Friday, February 1, 2013

MTV's Catfish: A Parusal into the Bizarre


*(There, the word bizarre is fixed, thanks to my kind readers. I have had the same trouble with occasion over the years in wanting to add a second "s")

Catfish is a program on MTV, yes MTV. The show itself is hosted by an X-Gener named Nev Shulman. Essentially it documents online relationships in which two people develop an "intimate" relationship with one another, usually to the point of claiming to have fallen in love, only to discover at some later point by one of the parties that he or she has been deceived and that either the other person is substantially not who they represented or completely non-existent and in either case the first party has been had. They have been duped into falling in love with a fictitious person.

Nev, himself, was a victim of a catfish (one who lies about themselves online to form a romantic relationship) and so he did a documentary about his own case. It gained notoriety, thus MTV gave birth to its series. Do I regularly watch MTV? No, but I stay informed about as many things as I can regarding the world in which I live and the program is both new and particularly informative as I am about to reveal in regards to the state of affairs for many on this planet. The story you are about to read is even more bizarre if you view this particular show (I do not feel the need to further watch the program, by the way).

In episode 6 two people, Kya and Alyx are involved in an online relationship which developed in a Vampire Lovers chat room. Get it? There is no such thing as Vampires and while it might be true all of this can be legitimized by saying that it is merely recreational and everyone knows there is no such thing and Vampire fanatics don't really live with the view they are real, what follows informs us that this is just the beginning of a maze of dishonesty. Not to mention that adults in a Vampire chatroom does not bode well in the first place as it regards mentally and emotionally healthy and mature adults.

Why is this important? Why does this matter? Because of the great deception going on around us today in which any normal and mature person would be able to understand just how ill-founded relationships are the more the move away from the truth and into sublimation and fantasy which, with many, is overlooked. That is to say, the behavior which you are about to learn about is not treated with branding as immature, narcissistic, if not disgusting and pathetic as it should be, rather with great sympathy, apologies and rationalization to justify it.

So here are two people in a vampire chat room developing a relationship. Ultimately, of course, they claim to fall in love but have never seen one another, face to face. Their claim is that the person need not be verified physically since a picture or several has been offered but more importantly, what they are or who they are falling in love with are the words which represent the person, their soul or character in other words.

This is True about our Love for God.

And this is true, isn't it? We love God because of his Words to us. These are that to which we cling, by which we come to know, fellowship and love God. But if God lied to us, then what? The normal thing would be to be offended and reject him.

No one on earth has seen God but we believers have all received his Words. The gospel is his promise to us for salvation and the further doctrines of God's Word which matures and seasons us is his pure truth to feed us. He is what his Word says. He does not lie.

Kya and Alyx However....

Kya and Alyx, on the other hand, are not so interested in the truth. You see, the links I provided earlier regarding the images of Kya and Alyx are not them at all, they are photographs of other people. Here are the real Kya and Alyx.

Kya, in reality, is a very fat, biracial woman who pretended to be a petite white young woman and Alyx is not even a man, she is a woman who is a redhead and is now in the process of the perversion of transgenderism and attempting to change the form of her body to that of a man so that she may masquerade as a man.

 The Story in a Nutshell

Essentially here is what happened.  Somewhere along the online relationship, about the six-month mark if I recall, Kya decided to come clean and tell Alyx she misrepresented herself. Kya sent a picture of herself (still deceptive in that she took it of herself using a mirror with her camera hiding her large body as much as it could along with some of her face, almost as if to only say, "I am biracial, female and morbidly obese and if we get past that I will show you more") to Alyx. To her relief Alyx said "he" accepted her and understood.

Enter Nev and the Catfish program. Apparently Nev was contacted regarding the relationship and he, in turn, contacted Kya. After getting the full scoop from Kya about Alyx, Nev and his crew went on a mission to discover who the real Alyx is since Kya was so in love and wanted to know so they could meet (Alyx, by the way, claimed to have recently moved from Switzerland to California thus the ramped up interest by Kya to meet her mysterious online male romance).  The result is, of course, that Alyx is just like Kya, lying completely. Alyx used the photos of another person, unbeknown to them, and is found out to be a woman who, as I said, is in the process of the perversion of forming her body to that of a male. With this information in hand the next step is for Nev to reveal this to Kya.

Kya, Nev and the MTV crew meet at what appears to be a restaurant for the big reveal. At first the look on Kya's face is what is expected, a stunned one but she dares not be incredulous knowing that she spent her time on Liar's Lane. Then, after a bit Kya convinces herself that it is alright, that she has had a relationship with a girl before and that she loves the person, not their body (the person who is a liar, mind you, because it was not the body that lied, it was the person).

Ultimately the two meet up through the efforts of Nev and the Catfish program. And here is what you have, Kya and Alyx together. 

Essential Observations

The Obvious. What is obvious is that the relationship is built, not upon one lie but many lies. And instead of these lies being treated as obstacles they are simply dismissed. Why was and is this so easy for Kya, Alyx and others, even ourselves if we dare look at our lives and admit such times of disinterest in the truth and integrity?

Why? Because the truth and integrity is not our interest in such contexts, that is why. Such relationships are founded for very narcissistic and selfish reasons. Kya and Alyx will eventually die as a relationship. They betrayed themselves and each other. They are nothing what they claimed but upon being faced with reality chose to ignore all their lies and continue pretending.

