article titled, Shadows on the Wall, by Donna Woolfolk Cross, the distorted image of the world is emphasized in a story explaining the experiences of four prisoners confined in a cave. It turned out that the shadows on the wall were distorted imagery of a beautiful and wonderful world that existed outside the prison’s walls. Cross’s story is a hypothetical representation of the distorted imagery of the world that most of us believe to be true (while it is not). In today’s world, Hollywood is often criticized for perpetuating this view. This statement forms the framework for this paper because this paper argues that, Hollywood is a fabrication of reality. This statement is expressed from my experiences in Hollywood because the image I had of California is different from the image I have of the place now.
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Before I came to California, I had stereotypical imagery of life in the US. This stereotypical imagery was shaped by the movies I watched. Considering I have a Chinese background, life in the US was portrayed as an exaggeration of societal extremes. America (and California in particular) were often perceived to be heaven on earth where work was not part of everyday life. Partying and merrymaking were prominent highlights I expected to see in California because I assumed that, people partied every day of the week. Drugs and sex were also prominent aspects of the society that is expected to be treated as a norm. Ideally, I would not have been surprised to see people doing drugs and having random sexual rendezvous in cars or such places. However, this picture of Hollywood and California was not the true depiction of reality.
Like the article Shadows on the Wall, California’s image in the movies is a camouflage of reality. Having lived in California, I have learned that life is normal for most people. Except for a few places, life in California is like any other part of the world. People work, eat, live, and criticize certain aspects of life, which are projected to be norms in Hollywood. For example, in the movies, certain drugs like marijuana and cocaine are almost represented as legal drugs because almost every movie star seems to use them. However, in real life, such drugs are illegal. Also, contrary to the movies where sex is almost presented as a random act of self-gratification, real-life California experience has taught me that, people value themselves and do not engage in such random sexual acts as portrayed in the movies. Contrary to the movies, women and men have their dignity and a strong sense of value for their principles and characters.
Again, like Shadows on the Wall, the representation of California (in the movies) is a camouflage of the real-life situation in America. Indeed, television has distorted the image of society and presented an almost superficial creation of human society. This paper shows that California is not a representation of the carefree and irresponsible lives celebrities and movie stars seem to live in the movies and films. Considering such a background of assessment, it should therefore be understood that there is a thin line between reality and television (or movies).