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Ilana's Journal Week 60: From Wedding Announcements to the 18th Century Tatler

[ Edited ]

I enjoy a guilty pleasure every Sunday morning when—around 11 am—I log onto newyorktimes.com to see the wedding video of the week.  The wedding video—produced weekly by the newspaper for one lucky, about-to-be-married coupleoffers a five-minute snapshot of their love affair, the romance that led to the wedding proposal. 

 

For me, these videos are akin to short and satisfying novels.  They give me a bird’s eye view on romance in my city: who’s loving whom, how the wooing happens for people in different career trajectories, stages of life, and social classes.  It’s like a George Eliot novel packed into videos: Each clip brings a bit of psychology and personality from a different pocket of town.   

 

I also like the videos because they help me, a 33-year-old unmarried woman, compartmentalize envy, fantasize a bit, and feel satisfied about my own life.  I get just enough depth, and just enough closure, from these videos.  They spark the envy to excite me about other people’s love, but also leave me with a sense of categorical distance: e.g. whatever romance works for others is good for them but doesn’t necessarily work for me.   

 

Take examples: The lead wedding story this week features Annie and Martin, two people who work for Sesame Street.  (Click on the highlighted lines throughout this post for links.)  Five minutes of hearing them talk about their love seems to show me their personalities: She’s 46, he’s 54, and they’re at peace with their careers.  They’ve already experienced less satisfying romances, and they’re ready for some no-nonsense intimacy with each other.  I get the sense that they’ve rediscovered sex together.  They work in the same office—so have a ready group of mutual friends.  They know their own flaws (Annie comments on Martin self-deprecatingly: “Marty was walking through the cafeteria, holding a food tray…thin, wiry, with a big head of hair.  I thought, ‘Now that’s my type,’” in the written article).  They embrace the mirror—flaws and all—in each other.  Their video leaves me feeling richer for knowing about them, but comfortably free of jealousy (I don’t want a romantic life with either of them).   

 

In contrast, there’s Andrea and Daniel of the week before. This snapshot delivers kids at an earlier, less settled stage of life—ages 31 and 33.  So far, they’ve spent more energy on their careers than on sex; they’re innocently surprised that two heady loners like themselves could find each other.  She is a gastroenterologist-in-training who’s mesmerized by the colon.  He is a Star Trek geek who makes movies.  They speak self-critically and excitedly—and when they speak over each other, they’re humble enough to settle down and listen in turns.  Daniel never lived with anyone else: He’s a grateful newbie to any romance that his family applauds.  And they had their first date and the marriage proposal at Knickerbocker, my all-time favorite restaurant.  This also makes me comfortable with them.  This is a pat story that leaves me utterly without jealousy and with what feels like a reliable map of the future: These two will pursue their careers in medicine and movies and grow together. 

 

And then there’s Rachel and Neil, of the week before. This video gives me a radically different sense of closure and self-satisfaction because I really don’t like these two—and wouldn’t want them in my lives.  Self-entitled, they claim innocence through their nasally, childishly-inflected speaking voices.  They bicker (“hey it’s you bothering me while I’m trying to work—never seen that before!”), don’t annunciate, and giggle to hide what they mean.  When I watch this video, I feel like I’m reading Tolstoy at a spot in which we watch the rich couple ride off (lucky us—go already!) to their pleasant, angry lives. 

 

[And then there’s my brother Matt, whose video with wife Kat was posted this year.  I was already a closet-nyt.com-wedding-video junky when they decided to do his video, so I was, of course, totally overjoyed when I heard their lives would be posted.] 

 

I’m writing about the videos this week to confess my secret pleasure, and to suggest that these videos fulfill a social need like romance novels always have.  They normalize certain versions of love and (probably better than the more idealizing world of romance novels) help us feel complete with what we’ve got.  They also serve a similar purpose to the one that etiquette articles served in 18th century newspapers like The Tatler and The Spectator, published by Addison and Steele.  Those early newspapers were written to help guide a public sense of taste and decorum.  The wedding pages have always set a sense of style for high society.  Only recently have the wilder sides of society also been included in the wedding pages.  They give us memorable short stories of our lives.   

 

In addition to this, of course, the wedding itself—as a moment of social life—was the typical Victorian novel’s plot device.  The marriage was the symbol of a Victorian’s social success, and the typical dénouement of the novel’s plot.  I’d like to hear anything you have to say about the tropes of marriage, society, self-satisfaction and romance.

-Ilana
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Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 08-19-2008 02:34 PM



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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: From Wedding Announcements to the 18th Century Tatler

Illana,

 

It was interesting watching the videos.  My husband has always said I am a voyeur at heart.  I have always been interested in what people do, their environments and the things they interact with, their dreams and  self-conceptions, and the values and representations inherent in their world. 

