the Real Out of Reality
by Mad Dog
In the great tradition of Charles I, Lady Jane
Grey, and Ann Boleyn, William had his head lopped off and digitally replaced with a
smiling version they kept on hand for just such an emergency.
|| Its hard to
know what to believe anymore. Krushchevs son applied for American citizenship.
Margarine has become a cholesterol-lowering drug. And some people think Dan Quayle would
make a good president. With a straight face, no less.
Now it turns out that even official British royal wedding photos
cant be believed. Recently, when Prince Edward ("The Other White Prince")
got married, they corralled the family and took the usually battery of photographs. If you
thought this was a lot of trouble at your wedding, imagine having to make sure everyone
gets handed the right crown.
Lo and behold, when they got the film back from Royal One-Hour
Photo Processing (Motto: "Our photos rule") they discovered that Prince William,
second in line to the throne, wasnt smiling. Well tut-tut, cheerio, and all that
rot. Everyonebut everyone!knows this isnt acceptable behavior for a
King-to-be, even if he was just emulating dad.
According to the official photographer, "Prince Edward
said he didnt think Prince William looked absolutely his best." So, in the
great tradition of Charles I, Lady Jane Grey, and Ann Boleyn, William had his head lopped
off and digitally replaced with a smiling version they kept on hand for just such an
Lets get real for a moment. Prince
William is 17. Seventeen-year-olds dont smile. Hell, they should have been happy he
even bothered to show up! And wasnt packing a gun. Or a can of spray paint so he
could cover the bathroom walls with graffiti like "Viva primogeniture". But no,
that wasnt good enough for them. After all, what fun is it being royalty if you
dont get to make decrees every once in a while?
Even war, one of the most real things I can think of next to a ride on a public bus, is
|| This isnt
just an English thing. Well, the primogeniture is, though if George Bush becomes president
even that may change. American royalty, I mean politicians, also change reality. A couple
of years ago in Virginia, Senator John Warner ran a political commercial which showed
opponent Mark Warner shaking hands with former Governor Douglas Wilder and President Bill
Clinton. The only problem was, that wasnt Mark Warner in the original photograph. It
turned out that someone lifted Warners head from another photo and placed it on the
body of Chuck Robb, which not only caused a political stink but aroused Robbs wife,
Lynda Byrd, for the first time since she discovered Robb wasnt, in fact Al Gore. The
official explanation was, "Chuck didnt look absolutely his best." Good
enough for me.
Head-switching must be quid pro quo
(Latin for "huh?") in Virginia. Around that same time, a state agency there
published a photograph of then-governor George Allen rafting down the James River sitting
next to Jimmy "Wanna see my sausage?" Dean. Its true that in this case
Dean had actually been in the raft, but its also true that he didnt sit next
to the governor. Someone thought the photo op could be improved upon and digitally grafted
Deans head onto someone elses body. Probably Lynda Byrds. Which got
Chuck Robb aroused for the first time since
.well, you get the idea.
Even war, one of the most real things I can think of next to a
ride on a public bus, is getting suspect. During the recent Kosovo Unpleasantness, as the
State Department prefers to call it, NATO accused the Serbs of manufacturing photos of
civilians who were bombed. They said the tractors looked like they were parked, there was
a marked lack of blast craters, bodies appeared to have been shot rather than bombed, and
then there was that cameo appearance by Prince Williams smiling face.
Embarrassed that the only girl who would agree to go to your high school prom with you
looked like Ernest Borgnine on steroids? Put Cameron Diaz in the photo.
|| Not wanting to be
outdone, the Yugoslav government countered that the Kosovo refugees streaming out of the
country were actually ethnic Albanians who were paid $5.50 each to walk in a big circle
through Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro, re-entering Kosovo and doing the circuit again
so it would look like there were a lot more refugees than there actually were. Im
not making this up. The tip-off was when one guy was seen leaving the country holding the
end of a rope andhang onto your clown nose!was later seen entering the
opposite side of the country pulling the other end of the rope! What does NATO think,
Milosevic has never seen a circus before?
Altering reality is
nothing new, its just so much easier now. All the people I know who went to
Woodstock left early because it was a muddy, cold, messy hellhole. But once the media got
a hold of it, and especially when the movie came out, it became Paradise. At this point
there are at least 4 million people claiming to have been there, many of them who
werent even born at the time. The images have long ago co-opted the reality.
But at least it took a lot of newspapers, magazines, TV
footage, and an expensive movie to change that reality. Today, thanks to technology,
anyone with a computer, a bootlegged copy of PhotoShop, and a craving to change history
can do it. Dont like the fact that you looked like Howdy Doody when you were a kid?
Drop young Macauley Culkins head on your body. Embarrassed that the only girl who
would agree to go to your high school prom with you looked like Ernest Borgnine on
steroids? Put Cameron Diaz in the photo. Its almost the new millennium, theres
no reason we all cant all look absolutely our best.
©1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them so you can find heads to put on your family photos.