I cannot help it if you know who I am. Your knowledge of my existence is solely of your own doing. This is your hand in doing this, and you cannot wash your hands of me—or of anyone else whose existence is profusely in your knowledge. Sure you do not know my social security number or what I had for dinner last night, but it is only a matter of time before you will take measures to find out.
We as a society know all about these measures and doing “whatever it takes” to get a hold of this information. While doing “whatever it takes” is a prerequisite for any self-respecting seeker of information and truth, we are often provided with subjects who are more than willing to provide this information and truth to us—and many times free of charge!
(But please, if you enjoyed the information and truth, show your appreciation through the tip jar or through following the television show).
So many individuals are willing and able to show us life through their eyes, through their experiences, through their—what is that you say? Ah yes, through their very own reality show or regular spot in the gossip column. We have been so fortunate to have this opportunity to witness lives that might have otherwise gone un-witnessed; to grow closer to strangers that we may otherwise have never gotten to know; to become inspired and appalled at the same time, never quite knowing why it is that we cannot turn our backs on them.
Yes, it has been an altogether enriching experience.
Not only has this provided an excellent opportunity for our society to get to know its neighbors, but it has also provided an excellent opportunity for science! How many rules and regulations would have had to have been deliberately broken in order to get this close to human beings without their approval? The consent forms, the waivers, the protection of rights, the fine print—what a costly ordeal and inconvenience for the study of science! And now we have this wonderful opportunity to study human beings in their natural habitat. And what's more, they actually want to be so studied!
We watch and we watch; mesmerized and transfixed while observing the behaviors of this intricate species. What were they called again? Adults? No matter. Later on we will either subtly support what we saw or speak out against the behavior that had we not seen it, we would have found to be incredulous—or maybe because we had seen it, we were incredulous at the fact that such a behavior could have existed at all. In the end, all we can do is raise our fists to the sky and continue encouraging the behavior that we may or may not support.
And of course, we can keep on watching.
All this fixation and support from the adult population serves only to increase and perpetuate further support from the younger population. Like a disease that cannot be stopped, it spreads to the younger population and symptoms that are not initially apparent become apparent in time.
It does not take long before children become as convinced as their adult counterparts and role models and they too begin to understand the importance of being witnessed and known. It becomes increasingly important for children to have their piece of the pie, and if they helped in making that pie, literally or figuratively, you might as well see it and know about it.
When children are asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” or “when you grow up do you want to be a doctor, a firefighter, or a policeman?” they have their answers more than ready.
“I want to be famous.”
“Famous?” you say.
Yes, famous indeed. Why is it that none of these children say infamous? Is it because it is too big of a word? Is it too hard to say? Does it mean something altogether different from what they want? Here, let me try it:
Well now, that won’t do. Let me try again.
There, that sounds better.