 

As I watched the videos I wondered about the written biographies that accompanied them that named the subject's occupations, the educational institutions they attended,  who their parents were and what they did.  It made me think about the "tags" by which we identify our selves and their relationship to the stream of experience that is our life itself.

 

Among the other things I thought about the young woman who was a "gastroenterologist-in-training who’s mesmerized by the colon". I wondered about how thinking about the colon so much would effect her life.  I don't mean this in a sarcastic way; I found her seriousiosness of focus and quiet discipline interesting and admirable.  It struck me how the focus of our worlds are all so very different and specialized, and that individualization of a life is interesting.

 

I found it facinating watching the video about your brother Matt and his wife Kat.  I can definitely see some of you in him-- especially around the eyes and certain expressions. Both Matt and his wife seem very bright, kind, & accomplished with senses of self that that are relatively free from the need to live up to someone else's expectations.  FYI: He went to school as an undergraduate in city in which I currently reside; I graduated from that school also.  I also didn't know you were originally from Florida -- although Miami is probably very different than other parts of the state and is a sub-culture onto itself. I pictured you as a born-and-bread New Yorker, not growing up surrounded by palm trees.  It is very cool that your mother has an assessories shop.   

 

Kate 

 

 

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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: From Wedding Announcements to the 18th Century Tatler

[ Edited ]

A!

I'm a voyeur too

and an exhibitionist, hence the parade of my brother online.

 

I agree with your comment about the difference between the videos and the print articles.  I tried to say something about that in my initial post, but didn't because I couldn't say it clearly.  I think you did: i.e. there's a richness or experiential dimension to the videos that gets lost in the categorization of these personalities as "doctor" or "business woman" in the print ads.  The videos show people; the print ads show muted categories.

 

How did you know that my brother and I share intensity in the eye, and an emphatic I told you so scrunch in the face when we speak?

 

Miami: I loved growing up there.  Am going back next weekend, and a couple times in Nov-Dec.

Yes: palm trees.

I'm glad you're enjoying it in FL.

 


Katelyn wrote:

Illana,

 

It was interesting watching the videos.  My husband has always said I am a voyeur at heart.  I have always been interested in what people do, their environments and the things they interact with, their dreams and  self-conceptions, and the values and representations inherent in their world. 

 

As I watched the videos I wondered about the written biographies that accompanied them that named the subject's occupations, the educational institutions they attended,  who their parents were and what they did.  It made me think about the "tags" by which we identify our selves and their relationship to the stream of experience that is our life itself.

 

Among the other things I thought about the young woman who was a "gastroenterologist-in-training who’s mesmerized by the colon". I wondered about how thinking about the colon so much would effect her life.  I don't mean this in a sarcastic way; I found her seriousiosness of focus and quiet discipline interesting and admirable.  It struck me how the focus of our worlds are all so very different and specialized, and that individualization of a life is interesting.

 

I found it facinating watching the video about your brother Matt and his wife Kat.  I can definitely see some of you in him-- especially around the eyes and certain expressions. Both Matt and his wife seem very bright, kind, & accomplished with senses of self that that are relatively free from the need to live up to someone else's expectations.  FYI: He went to school as an undergraduate in city in which I currently reside; I graduated from that school also.  I also didn't know you were originally from Florida -- although Miami is probably very different than other parts of the state and is a sub-culture onto itself. I pictured you as a born-and-bread New Yorker, not growing up surrounded by palm trees.  It is very cool that your mother has an assessories shop.   

 

Kate 

 

 


 

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 08-26-2008 10:02 AM



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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: From Wedding Announcements to the 18th Century Tatler

[ Edited ]

Okay, I found this lost thread of mine.

 

When I first read this blog, my thoughts were along the lines of:  Why do I want to hear about people I don't know?  I know, back in the dark ages, people were always reading the "society pages"...who was keeping up with whom, or the "obits", just to keep informed as to what was going on in their town or city.  It was a form of communication that was necessary during a period of time before the telephone, etc.  About thirty- some years ago, I moved into a very rural city.  Rural for So. Ca.  I read the paper, because I wanted to know what my neighbors were doing in this community.  I wanted, for myself, to see what I could be a part of.  I wanted to join the 'society' of volunteers.

 

Looking at this NYT page, I wasn't able to bring up the videos....my computer is more than slow in whatever program it needs to be in...and I didn't have enough interest in it anyway, although I did read about Ilana's brother and family.  I think, only because of my interest in Ilana.

 

Before, I said I considered myself a people watcher, more than identify myself as a voyeur.  Again I made reference to what I thought that word meant to me, and wanted these two references defined, if possible.

 

A while back, when I used to watch the Today Show, coming from NY, they had a segment on it that had to do with popular selection of couples who wanted to get married.  The show gave us a pretty good story of who these people were, their backgrounds, and why they wanted to marry.  The world audience would vote on their favorite couple...and it went on to the point were their rings and wedding clothes were selected and the place they would be married, all by a vote from those that wanted to send in their favorite choice.

