A friend of mine recently shared a wonderful quote by the French poet and film maker Jean Cocteau (1889 – 1963): “Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images.”
That ideal could very well serve as an aspiration for the industry I have been part of, in one way or another, for over 20 years: the public media. At the very basic, the media are expected to reflect our society and our times.
The reality is, there are many different kinds of mirrors:
• Some mirrors show us things exactly as they are – we might call them true mirrors.
• There are some ‘funny mirrors’ that distort – showing us as too thin, too fat, or elongated!
• There are concave and convex mirrors used in everyday situations from rear view mirrors in cars to shaving mirrors in bathrooms.
• Then there are a few mirrors that have cracked, which now give out a totally warped reflection.
Of course, the properties and behaviour of these mirrors are determined the laws of physics.
But must the public media behave just like glass mirrors do, throwing back images without some inner reflection?
This is certainly worth pondering.