It’ s been a unsual week in Outlander world. Within the space of a few hours, I saw the fandom reach new heights of the sublime (wonderful efforts for charity) and the ridiculous (groping). And…a costume debacle…again… Be patient with me while you read this because I promise that I do have a point, but it might take a minute to get there.
Some very excited fans in Prague shared their photos of Outlander being filmed in their part of the world. It became impossible not to open my Twitter and Facebook feeds and not see Sam, Caitriona, and Duncan in costume.
If I could have avoided it, I would have. Short of not turning on my devices, I really don’t think I could have avoided seeing them. The pics were everywhere.
As I’ve written before, this whole experience of getting to know more about how TV series are written, directed, filmed and how sets and costumes are designed has been very enlightening. I truly had no idea how much effort and artistry goes into a production. These people ARE artists. They create with the idea that what they each contribute is telling us a story. Their efforts are part of the whole and bigger picture. So, when images are posted out of the context of that bigger whole it is frustrating and disappointing for the artists that worked so hard. I get it.
This certainly wasn’t the first time that pictures have been posted “leaking” sets and costumes. And, to tell the truth, I have sort of separated these “offenses” into different categories that can be defined by motivation. I am much more willing to forgive excited fans that love Outlander and are just sharing that day they got to see the stars than those who are standing far off with high-powered lenses and the idea that there is money to be made from their pictures. I get the fans’ excitement and don’t believe there was any malicious intent. I wish they hadn’t shared, but I don’t believe they were trying to ruin anything. They were just excited. I get it.
Terry Dresbach, the costume designer for the series, has tried to explain why these leaks are disappointing to her. Several times. Her last effort was a blog post that told her side of this issue and offered great insight for those who cared to understand. https://wordpress.com/read/post/feed/23309844/806011889
I believe this article will probably be her last attempt to explain because she is waving the white flag. Social media is a stormy ocean and she is just one person trying to hold back the tide. She cried “Uncle” (and actually defined “Uncle” for those folks who might be unfamiliar with this American colloquialism which I found pretty amusing and made me determined to look up the origins of the words’ use). She is tired of fighting. I get it.
What I don’t get is the reaction to her attempts to explain why these premature peeks are disappointing. So many truly didn’t understand or WANT to understand. I started seeing some posts that suggested that somehow the fans were owed these peeks. In fact, the sense of entitlement I was reading was staggering. The fans weren’t being courted enough! It is their money and subscriptions that make this all possible! People got angry and mean. “Oh! No! I saw a costume everything is ruined!” “Be careful. Someone might tattle to Terry about you and she’ll send her minions” Snarky and mean-spirited and… entitled.
At first, I didn’t think I would write about this because like Terry, I’ve come to realize the world has changed. Social media is a powerful force and the battle cannot be won.
But,…(you knew there was a but didn’t you and I did warn you this might take a minute) bits and pieces of conversations over SM the past week were still floating around in my head last night and my mind was busy making connections and meaning. Terry posted an article about the current popularity of mindfulness as a tool in business. I re-tweeted a quote from Diana Gabaldon about art. And…the Wizard of OZ… These seemingly loosely connected topics ganged together in my thoughts and formed an idea…a theory.
I believe that our exposure to the high-speed of information and connecting to “social” media has indeed changed the world and us. My husband and I have this argument all the time. He tends to demonize technology while I tend to see it in a more favorable light. I could make a pretty long list of the benefits and enrichment the use of technology has brought into my life. Today, however, I find myself more on the “technology is the devil” side of things. I think our use of technology has created a culture of expectation for instant gratification and a sense of entitlement. The glut of information available to us at the touch of a button has now become part of the fabric of our lives. I read research that found if we have to wait more than 10 seconds for something to load we give up…10 seconds. We are over stimulated and need more…more quickly and we EXPECT to have our desires satisfied…now. This morning I find myself longing for the good old days when we had to…wait for it…wait. <g>
“All good things come to those who wait”
When I read people proclaiming their right to see costumes before the show aired because “Droughtlander” was soooo long and fans were sure to lose interest if they weren’t fed images, I thought of museums. More specifically, my granddaughters and museums. My daughter decided that the best way to have healthy and happy children was to encourage them to limit their access to TV and technology. I liked to call my daughter’s decision “creative deprivation”. The girls went outside and played with toys that required their imagination (including the prop/costume box at Grammy’s house! They created and performed some wonderful plays and puppet shows) As a result, they were not overstimulated and it was a real joy to take them places like museums.