 

Yes, I watched all of this, when I wasn't at work, and enjoy going through the process with them.  I'd never thought about why I enjoyed it, but I did.  I think, now, it was watching the happiness of this couple.  Of course, the ones that weren't selected had to understand the process.  The public, I think, liked to be a part of making this couple happy.  It worked.

 

I never gave it much thought about their lives after this program, I was just in the moment with them, and that was enough for me.

 

I don't make a steady diet of these kinds of programs, only because, as I alluded to, once I've seen my fill, then I move on to something else that can give me that same kind of satisfaction.  The same format bores me after a while.  But what I go to after that, is probably the same fulfilling process.  Again, something I've never thought seriously about.

 

A public confessional!: 

Come into my parlor....Since it seems it's beginning to look like I can't keep quiet on this board, and secrets are about as scares as hens teeth, as far I think I'm concerned, I'll make some admissions.  We are all friends here, I hope!

 

I have watched Ilana's friend write and paint and travel around her own spaces in live journal.  It is fascinating what goes on in this mind of hers.  I do see Ilana on her board from time to time, and there are things said that I feel like I've just eaves dropped on.  I don't like that feeling of being someplace where someone else doesn't know that I'm there listening.  It's really uncomfortable for me.  I've never posted to any of her comments, although tempted, I don't.  I don't feel I belong there.  I have deleted her sight from my computer. 

 

As far as Ilana's live journal, I have commented on her paintings.  I posted as anonymous, because I didn't think I needed to be seen by the outside world.  I'm here, so I suppose it's a matter of semantics, or a moot point.   It's that simple.  Then I created my own live journal name.  And once again I posted, and used it to comment on  Ilana's paintings..... but it's her choice to admit my posts.  I do love to see these paintings, it does give me insights into people's lives.  The progression of someone's art does fill me with a certain joy.  There is an evolution that happens, and a happy (hopefully) result.  It makes me happy, is all I can say.

 

I suppose you could call it voyeurism.  I just don't like that word.  Because I want to be seen as I watch.....I do love interaction.   Even here, I don't post just to hear myself talk.  But maybe I am a voyeur in some ways, and won't admit to it.  I would like to be a part Ilana and her friends' art community, but it's not my world to enter.  These people are strangers to me, and I to them.  I'm not a stranger to Ilana, though, but I still feel odd in entering it. So, I have deleted Ilana's site as well.  I have deleted my own private live journal entries, because I couldn't see the point in continuing something that I probably would not take part in anyway.  Whatever I've got to say, my friends all can hear it from me, live, without the world of strangers listening in.... 

 

But, in contradiction to my personal proclivities:

 

I'm here.  This is as close as I will get to traveling in and around the minds of people in virtual space. 

 

Kathy

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-26-2008 05:14 PM
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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: From Wedding Announcements to the 18th Century Tatler

Kathy raises an interesting point: there's a fine line between voyeurism and stalking, no?
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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: From Wedding Announcements to the 18th Century Tatler

Since no one seems to want to define the words I've talked about, I'll do it.

 

This is why I wanted the words to be defined: 

Voyeurism:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyeurism

 

People watching: as I would define it to me, is simply watching under a more innocent light.  It's not that I'm saying I'm innocent of what these websites show,  and what I feel when I see them, I'm just saying I'd prefer to not be tempted to explore it further.

Stalking:  This word holds menacing overtones. 

 

I just consider myself and observer of people, by watching them within the confines of my own personal sensibilities.  To each his own.  And the name:  Lurker, gives me chills.  Sounds like somebody ready to pounce!


Lurker wrote:
Kathy raises an interesting point: there's a fine line between voyeurism and stalking, no?

 

 
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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions

[ Edited ]

Due to editing time limits, here's a p.s.

If anyone wishes to define these or other words in our English language, and apply them to themselves, the stage is yours.


KathyS wrote:

Since no one seems to want to define the words I've talked about, I'll do it.

 

This is why I wanted the words to be defined: 

Voyeurism:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyeurism

 

People watching: as I would define it to me, is simply watching under a more innocent light.  It's not that I'm saying I'm innocent of what these websites show,  and what I feel when I see them, I'm just saying I'd prefer to not be tempted to explore it further.

Stalking:  This word holds menacing overtones. 

 

I just consider myself an observer of people, by watching them within the confines of my own personal sensibilities.  To each his own.  And the name:  Lurker, gives me chills.  Sounds like somebody ready to pounce!


Lurker wrote:
Kathy raises an interesting point: there's a fine line between voyeurism and stalking, no?

 

 

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-27-2008 11:17 PM
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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions

All, I understand people's reactions to the word voyeur.  It has connotations of looking through peek holes at people undressing or those who stare very blantantly though open windows. I am using the word only playfully however in a metaphorical sense (Kathy, I think you get this, but are just saying the word has different conotations to you).

