How I Decided I Have IMS and What Is It
So I was recently looking for a new disease to diagnose myself with.
The internet makes this extraordinarily easy for a hapless hypochondriac. It’s a relatively simple equation. Symptoms + Google = You’re fucked!
A slight ache turns into a dire prognosis complete with tumors, a shortened lifespan, and a whole boatload of medical trauma to follow.
The problem was that I really wasn’t feeling that badly. There had to be something to exaggerate, but I couldn’t locate it psychically right now.
What can you do?
Because of my lack of medical emergency, I decided it was a good time to pop in a DVD. The DVD in question was a used (bought for $1) copy of Dog Day Afternoon.
Now, Dog Day Afternoon is a Seminal Work of 1970’s Cinema. Responsible for the creation of several game changing idioms and delivering many defining moments in movie history. Why do I know all of that?
Because I had never actually watched it. Dog Day Afternoon is one of those movies you know of by reputation if nothing else. You might even know that Al Pacino screams: “Attica! Attica!” at one point, but you’ll most likely have no idea why. It’s become a cultural cliche that we’ve all encountered at some point.
(Some other examples: “Here’s looking at you, kid.” “I could have been a contender.” And my personal favorite: “Squeal like a pig, boy. Squeal like a pig.”)
I’m about to drop a sacrilegious bomb. Are you ready for it?
I found Dog Day Afternoon incredibly boring. But my boredom led to a few straying thoughts.
- I’ve seen every element of this movie recycled in later movies. And that causes it to feel “familiar.” (Remember The Negotiator with Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey? I now know that it knocks off Dog Day Afternoon almost note for note. That movie was boring too).
- All of the “hot button topics” uncovered in this movie are part of my daily life. I hear about them every day. Gay marriage, unglamorous heros, fucking shit tons of motherfucking profanity used in every day dialogue. (It sounds more fucking realistic if the people in your fucking movie curse a lot. Or at least that’s a common misconception among beginning writers. Me included). None of this is shocking to a 2011 audience. But I guess it was mind blowing in 1975 when the film was released.
- That Pacino kid...that guy has chops. He’s going to be a major actor someday. (Which is really just a sarcastic commentary on the fact that he has lost every ounce of the vitality he once had onscreen.)
That’s when I heard a faint whispering in my (possibly infected) ear: “You have IMS...IMS...)
“Oh, dear,” thought I “what ever could that be?”
And then I realized what it was: Intense Media Saturation.
Intense Media Saturation (IMS): Definition, Causes, Symptom, and Treatment.
Does the above headline look familiar?
It should because I’ve knocked off the template from various “Diagnose Yourself Now!” sites. It’s oh so very easy to be a total and complete hypochondriac these days.
Now, let’s talk about what IMS actually is.
Definition of Intense Media Saturation (IMS)
Intense Media Saturation (IMS) is the feeling of both cinematic and cultural deja vu. You can shake your finger at what you’ve seen before, even if you are clueless about where you saw it.
Do you really need me to elaborate on this? You’ve been plugged into an endless feed of images, plot points, acting conventions, and directorial styles since birth. You’ve always loved your TV set and your local multiplex and high speed internet connection. You’re brain is like a grease cloth used to wipe off the grill at a dingy fast food joint. Saturated in junk. It’s not your fault exactly. You’re just a product of the times.
- Increased boredom.
- Muttering: “I know exactly what is going to happen.”
- Keeping a mental check list of every stock character in the movie.
- Contrasting the movie you’re watching with another movie you’ve already seen. And deciding that the previous film “did it better.”
- Wondering if you should actually do one of (if not all) of the following: go outside, eat, or scratch yourself. Because that would be a more productive of time.
There are actually several methods of treatment. Most of them are unbearably painful and require a tremendous commitment on your part. But there is hope!
Here they are:
- Stop exposing yourself to the media. Go cold turkey. Don’t watch movies, or read books, or even dedicate half an hour to a sitcom.
- Stop thinking. You don’t want to be using your brain, do you? It’s historically proven to lead to the demise of most brilliant people. Do you want to cut off your ear and sleep with whores in the gutter? Because that’s what too much thinking gets you: insanity. (Or does it make you go blind? I don’t know).
- Only watch the snootiest, most obscure stuff you find. This way you can find something to praise as wholly original. (If you don’t get it, it’s brilliant. Trust me). Seek out out the willfully obtuse and immaterial. It will serve you well.
Yes, but is there a cure?
No, of course not. You can modulate it, but you can never erase it.
So what happens then, exactly?
Nothing really. It’s a disease of the mind. There’s a high likely hood that it doesn’t even really exist. (Maybe...)
But I suppose you want some concrete terrible events to accompany your illness.
- It’s going to be terrible You’ll have blood rushing out of your ears. Your eyes will fall out of the sockets, just like that scene in Minority Report. When is this going to happen? Do you have time to prepare for that? No...it’s going to happen right now. Get the bucket!
- You’re going to die. Just like everyone else. It’s not up to me to tell you when.
There you have it, folks. My contribution to the world of Internet Diagnoses.
I hope you like it.