So, this week I was kind of at a loss for what I even wanted to talk about. I brainstormed about speaking about philosophers that I’ve been reading up on lately. I was thinking of just writing a 400-word monologue, honestly, I was contemplating just going on a giant tangent on Goya and his black paintings, but I think I found something to talk about that has a little bit of all those aspects. That being a show called “Downtown,” and of course if you have heard of this show before then you would be skeptical. “How could something that presents itself so vulgar, plagued with such simplicity, be able to appeal to deep philosophical ideologies”. That can be answered when you look within the subtext of the show itself.
The show Downtown by MTV surrounds our protagonist Alex, a 22-year-old man who works at a printing press, living in New York City. The largest factor that contributes to the differentiation between its meaning and its outward presentation is the persistent theme of sex, drugs, and crime. Yet it is important that these themes are a part of the show because it is what brings emphasis to the importance to both the underlying themes as well as the personality of Alex. Alex is not the same as other characters in that show, he seems to be more sheltered and less willing to go out and expose himself to the culture that was the late 1990s. However, there are breaks in his original character that serve as very important aspects of the way the show approaches certain issues and people’s reaction to them. For example, in season one episode four, “insomnia”, Alex loses his ability to sleep for two days, and on the third night he has become someone that is almost unrecognizable. This episode, in my opinion, aligns almost perfectly with Goya descent into artistic madness. The lack of something so rudimentary in the human mind can change a person so drastically.
Another way that I think that he relates to Goya was the way that neither of them seemed to adapt very well to the ever-changing landscape of the modern world. Goya, once a well renowned imperial artist now was nothing but an old man that never left his home. The governmental and social changes of the world caught up with Goya, and instead of letting them overtake him he cut himself off. That’s where he created his final pieces, within the confines of his own reaction to things that he had no control over. Alex does the same thing, attempting to isolate himself from a world in which he is a prisoner in.
I think that this is just one of the many examples of ways that modern and historical art and media still portray similar ideologies. Even throughout the passage of time we are able to keep ideas relevant.