 

Personally, I sort of like its subversive undertones (not to literally walk up to people windows and evade their privacy) in a playful sort of way. I think my husband meant it that way also if that is not obvious.  He thinks being curious about what people do and why they do it is stupid.  He adhors Reality TV shows.  I don't like them much either. I can stare at them for a little bit, but get bored as they don't seem very "real" to me -- although from a certain point of view everything is real in that is a part of reality.  What I do like is observing however.  What was my husband was saying (and I am amused by this) is that some of the things I like observing are trivial and not worth the time. Right?

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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions

I do have an answer to this.  I'm at an all-day conference and will respond tonight...
KathyS wrote:

Due to editing time limits, here's a p.s.

If anyone wishes to define these or other words in our English language, and apply them to themselves, the stage is yours.


KathyS wrote:

Since no one seems to want to define the words I've talked about, I'll do it.

 

This is why I wanted the words to be defined: 

Voyeurism:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyeurism

 

People watching: as I would define it to me, is simply watching under a more innocent light.  It's not that I'm saying I'm innocent of what these websites show,  and what I feel when I see them, I'm just saying I'd prefer to not be tempted to explore it further.

Stalking:  This word holds menacing overtones. 

 

I just consider myself an observer of people, by watching them within the confines of my own personal sensibilities.  To each his own.  And the name:  Lurker, gives me chills.  Sounds like somebody ready to pounce!


Lurker wrote:
Kathy raises an interesting point: there's a fine line between voyeurism and stalking, no?

 

 

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-27-2008 11:17 PM

 




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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: From Wedding Announcements to the 18th Century Tatler

Ilana,


I actually live in CO, not FL -- not a palm tree (unfortunately) in sight here (although it has it own strong points).  I thought your brother went to CSU?  Maybe it was someone else in the videos or his graduate, not undergraduate education.  I'll have to look later so I don't feel like I am going insane or anything.

Happy Thursday (I do hope it actually is Thursday and not one of those other six days)!

 

Kate

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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions

Ok.  Back to talk about voyeurism. 

Earlier today, I had planned to respond to Kathy's post with the same lighthearted tone that Katelyn did: i.e. "I use the term 'voyeur' playfully!--and I'm certainly a voyeur!"  But I just followed your wikipedia link and was pretty shocked to see what a criminal and sexual thing that word actually designates. 

 

Oh well...with myspace.com and livejournal.com and etc. etc. I do feel like we're all modern harmless voyeurs today...if only because there are so many exhibitionists on the web.

 

But there is a fine line between enjoying watching other lives and--as you wrote earlier, Kathy--needing the fireworks to explode so close and so frequently that you can't just say "I like me--and don't need to constantly inhabit or idealize anyone else's life."

 

p.s.  it's neat that this is actually a sentence in the wikipedia entry on voyeurism: "...the word voyeur can define someone who receives enjoyment from witnessing other people's suffering or misfortune; see schadenfreude."


IlanaSimons wrote:

I do have an answer to this.  I'm at an all-day conference and will respond tonight...
KathyS wrote:

Due to editing time limits, here's a p.s.

If anyone wishes to define these or other words in our English language, and apply them to themselves, the stage is yours.


KathyS wrote:

Since no one seems to want to define the words I've talked about, I'll do it.

 

This is why I wanted the words to be defined: 

Voyeurism:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyeurism

 

People watching: as I would define it to me, is simply watching under a more innocent light.  It's not that I'm saying I'm innocent of what these websites show,  and what I feel when I see them, I'm just saying I'd prefer to not be tempted to explore it further.

Stalking:  This word holds menacing overtones. 

 

I just consider myself an observer of people, by watching them within the confines of my own personal sensibilities.  To each his own.  And the name:  Lurker, gives me chills.  Sounds like somebody ready to pounce!


Lurker wrote:
Kathy raises an interesting point: there's a fine line between voyeurism and stalking, no?

 

 

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-27-2008 11:17 PM

 


 




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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: From Wedding Announcements to the 18th Century Tatler

my fault!  i sometimes read way too sloppily.  my brother did indeed go to CSU for undergrad, and to a FL school for grad.

I loved my little visits to Fort Collins.


Katelyn wrote:

Ilana,


I actually live in CO, not FL -- not a palm tree (unfortunately) in sight here (although it has it own strong points).  I thought your brother went to CSU?  Maybe it was someone else in the videos or his graduate, not undergraduate education.  I'll have to look later so I don't feel like I am going insane or anything.

Happy Thursday (I do hope it actually is Thursday and not one of those other six days)!

 

Kate


 




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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: From Wedding Announcements to the 18th Century Tatler

Is there even a line?

