Friday, May 12, 2006

A Pitiful Cry for Attention

Last week David Blaine graced New York with his attention-seeking presence with much fanfare. He staged his most recent stunt in Lincoln Center in the heart of the Upper West Side in the midst of a classy, cultural mecca, which, in my humble opinion, resulted in a sad display of present day fascination with the flamboyantly idiotic. I don’t know much about David Blaine, but I gather he didn’t get much attention as a child considering he has spent the majority of his adulthood garnering as much attention as he can doing completely ridiculous and idiotic stunts. I’m afraid our gross curiosity as humans has sunken us to a new low.

David Blaine has survived all of his stunts, which is a good thing, but I can’t for the life of me understand the logic behind them or what he’s trying to prove. Many people before him have set records doing exactly what he is doing, so there is no question in my mind of the capabilities of the human body. I just don’t see the point of testing the body to an inch of death all for the sake of setting a new record.

In an effort to paint a more accurate picture of Mr. Blaine, I thought I would share some of his stunts. In 1999, he buried himself alive in a glass coffin in front of an office building in New York for seven days. In 2000, he froze himself in a block of ice for almost 62 hours in Times Square. In 2002, he sat on top of a 90 foot pillar in Bryant Park only 22 inches wide for 35 hours with no food or drink and no safety harness. He gave himself a concussion when he jumped down onto a 12 foot high pile of cardboard boxes. In 2003, he suspended himself 30 feet over the South Bank of the Thames River in London in 7x7x3 Plexiglas case for 44 days without food or water. Apparently, some of the British didn’t take to kindly to his presence there and greeted him by throwing eggs, lemons, water bottles, sausages and other items at his case. The Sunday Times reported of the incident, “You've picked the wrong town to be hung in, Mr Blaine. What is clear from the start is that Londoners are not taking Blaine quite as seriously as he takes himself.” And his most recent stunt was submerging himself in an 8-foot diameter sphere of water for seven days using tubes for air and nutrition. His final phase of the stunt was an attempt to hold his breath for nine minutes to beat the record of 8 minutes 58 seconds. He had to be pulled out after 7 minutes and 8 seconds… only seconds before the carbon dioxide in his body would have killed him off.

All week long, I had to hear people ask me if I was going to see David Blaine in Lincoln Center, and every time my response was the same. “That guy is such a freak show, and I refuse to support his idiocy.” I happily profess that I did not go see him floating in his bubble of water. We started to call him Bubble Boy. I do not see how staring at a man desperate for attention who does insanely stupid things in high profile and public places is a form of entertainment. How does he make money anyway? We live in New York City, the home of Broadway, the New York Philharmonic, a gazillion awesome restaurants, The Met, museums galore, famous attractions, monuments and historical landmarks and people are lining up to see Bubble Boy. It’s rather sad, really.

I am glad his stunt is over. I am glad he did not die although part of me is dreading the next stunt. Perhaps next time he will set himself on fire. Did no one love him as a child? Surely, there is something to be said about taking control of the human body and demonstrating what it can do. And certainly we all do things that could be labeled stupid and idiotic. I, for example, will openly admit that doing an Ironman is crazy and a little idiotic. Actually, doing it once is acceptable to prove that you can. Doing it 42 times or multiple times in a single year is just plain idiotic. Blaine claims he is trying to understand himself, get to a higher level of thinking, return to the purest form of survival, which may be the case, but why do it in public or on national television? That is just a pitiful cry for attention. Trying to achieve a higher sense of self and succeeding in self-mastery is most often attained in solitude and out of the eyes of others not on a stage in front of millions of people.

As horrible as it may sound, I share the sentiments of the British.

1 comment:

butterflypoacher said...

lol. I'd watch him if he set himself on fire. I'm sure the video would be all over the net.