Tuesday, August 01, 2006

World Cup

The final rounds of the World Cup of Soccer came and went last month. The football was entertaining enough, I suppose. The benefit of not having a job is being able to watch pretty much all 63 games, and after such an embarrassment of riches I became rather jaded. It was fun, however, to see how excited people got about the matches, and there is a particular thrill I get to hear a stadium full of fans scream when a goal is finally scored.

Speaking of fans and thrills, I noticed a peculiar tendency of the shot selection protocols practiced by the television cameramen that were recording the game to broadcast to us. Whenever the narrative of the game requires a crowd shot, the cameras tend to seek out the comeliest young ladies they can find for a close-up.

I’m not sure people realize it, but this phenomenon is rather commonplace at sporting events. Long have nubile coeds come early to college football games so they can stand in the front row and show off their goods to the video cameras and photographers. At the World Cup, young ladies seeking this sort of attention will hold their nation’s flag up behind them. This creates a makeshift backdrop that advertises their loyalties and indicates, perhaps, which team’s players they are most interested in fraternizing with after the game. I have posted an ensample; we can see the typical characteristics: front row, flag, half a shirt, and a surfeit of team spirit. We can also see that Argentinean ladies are more familiar with armpit hygiene than women of certain other nations.

(For some reason, three of the four gentlemen over her left shoulder are not watching the game. They seem to be distracted by something else.)

I suppose it understandable that cameramen would seek the most pleasing and positive images possible, according to their own aesthetic inclinations. And there is hopefully not too much moral danger in seeing one immodest Latina. But I find ill portentions in television viewers being fed a steady diet of beauty and only beauty.

These sporting events are a perfect example. Tens of thousands in attendance look just like regular people, but the cameras aren’t so interested in them. The young lady above doesn’t look like them. She doesn’t look like hardly anyone. She possesses a physique attainable only by a few, and even then only by dint of fanatical exercise and invasive surgery. But she is the one we see when we watch.

Television would have us believe that those bulbous bosoms, trim figures, and clear, sharp features are what people really look like. Or should, at least. The logical realization of the illusion is not enough of a defense, for as we surround ourselves with illusory beauty our attitudes and perceptions are still affected. Trips to Wal-Mart and the DMV are mildly shocking for some of us – seeing the denizens of such places is a forceful reminder of what human beings really look like: saggy, scorched, brittle, and squishy.