I’m not big on buying things for the grandkids (like I could really pick out anything they would like anyway) however, I will spend my time and money giving them experiences. One particular trip to the German Separatists village in Zoar, Ohio stands out in my mind. Zoar was one of the most successful communes in the country. By pulling their efforts and sharing their possessions they were able to survive and thrive pre and post Civil War. Most of the village is still intact and can be toured. I took my three under 10 year-old grandchildren to the old general store at Zoar where we bought our tickets, received a paper with a scavenger hunt for specific historic items, and joined four adults for a guided tour. The children’s genuine interest was obvious and I remember how proud I was when the adults in our party commented on how refreshing it was to see such well-behaved children who were asking questions and excited to be learning. We ended our tour by going to the village bakery and eating cookies made from a 200-year-old recipe. I found myself convinced that my granddaughters could appreciate this experience because they had space around their moments of stimulation. A simple cookie or vanilla ice cream cone was enough to make them happy. They didn’t need or expect more.
I found some research to back my theory that “creative deprivation” is a good thing and that we may be losing the ability to wait.
In the article, Instant Gratification and Its Dark Side By Ronald Alsop, the author points out that our online activity may be robbing us of the benefits of waiting.
The need for round-the-clock connection not only makes people more impatient, it also robs them of time for quiet reflection or deeper, more critical thinking. They tend to want constant stimulation, have less impulse control and get distracted more easily. Diagnoses of attention deficit disorder for children and teenagers have soared; even older adults are increasingly getting prescriptions for ADD medications. Some teachers report that they rarely assign complete books any longer, but choose short stories or excerpts instead because of shorter attention spans. http://www.bucknell.edu/communications/bucknell-magazine/instant-gratification-and-its-dark-side.html
In an article from the Boston Globe entitled, Instant Gratification is Making Us Perpetually Impatient by Christopher Muther, the author quotes research that supports the idea that we are missing out because we need more and we need it now.
…Researchers found the rapid pace of technology can lead to more nimble thinking, but that “trends are leading to a future in which most people are shallow consumers of information.”
“A lot of things that are really valuable take time,” Worthy said. “But immediate gratification is the default response. It’s difficult to overcome those urges and be patient and wait for things to come over time.”
Professor of English Harold Schweizer wrote a book titled On Waiting. Schweizer writes that waiting gives people time for thinking, inspiration and regeneration.
a poem, painting or difficult concept “attains value because we have waited for it, waited on it.” But without the investment of time, he says, “objects and experiences tend to remain without value.”
When we have to wait for things they tend to have more value. Like….oh, I don’t know…waiting for costumes to be revealed when a show airs…
I can hear you all saying what does this have to do with the Wizard of Oz? Wait for it…<g>… Terry made a reference to the movie in an attempt to explain why waiting to see costumes, sets, etc. was a good thing. She was quick to say she certainly wasn’t comparing Outlander to Oz, but I got what she WAS saying. Maybe it’s because I’m old enough to remember seeing it on a color TV for the first time. It was an experience that took my breath away, the colors, the costumes, the world, and the…story. I believe that experience was all the better for NOT seeing images in advance. It was worth the wait. She wants us to have the same experience when we see Jamie and Claire in Paris. Upon reflection, I know because I have seen the costume pics, I will never know what it would be like to have seen them for the first time in the context of the story as a whole. However, my past experience with Outlander on Starz’ ability to tell a story well makes me hopeful. I truly believe that I will still be so immersed in the story they are telling that even if I do recognize a costume, it will merely be a blip on my conscience radar. We’ll see…
Okay…I think I’ve made my point. The world has changed, we can’t stop it, sometimes good things come from technology, but sometimes not so much, I wish I hadn’t seen those images and Outlander is worth the wait!