This is precisely what we are guilty of with God and often. God says, "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". This is not forgiveness for salvation, that is judicial forgiveness but personal and/or relational forgiveness that is required for the integrity of the relationship. We must be in the light as he is in the light (being truthful of and in all things even about our sin) or the truth is not in us, thus we are not in true fellowship with God. Instead we are Kya and Alyx, playing games and pretending it was okay to have sinned and not deal with it but just to overlook it. But my point was not about 1 John 1:9, I digressed a bit but it did have a parallel and I thought I would punctuate my comments with it here. It is never a bad thing to think of a spiritual principle.

Truth and Lies Do Not Mix, Only Truth and Truth or Lies and Lies Mix.  This might still be under the "obvious" category but imagine if one of the two had decided to convert to the truth, would there have been a possibility for a relationship? Of course not. Truth demands integrity and is designed to only mix with other truth. Truth is offended by lies and lies are offended by the truth.

The reason Kya and Alyx were able to formulate a relationship was because they both have accepted that lying is permissible on a rather basic scale in order to obtain something necessary. But more importantly, this thinking makes them compatible (for a while, at least but eventually lies mixed with lies in a relationship or two liars together, ultimately form a combustion that cannot be avoided though they do mix well to form that combustion) because they both understand that this is how they cover each other's back, so to speak. This is how they relate, so long as in the end they get some form of immediate emotional and physical satisfaction (enter adultery).

Social Commentary

What would have once been perplexing but was not as I viewed the program was my watching Nev, the host and then reading online from bloggers or various reviewers and the great admiration heaped upon Kya and Alyx for being brave and breaking through these walls of deception only to find love. Today abnormality, dysfunction and perversion is treated as not something to be remedied but to be embraced and then have others celebrate you for your bravery, that is of course if you come out as anything but a "born again Christian" who is suddenly brave enough to proclaim Christ as Savior and seek to live godly in this world, for that you will be getting no party from the world and rightly so.

Nicole Ramage makes a comment in her article, "Catfish': Surprise Drama You Never Expected" at Gather.com which reflects what has come to be the norm in our world where a lack of discernment and concern for integrity in matters of humanity are simply dismissed where she states in her review of this episode:

This was the moment for most fans of the show where their chin dropped to the floor and they sat dumbfounded that such true caring for someone could occur when both parties lied in horrific ways to each other. It was very touching and a great lesson in compassion. The even more crazy part of the episode occurred when Kya called her mother to tell her the news. Not only had she lied to her mother about meeting him before, she told her that Dani was transgender. Even more surprising than this bombshell was that her mother told her that she didn't care as long as they treated her with dignity and respect!

Maybe I am being a bit hard on Ms. Ramage but what does she mean "touching and a great lesson in compassion"? Compassion toward whom? Certainly not toward Kya and Alyx who are not served by being given a platform with commendations for living lives of deception. 

Are they lonely? Certainly and so are many people but such gross masquerading and manipulation  is not touching in the least and should lead us to no place for compassion.

Let me be Frank. All of us have strengths and weaknesses. We can do things about some of them and nothing about others. Kya and Alyx have no fundamental respect for others and certainly not themselves and show no interest in developing a responsible and truthful view of life. They want to pretend what they are does not exist. This is the way of much of the world. People cannot accept themselves or others. Life is about posturing, about pretending and about self-deception. 

I write often about ego-centrism because it is the basic building block of destructive behavior. It makes excuses for everything. Poor me, I am just bound to misbehave, poor me I am fat, obese and unattractive, poor me I am....fill in the blank. But such pity parties are one of the marks of consummate selfishness.

Life is a struggle, sin does debilitate us in that we must have compassion for ourselves and others but when people construct lives of lies and justification for such, the compassion is to end until they become receptive to the truth. It is one thing to say, "I struggle with...." and it is another thing to simply live a lie as if it is fine or that it does not exist because you are ignoring it. 

How the Virtual World Plays out in Reality

In the end Kya and Alyx were so oriented to the virtual world of online relating that when they encountered reality they defaulted to onlineism. In the world of virtual reality or online relationships, even Facebook, reality to one degree or another (often to a great degree) is removed. Everyone is a click away from being taken away from one's presence so you do not have to deal with them. 

Kya and Alyx ignored reality, the reality that they both are liars, the reality that they don't care how one another looks though pictures were important in being attracted to each other, the reality that neither will ever have the person their fantasy thought they warranted but in reality they end up with someone much like themselves. They stuff it in and ignore it all and keep on pretending.

Online is great for pretending but in the real world, while it might last for a bit, in the end it will destroy. Real life requires the real which is a synonym for the truth. Face to face provides no escape unless both parties agree to lie and cover each other's lies but as I said that combination is combustible and will explode as some point.

And this is much of today's world. You ought to watch the program if you are an adult. I say that not because of any graphic language or material because I always and only recommend viewing to adults since I speak only to adults, understanding that children have parents to speak to them on such matters.

You will observe much of what is dysfunctional in the world today. It truly is a trip into the surreal. It makes me all the more appreciate what I have learned over the years as a Christian regarding matters of integrity which have been reinforced, over and over again, in my life especially with respect to relationships.