[ 3 min read ]
I was thinking about the thing I heard from one movie director. He said I couldn’t play a 46-year-old guy because I don’t look like a 46-year-old guy.
How do we know what a 46-year-old guy looks like? We create this image in our heads. There is no universal standard for being a 46-year-old guy. Why? Because all standards are manmade (merely our invention) — unless we believe in them they don’t exist. If I don’t believe that a 46-year-old guy should look a certain way (because I will accept anything — there is no right and wrong way of being or of having an appearance when you are a man who is 46 years old) he can actually have a gazillion different appearances and all will befit a 46-year-old guy. I don’t have a standard for a man who is 46 years old in my head.
But, in order to feel comfortable (I guess that that’s the reason) we need a standard. And we create them — one after another.
Can’t we change it then? Oh yes we can. But we don’t want to. The movie director doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want to baffle or shock the viewers.
People (viewers) wouldn’t believe the guy is 46 years old if they saw me as him in this TV series.
Is the thinking that people absolutely shouldn’t be disturbed that way legitimate?
Why do we assume that the fact that they wouldn’t believe the guy I would play is 46 years old would be something bad?
Maybe it would be a good thing? Or, maybe it would be neither bad nor good. Maybe it would be the truth.
Movie directors worry a lot about being in line with people’s expectations (“the truth”). If the picture will be in line with people’s expectations (if what they see is what they know and believe to be “the truth”) they will not doubt themselves.
So that’s the job of a movie director? Not cause people to doubt themselves. Of course they wouldn’t doubt the movie director either.
And if they have no reason not to believe, there is order. The harmony will not be disturbed.
I could disturb that harmony by appearing as a 46-year-old who looks like a 30-year-old guy. I’m 41 years old and I look young (for my age). Some people look young, some people look “normal”, and some people look old (for their age). That’s the truth about life.
Am I an anomaly? For the majority of people — certainly. But how does an anomaly come into existence? Something must be considered normal. Who decides what is normal and what isn’t?
Believing in God and being part of the Catholic faith is still assumed in the country I live in (I don’t call it my country — I just happened to be born and happen to live here, but I don’t like the idea that because of that it’s “my country”). Hence not believing in God and not being part of the Catholic faith is considered by many as a deviation. The wrong path. That’s why mothers who are believers pray for their unbelieving children — they’re certain they (the children) are on the wrong path and they ask God to help them convert. That’s what my mother probably asks for too.
Does it mean that we (people) don’t want the truth, because we prefer the lie? I guess so. It’s better (more comfortable) to believe in the version of the reality we espoused. We know what a 46-year-old guy looks like (more or less). Normal 46-year-olds look the way a 46-year-old guy should look like.
Is it better to fool yourself that your family is something it really isn’t? That’s the choice of the majority of people. They prefer the lie about their families. Why? Because they love order more than anything else in the whole world.
Anomalies disturb that order. That’s why we fight them. That’s why family members believe certain members are black sheep of the family. They believe the family should be a certain way. That there is some standard. That there is a proper (and an improper) way of being a member of that family. They believe a family must be a monolith. Hence the tension in most families.
The movie director thought that putting me in the role of a 46-year-old guy would be a trespass against people’s expectations. Not trespassing against people’s expectations is super important for the overwhelming majority of people. They want part of the truth. The part they already got accustomed to.