You may have already noticed that reality blurred has a slightly new look: a new icon as part of the wordmark. If you can’t yet see it, your computer may be clinging to the old one; a force-refresh of the page (or a cache clear) should make the new one appear.
Honestly, I was never super-fond of the old icon, and learning that some people confused it with a biker gang logo (or worse) was good motivation to change it. But I also wanted the change to be purposeful and something I’d be proud to see every day.
Thinking about my goals for the site this year, I came back to a work I first read in college: Plato’s allegory of the cave, a perhaps now-overused metaphor that appears in The Republic. (You can read it free—I have not read the whole book!—or just watch an illustrated version of the allegory.)
Here’s how I apply it to reality television: What we watch on television are the projections on the cave wall, which we think is reality. But what we’re seeing is actually just shadows of puppets being moved by unseen people (hi producers!) being held in front of a fire and being projected onto the wall. The allegory also talks about someone being freed and leaving the cave, who sees the fire and thus sees the source of the reality they’ve been experiencing. When the person leaves the cave, they are at first blinded by the sun and unable to focus on anything except shadows, but eventually is able to see everything. That’s a version of my quest: to understand how the entertainment I love is being constructed.
The new icon is an abstraction of a fire and sun’s flames. It’s the same color as the letters “real” intentionally—it’s literally highlighting the real in reality, which is one of my goals here.
Of course, a fire also is a nod to Survivor, the show that partially inspired this site’s creation back in 2000, and we also gather around fires to share our stories with each other.
Also, it looks playful and fun, and I never want to lose sight of that my writing here began with a passion for a genre of television I love and believe in.
reality blurred’s mission for 2017
Here’s what I’m hoping to do this year under this new banner:
- Highlight the best journalism, reporting, and news from around the web. This is a return to the original purpose of reality blurred, which debuted as a place for me to share what I’d gathered and to comment on it (usually in a sarcastic line or two). As coverage of reality TV exploded, this seemed less necessary. But now, there’s so much content online that I want to highlight the best.
- Spotlight the best reality television to help you find great things to watch. There’s so much to watch that it’s impossible for anyone to see it all, and that includes me. But with new features like this one, I hope to point out things that might be of interest. I’m also going to try to do more brief reviews and recaps of shows I may be watching but otherwise wouldn’t have reviewed in full. I want to help you find great things to watch—and listen to. Which brings us to:
- Cover the expanding world of nonfiction entertainment. The previous two goals refer to reality TV, yes, but while reality TV struggles to figure out its next phase, I want to acknowledge the great work that’s being done in other genres. For example, I’m often more eager to hear the next episode of a episodic, reality-based podcast than I am to see the next episode of a reality show, and many podcasts are doing the kind of work that feels like early reality television.
- Be transparent about my presence and my work. I want to be clear: numbers one, two, and three are all filtered through my knowledge and values (which is why I published this on Monday). I can’t write about something if I don’t know about it, and I can’t recommend something I don’t like. I do my best to challenge myself to learn more, and try to appreciate different things, but there is a ceiling to what one person can do. I’ll try to be open about all of that as much as possible.Also, I’m also hoping you’ll continue to help me, by suggesting shows and articles, sending news tips, or sharing your insight privately—including telling me what I’ve gotten wrong or telling something I don’t know. There’s a lot I don’t know, but that’s why I love journalism and this work: I get to keep learning and discovering new things and new people, and I look forward to sharing that with you this year.