Thursday, February 10, 2011

Not that you are looking for my review of Catfish (besides here is a pretty great one - even with spoilers which are treated perhaps in the best way spoilers should be treated) or anything but it is worth seeing. 

I don't know if it is because in 2005 I was involved in an online charade being played out on a friend and a group of about 10 other people (me more indirectly than the other people involved for sure) and walked away kind of in a similar fashion.  I don't want to give anything away if you haven't seen the movie because it is a very good lesson about trust and online social media perceptions.  BUT I rather liked the movie.  I know that there are some controversies about how it was played out on screen that how naive were these guys?  Did they manipulate the situation (which I think in editing they do, but they talk about that in the commentary)?  Was the situation even real? Well for the naive comment...They were at the time 24.  That is young.  Really young.  And facebook is "real yo".  And they are film makers and photographers and media kids in today's day and age in NYC.  Why would people lie on their facebook profile?  So after the movie there is this little interview with them. It was very enlightening.  It's only about 20 minutes and they do answer some interesting points that come out in the film. 

These are really sweet guys.  The story is actually pretty sweet. Sad certainly and they don't really hide much of the sad stuff, just deal with it and move on.  They admit that they were all lonely and looking for exactly what they got out of the relationships which is honest as hell. 

Remember when the movie came out they were playing it out to be this "HUGE SURPRISE"/ don't give it away.  I guess because I have seen it happen first hand, that I didn't think it was shocking or tremendous or unbelievable, like the media played it out to be at the time.  Perhaps to the reviewers it was, but I have seen it. I lived it in a way.  I didn't show up on anyone's doorstep and say hello, but I certainly saw (along with the other main person involved) the kinks in the armour and rips in the veil.  We quickly figured it out for  what it was before the potential for it to get really out of hand happened. 

And in my experience personally we too fell for the story, hard... we fell for the mythos and the information presented to us because we wanted to believe the guy's story. We wanted to believe that he rescued this gorgeous girl and turned her into his well adjusted and talented muse.  We wanted to believe that you can buy a building in Seattle (cheap) and make a co-op of artists and photographers and bakers and cooks and live an idyllic and creative existence. We wanted to believe that they loved our work and photos and paintings and our creativity. 

I wanted to believe that someone I didn't know thought I was a talented photographer.  I believed so much in what he was doing with "his co-op" that I actually encouraged the people that I worked for to allow an art co-op to move into a pretty shitty building on Platte Street, and, do exactly what this guy was doing in Seattle in a way.  I saw it happening and believed it was true and could work. And for the record here in Denver, it was and still is a real co op with great and amazing and talented people coming in and out of it. The building is still filled with artists and was probably one of the best real estate deals that I ever was fortunate enough to work on directly.  But because of "bauhaus" I was able to push for that here in Denver, I don't know, had I not seen it work in this "online world",  that I would have pushed KingPin and Dr Evil as hard as I did for it. 

But in the end the guy we were interacting with wasn't really who he said he was at all, I think he might have been a photographer, he definitely was a writer (and said that he was working on a novel and would be using what he learned and our reactions in his book, which also never materialized). 

But I believed. 

I picked up a camera for the first time in 10 years or so because of the pictures he put up in livejournal of his "friends" that "he took" or his "friends/lovers/whatevers" took and his and their encouragement.  At the time I was happy that I was naive enough to believe.  Perhaps I am still naive enough to look at it all and still be glad.  I got alot out of those few months.  I know that there were a lot of people that were really really hurt.  But it was feelings that were hurt. There was no money exchanged, just wishes and dreams.  And putting your aspirations out into the world isn't a bad thing, because that makes them real and allows them to manifest. 

But it's a word of warning in this over saturated and media filled world, things might not always be what they seem.  One of the protagonists in the commentary made a very true statement...(and I am totally editorializing here) you don't but up pictures on your facebook profile that you don't think you look bad in, you only put up the good things, you put your best foot forward online, what you WANT people to see in you, see about you, not your warts and bad days and things you don't like about yourself.  So really you arent telling the whole truth anyways.  Which is very true. 

And for that and the pretty tender way that Caffish dealt with the subject matter I have to say I did enjoy it. I also learned that sometimes people do just want to reach out for attention and will do what ever it takes.  I liked the way they didn't treat anyone in the family badly, they were kind.  There was mutual kindnesses that they showed. Behind the scenes maybe not but in front of the camera, they were all nice.  And that was the best shocking surprise that I had.  And a very good lesson too.

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