(Sur)Real?

One of the themes in peripateticism is issue of our interpretation of reality. Are we to take the events we witness for real or are they a joke? Is it logical to solve a debt/credit and spending crisis with more debt and more spending, as the federal government and nearly every American economist says? Can literary fiction be literary when nearly every sentences assumes the same structure (subject - verb or subject - predicate)? Are we healthier than ever before when statistics show that 88% of us suffer from sleep disorders and over 50% of us consume pharmaceuticals?

As a freelance translator I have the privilege of roaming around and working from any corner of the world. I have been doing this for almost a decade now, from Saint-Petersburg and Moscow to Röhmoss and Munich to New York City and the Vermont woods. Recently, I have had the opportunity to stay at a friend's house where different boys appeared in her bed in the morning. I figured this was the latest development: dating two people at a time.

This morning I happened to glance down at something like People's Magazine. On the cover, bold type announced how Chris Humpheries was dating two women. "Ah!" I said, "it is true that this is the latest development." And I opened the article to make sure my conjecture corresponded to the content of the article. I got more than I bargained for.

First of all, Chris Humpheries has dated two women (not clear whether parallel) that look very similar to Kim Karadashin (or however you spell it). Second, one of the women apparently wanted Chris to commit (whatever that means) and, when he refused, threatened him and tried to obtain money. Finally, the FBI got involved.

To me this is extremely bizarre, stretching to the point of absurdity. I don't read the tabloids much, but the ones I have seen in the bathroom over the last few years (mostly in Germany), never have anything like this. Chris Humpheries was married 72 days ago (acc. to the article). He has had the friend in question for less time than that. Who in gods name expects commitment in that timeframe? But even more ridiculous is the notion that she threatened him and attempted extortion. And one way or the other, why in the world is the FBI involved in this kind of dispute? Presumably extortion falls within their jurisdiction, but is a catfight of this kind between two celebrities worthy of government attention?

I would imagine that most of this is not true. What that says, however, is that we want to hear this kind of story. We perceive of a world in which men and women replace a past partner with a look-a-like, the subsequent lack of commitment lead to threats and extortion followed by FBI involvement. That is a reality the vastly differs from mine, even when my friend has followed the pattern of dating similar men.
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