 

If so, I guess it's that voyeurism isn't usually person based but event based (the voyeur usually doesn't focus on one particular individual, but on a location or type of incident, like wedding videos), and the voyeur usually voys and passes on, while the stalker sticks with the same person for a long period.

 

But emotionally, are they really that different? 

 

 

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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions

Oh well...with myspace.com and livejournal.com and etc. etc. I do feel like we're all modern harmless voyeurs today...if only because there are so many exhibitionists on the web.

 

Except when we use those tools to drive people to suicide.

 

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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions

Ilana, as I was trying to express myself [on your other thread, concerning competitions and games and sportsmanship], I thought about why I have such a hard time with these definitions, here.  I guess I do like hard fast rules, and I'm lost sometimes when I can't see these fine lines.  I have to tell myself who I am.

 

It's been difficult for me this past week, in that I'd had to emotionally deal with someone on these boards who doesn't play fair, who doesn't understand the rules I live by, or how these boards are meant to be a place to enjoy, and not attack someone.  I was always taught that we should have fun being here. 

 

But, at one time, I  had gotten  so engrossed in a character of a book, my lines had become blurry and overlapped into a non reality on a discussion.  It almost destroyed my sense of reality.  I do have to be careful of these websites and cyberspaces.  When I said I didn't feel I belonged in them, it's because I can't tell what is real sometimes.  I can't separate them easily from my real life.   I know this may sound obscure to some people, but I feel you understand what I'm saying.

 

As here, my truths about myself sometimes gets distorted, it scared me to death this week, and I'm afraid I'll fall into something I can't get myself out of.  I admit this, because I don't want to over step this line.  I don't know if I'm making myself clear on this subject. 

 

The word, voyeur, was a word I knew about.  It hit me between the eyes when you and Kate used it so flippantly.  My own personal life had reflected this word at one time. I was a victim to this word.  I know it has different meanings, depending on who interprets it, and how they interpret it to their own lives.  Again, I have to be careful to see these differences, and it messes with my head when I try so hard to see where I fit in.  Which side I'm truly on; the one looking, or the one being looked at.  It feels like little connectors in my brain are disconnected, and they send sparks going in too many, and all directions at once, just to find where they belong. 

 

I've felt like I had bated you, to some degree, to help me solve this problem.  It wasn't really your problem,  but I needed an answer to help clear my head.  I'm sorry if I put pressure on you, or Kate.  I fall sometimes, and I don't want to fall to far and to fast away from reality.  I just needed help in this, and I didn't know how  else to ask.

Sorry, again.  And thanks.

Kathy


IlanaSimons wrote:

Ok.  Back to talk about voyeurism. 

Earlier today, I had planned to respond to Kathy's post with the same lighthearted tone that Katelyn did: i.e. "I use the term 'voyeur' playfully!--and I'm certainly a voyeur!"  But I just followed your wikipedia link and was pretty shocked to see what a criminal and sexual thing that word actually designates. 

 

Oh well...with myspace.com and livejournal.com and etc. etc. I do feel like we're all modern harmless voyeurs today...if only because there are so many exhibitionists on the web.

 

But there is a fine line between enjoying watching other lives and--as you wrote earlier, Kathy--needing the fireworks to explode so close and so frequently that you can't just say "I like me--and don't need to constantly inhabit or idealize anyone else's life."

 

p.s.  it's neat that this is actually a sentence in the wikipedia entry on voyeurism: "...the word voyeur can define someone who receives enjoyment from witnessing other people's suffering or misfortune; see schadenfreude."


IlanaSimons wrote:

I do have an answer to this.  I'm at an all-day conference and will respond tonight...
KathyS wrote:

Due to editing time limits, here's a p.s.

If anyone wishes to define these or other words in our English language, and apply them to themselves, the stage is yours.


KathyS wrote:

Since no one seems to want to define the words I've talked about, I'll do it.

 

This is why I wanted the words to be defined: 

Voyeurism:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyeurism

 

People watching: as I would define it to me, is simply watching under a more innocent light.  It's not that I'm saying I'm innocent of what these websites show,  and what I feel when I see them, I'm just saying I'd prefer to not be tempted to explore it further.

Stalking:  This word holds menacing overtones. 

 

I just consider myself an observer of people, by watching them within the confines of my own personal sensibilities.  To each his own.  And the name:  Lurker, gives me chills.  Sounds like somebody ready to pounce!


Lurker wrote:
Kathy raises an interesting point: there's a fine line between voyeurism and stalking, no?

 

 

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-27-2008 11:17 PM

 


 


 

 

 

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Katelyn
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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions

[ Edited ]

This discussion brings up an interesting dimension about the etymology of words. Does a word mean only its dictionary meaning or is it defined by how it is used?

  

 On one hand, words are little bits of archeology in that they carry within them the history of how they have been used (at least if their former usage is written down or remembered. Even if that rememblance may not be entirely conscious those older reverberations may still have an affect; we can hear their murmurings under present day usages.  Philosophers such as Heidegger take etymology very seriously. I appreciate this viewpoint (and agree with it for the most part), but I have always had some ahistorical tendencies, and have adopted the attitude that words are there for me and my contemoraties to use & permutate also. We take an existing vocabulary in part as we find it, but we also change it and coin neologisms.

 

The word "voyeur" still has not only dark connotations, but its primary dictionary meaning (its denotation) is also very dark.  It seems in everyday life it is used  in another way however--  to denote a person who is vicariously looking and is absorbed in the "spectacle" of others behavior. 

 

Personally I like the word because it is related to the glance.  Arguablely every look has something predatory about it  in that it undresses the object; no look is entirely innocent from a certain point of view even if it directed at  an object such as an apple or a pear.  I like it because it reminds me of that fact.  It is an agnostics equivalent of "original sin" perhaps.

 

Other things that seem interesting to me are:

If there is a sense of vicarious living in being a voyeur (and again I am only talking in a metaphorical sense and not avocating any kind of criminal or immoral behavior), is the glance one of dominance or of being at the mercy of its object?  Are both passiveness and aggressiveness co-present?

 

Is it wrong (or potentially hurtful) to use symbols that once meant something evil (e.g. a swastika) even if they are used in an entirely different way?  Should some symbols be retired or taken out of evolutionary play & left fixed in their meaning  like a marker or plague marking a historical disaster site --  pointing to something we should never forget?

 

Personally I could never use symbols such the swastika (did I spell this right?) in a more innocent way because what they represent in our history is just too awful.  This is part of Kathy's point I think -- perhaps this is how she and others feel about the word voyeur. I understand how it and the word lurker could give someone the chills.  I just don't hear those reverberations in the words in the same way for whatever reason.

 

Message Edited by Katelyn on 08-29-2008 03:42 PM
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KathyS
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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions

How ironic.  I just got off the phone with my therapist.  Just as I was posting that last post, here, he calls.  I had put a call in to him, yesterday, and left a message.  He had a few minutes, just now, so we talked.  Nothing like having a therapist handy when your brain goes all wonky!  How do you spit out a weeks worth of crap, in ten minutes?! HA.  I did ask him to define the words exhibitionist and introvert.  I'm neither, but it's interesting how these two words basically mean the same thing, or desire the same result.  Two polar opposite, seemingly.  Anyway, we set up an appointment to talk about my writing, something I can't talk about in ten minutes!  So he gives me two hours!

 

Now I've got to go play in my clay.

Have a good one!

Kathy

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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions

[ Edited ]

Kathy,

   It's pretty cool that your therapist is focusing on your writing.  I personally think art (of what ever form or genre) is a great complement to therapy --or could even an be integral part of it.  Art is great because it is transformative, where just talking would leave me inside my head going around in loops (I've tried it and didn't like it although I think it could be useful under the right conditions or with the right therapist).  As soon as we write or create or built something we are interacting with the world in a way that changes us. Maybe the rest of us should borrow your therapist. He sounds progressive...or at the very least you trained your therapist well!  Your therapy sessions sound fun as well as useful. I almost wants to go along with you to the session (just kidding).  I guess that would be voyeurist (in the non-deviant sense of the word) however!  I'll have to get my own life after all.

 

Kate

 

Message Edited by Katelyn on 08-29-2008 03:31 PM
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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions


KathyS wrote:

Ilana, as I was trying to express myself [on your other thread, concerning competitions and games and sportsmanship], I thought about why I have such a hard time with these definitions, here.  I guess I do like hard fast rules, and I'm lost sometimes when I can't see these fine lines.  I have to tell myself who I am.

 

It's been difficult for me this past week, in that I'd had to emotionally deal with someone on these boards who doesn't play fair, who doesn't understand the rules I live by, or how these boards are meant to be a place to enjoy, and not attack someone.  I was always taught that we should have fun being here. 

 

But, at one time, I  had gotten  so engrossed in a character of a book, my lines had become blurry and overlapped into a non reality on a discussion.  It almost destroyed my sense of reality.  I do have to be careful of these websites and cyberspaces.  When I said I didn't feel I belonged in them, it's because I can't tell what is real sometimes.  I can't separate them easily from my real life.   I know this may sound obscure to some people, but I feel you understand what I'm saying.

 

As here, my truths about myself sometimes gets distorted, it scared me to death this week, and I'm afraid I'll fall into something I can't get myself out of.  I admit this, because I don't want to over step this line.  I don't know if I'm making myself clear on this subject. 

 

The word, voyeur, was a word I knew about.  It hit me between the eyes when you and Kate used it so flippantly.  My own personal life had reflected this word at one time. I was a victim to this word.  I know it has different meanings, depending on who interprets it, and how they interpret it to their own lives.  Again, I have to be careful to see these differences, and it messes with my head when I try so hard to see where I fit in.  Which side I'm truly on; the one looking, or the one being looked at.  It feels like little connectors in my brain are disconnected, and they send sparks going in too many, and all directions at once, just to find where they belong. 

 

I've felt like I had bated you, to some degree, to help me solve this problem.  It wasn't really your problem,  but I needed an answer to help clear my head.  I'm sorry if I put pressure on you, or Kate.  I fall sometimes, and I don't want to fall to far and to fast away from reality.  I just needed help in this, and I didn't know how  else to ask.

Sorry, again.  And thanks.

Kathy


IlanaSimons wrote:

Ok.  Back to talk about voyeurism. 

Earlier today, I had planned to respond to Kathy's post with the same lighthearted tone that Katelyn did: i.e. "I use the term 'voyeur' playfully!--and I'm certainly a voyeur!"  But I just followed your wikipedia link and was pretty shocked to see what a criminal and sexual thing that word actually designates. 

 

Oh well...with myspace.com and livejournal.com and etc. etc. I do feel like we're all modern harmless voyeurs today...if only because there are so many exhibitionists on the web.

 

But there is a fine line between enjoying watching other lives and--as you wrote earlier, Kathy--needing the fireworks to explode so close and so frequently that you can't just say "I like me--and don't need to constantly inhabit or idealize anyone else's life."

 

p.s.  it's neat that this is actually a sentence in the wikipedia entry on voyeurism: "...the word voyeur can define someone who receives enjoyment from witnessing other people's suffering or misfortune; see schadenfreude."


IlanaSimons wrote:

I do have an answer to this.  I'm at an all-day conference and will respond tonight...
KathyS wrote:

Due to editing time limits, here's a p.s.

If anyone wishes to define these or other words in our English language, and apply them to themselves, the stage is yours.


KathyS wrote:

Since no one seems to want to define the words I've talked about, I'll do it.

 

This is why I wanted the words to be defined: 

Voyeurism:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyeurism

 

People watching: as I would define it to me, is simply watching under a more innocent light.  It's not that I'm saying I'm innocent of what these websites show,  and what I feel when I see them, I'm just saying I'd prefer to not be tempted to explore it further.

Stalking:  This word holds menacing overtones. 

 

I just consider myself an observer of people, by watching them within the confines of my own personal sensibilities.  To each his own.  And the name:  Lurker, gives me chills.  Sounds like somebody ready to pounce!


Lurker wrote:
Kathy raises an interesting point: there's a fine line between voyeurism and stalking, no?

 

 

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-27-2008 11:17 PM

 


 


 

 

 



KathyS wrote:

Ilana, as I was trying to express myself [on your other thread, concerning competitions and games and sportsmanship], I thought about why I have such a hard time with these definitions, here.  I guess I do like hard fast rules, and I'm lost sometimes when I can't see these fine lines.  I have to tell myself who I am.

 

It's been difficult for me this past week, in that I'd had to emotionally deal with someone on these boards who doesn't play fair, who doesn't understand the rules I live by, or how these boards are meant to be a place to enjoy, and not attack someone.  I was always taught that we should have fun being here. 

 

But, at one time, I  had gotten  so engrossed in a character of a book, my lines had become blurry and overlapped into a non reality on a discussion.  It almost destroyed my sense of reality.  I do have to be careful of these websites and cyberspaces.  When I said I didn't feel I belonged in them, it's because I can't tell what is real sometimes.  I can't separate them easily from my real life.   I know this may sound obscure to some people, but I feel you understand what I'm saying.

 

As here, my truths about myself sometimes gets distorted, it scared me to death this week, and I'm afraid I'll fall into something I can't get myself out of.  I admit this, because I don't want to over step this line.  I don't know if I'm making myself clear on this subject. 

 

The word, voyeur, was a word I knew about.  It hit me between the eyes when you and Kate used it so flippantly.  My own personal life had reflected this word at one time. I was a victim to this word.  I know it has different meanings, depending on who interprets it, and how they interpret it to their own lives.  Again, I have to be careful to see these differences, and it messes with my head when I try so hard to see where I fit in.  Which side I'm truly on; the one looking, or the one being looked at.  It feels like little connectors in my brain are disconnected, and they send sparks going in too many, and all directions at once, just to find where they belong. 

 

I've felt like I had bated you, to some degree, to help me solve this problem.  It wasn't really your problem,  but I needed an answer to help clear my head.  I'm sorry if I put pressure on you, or Kate.  I fall sometimes, and I don't want to fall to far and to fast away from reality.  I just needed help in this, and I didn't know how  else to ask.

Sorry, again.  And thanks.

Kathy


IlanaSimons wrote:

Ok.  Back to talk about voyeurism. 

Earlier today, I had planned to respond to Kathy's post with the same lighthearted tone that Katelyn did: i.e. "I use the term 'voyeur' playfully!--and I'm certainly a voyeur!"  But I just followed your wikipedia link and was pretty shocked to see what a criminal and sexual thing that word actually designates. 

 

Oh well...with myspace.com and livejournal.com and etc. etc. I do feel like we're all modern harmless voyeurs today...if only because there are so many exhibitionists on the web.

 

But there is a fine line between enjoying watching other lives and--as you wrote earlier, Kathy--needing the fireworks to explode so close and so frequently that you can't just say "I like me--and don't need to constantly inhabit or idealize anyone else's life."

 

p.s.  it's neat that this is actually a sentence in the wikipedia entry on voyeurism: "...the word voyeur can define someone who receives enjoyment from witnessing other people's suffering or misfortune; see schadenfreude."


IlanaSimons wrote:

I do have an answer to this.  I'm at an all-day conference and will respond tonight...
KathyS wrote:

Due to editing time limits, here's a p.s.

If anyone wishes to define these or other words in our English language, and apply them to themselves, the stage is yours.


KathyS wrote:

Since no one seems to want to define the words I've talked about, I'll do it.

 

This is why I wanted the words to be defined: 

Voyeurism:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyeurism

 

People watching: as I would define it to me, is simply watching under a more innocent light.  It's not that I'm saying I'm innocent of what these websites show,  and what I feel when I see them, I'm just saying I'd prefer to not be tempted to explore it further.

Stalking:  This word holds menacing overtones. 

 

I just consider myself an observer of people, by watching them within the confines of my own personal sensibilities.  To each his own.  And the name:  Lurker, gives me chills.  Sounds like somebody ready to pounce!


Lurker wrote:
Kathy raises an interesting point: there's a fine line between voyeurism and stalking, no?

 

 

Message Edited by KathyS on 08-27-2008 11:17 PM

 


 


 

 

 


Kathy, have you read Don Quixote?  I think you might like it.  After all of the heavy-duty reading I'd been doing all year I was soooo burned out!  I bought Don Quixote for next term but I thought I'd hate it.  I flipped through and started reading and couldn't put it down!  The committee that puts my program together is so brilliant.  After 2 years of constant reading, I open this book and it's about a man who loves to read and has read so much that he loses his mind!  He begins to believe he's a character in the book.  Immersing myself in all of these ideas, it does seem  sometimes that I can lose touch with the real world.  That has a good side, of course, but I do think I can go too far sometimes.  Anyway, I just thought, if you haven't read it, you might get a kick out of it.  

 

 

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KathyS
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Re: Ilana's Journal Week 60: Tatler p.s. Definitions

Kate, when I first started to go to him, we didn't talk much about art, just about some of the poems I'd written.  I talked about me and what goes on in my head, as it related to my life, from birth to that present day (not in that order, more like free thought], or zeroed in on a current issue.  I hadn't realized what art meant to me at most of those moments, because it was all I could do to keep my head above that murky water.  I hated him, I hated me, I hated life, I hated the world....take your pick.

 

I'm really never at a loss for something to write about, I don't have writers block, as I think of it....but this story I started writing?  It's so dark I had to stop writing.  When you start writing the scenes I've written, it was almost too intense for me!   I've been wanting to discuss why these characters, and this story, are going in the direction they're going.  I want to know how my own life is reflecting in it.  I could analyze it myself, but I need his feedback with encouragement.  I've put this off for over three months now.

 

I wouldn't completely say these sessions are fun, Kate.  As I'd said, not too many people can handle intense discussions.  (at least his eyes don't glaze over when I talk to him :smileyhappy:  He offers so much more insight, and offers it to me quicker than I can find it on my own.  He can stay much more object when we talk.  As Timbucktu and I were saying, when you're up close and personal with yourself, sometimes you need someone to help you cut down some of that forest  you're standing in, just to find ME! HA! 

 

My major problem is, I should see him more often than I do.  I wait until I'm about to get hit by  one of those stupid trees, before I call him!  And sometimes I don't call him.  Then the old brain starts to go...boing....wonky.....boing...wonky.....wonk.....won...wo! CRASH GOES THE TREE! (see dent in skull)

 

You ask, Kate,  did I train him? HA!   Or did he train me?   I think we sort of grew up together!  We talk about anything I want to talk about....that's what I pay him the big bucks for!  I get to choose the subjects!   I'm sure I'll talk about more than writing!

 

Kate, I'll share my life with you, or anyone else who wants to listen... I've got enough to go around!....you don't even have to 'lurk' outside the window! 

Just pull up a seat, and sit next to me, and I'll give you a full report [except for the lurid details!] after I see him on Tuesday. LOL  I'm sure it will be in the 'headlines'....someplace on this board!

   

Kathy

p.s.  You have to furnish your own Kleenex :smileyhappy: