...The film chronicles the life of a man who is initially unaware that he is living in a constructed reality television show, broadcast around the clock to billions of people across the globe. Truman becomes suspicious of his perceived reality and embarks on a quest to discover the truth about his life.
...The Truman Show has been analyzed as a thesis on Christianity, metaphilosophy, simulated reality, existentialism and the rise of reality television.
...Truman Burbank is the unsuspecting star of The Truman Show, a reality television program in which his entire life, since before birth, is filmed by thousands of hidden cameras, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and broadcast live around the world.
...Truman's hometown of Seahaven is a complete set built under a giant arcological dome in the Los Angeles area. Truman's family and friends are all played by actors...
...During the 30th year of the show, Truman notices certain aspects of his near-perfect world that seem out of place. A theatrical light falls from the artificial night sky constellations, nearly hitting him (quickly passed off by local radio as an aircraft's dislodged landing light) and Truman's car radio picks up a conversation between the show's crew tracking his movements. Truman also becomes aware of more subtle abnormalities within his regular day-to-day life, such as the way in which the same people appear in the same places at certain times each day and [his wife's] tendency to blatantly advertise the various products she buys. Truman's supposedly deceased father then reappears on the set dressed as a homeless man and is whisked away as soon as Truman notices him.
Despite the best efforts of his family and his best friend Marlon to reassure him, all these events cause Truman to start wondering about his life, realizing how the world seems to revolve around him. Meryl grows increasingly stressed by the pressure of perpetuating the deception, and their marriage unravels in the face of Truman's increasing skepticism and attendant hostility towards her. Truman attempts to leave Seahaven but is blocked by his inability to arrange flights, bus breakdowns, sudden traffic jams, a forest fire and a nuclear meltdown – which he becomes skeptical of when the policeman, whom Truman had never met before, calls him by name.
...One night, Truman fools the cameras and escapes the basement undetected via a secret tunnel, forcing Christof to temporarily suspend broadcasting of the show for the first time in its history. This causes a surge in viewership, with many viewers, including Sylvia, cheering on Truman's escape attempt.
Christof orders every actor and crew member to search the town, even breaking the town's daylight cycle to help in the search. They find that Truman has overcome his fear of the water and has sailed away from the town in a small boat named Santa Maria. After restoring the broadcast, Christof orders the show's crew to create a large storm to try to capsize the boat, prompting a heated debate with his superiors over the morality and legality of killing Truman in front of a live audience. Truman almost drowns, but his determination eventually leads Christof to terminate the storm. As Truman recovers, the boat reaches the edge of the dome, its bow piercing through the dome's painted sky. An awe-struck Truman then discovers a flight of stairs nearby, leading to a door marked "EXIT". As he contemplates leaving his world, Christof speaks directly to Truman via a powerful sound system, trying to persuade him to stay and arguing that there is no more truth in the real world than there is in his own, artificial world. Truman, after a moment's thought, delivers his catchphrase, "In case I don't see you... good afternoon, good evening, and good night", bows to his audience and steps through the door and into the real world.
...With the show completed, members of Truman's former audience are shown looking for something else to watch."
Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi, as in the movie, are the “creators” who have manufactured a similarly idyllic, if artificial, environment...
They were the executive producers of “The Truman Show” of 2013. A global audience sat in rapt attention before this wildly popular production. ...Bernanke is almost certain to snag yet another People’s Choice Award for this psychological “thriller.”
...But there is one fly in the ointment: in Bernanke’s production, all the Trumans – the economists, fund managers, traders, market pundits – know at some level that the environment in which they operate is not what it seems on the surface. The Fed and the Treasury openly discuss the aim of their policies: to manipulate ...and to generate reported economic “growth” and a “wealth effect.” Inside the giant Plexiglas dome of modern capital markets, just about everyone is happy, the few doubters are mocked and jeered, bad news is increasingly ignored, and markets go asymptotic. The longer QE continues, the more bloated the Fed balance sheet and the greater the risk from any unwinding. The artificiality of today... is pure Truman Show. According to the Wall Street Journal (12/20/13), the Federal Reserve purchased about 90% of all the eligible mortgage bonds issued in November.
Like a few glasses of wine with dinner, ...makes it a bit easier to forget that they are being manipulated. But what is fake cannot be made real. As Jim Grant recently noted on CNBC, the problem is that “the Fed can change how things look, it cannot change what things are.” According to John Phelan, a fellow at the Cobden Centre in the U.K., “the Federal Reserve has become an enabler of the financial havoc it was designed (a century ago) to prevent.”
Every Truman under Bernanke’s dome knows the environment is phony. But the zeitgeist so so damn pleasant, the days so resplendent, the mood so euphoric, the returns so irresistible, that no one wants it to end, and no one wants to exit the dome until they’re sure everyone else won’t stay on forever.
A marketplace of knowing Trumans seems even more unstable than the movie sound stage character slowly awakening to reality. Can the clued-in Trumans be counted on to maintain their complicity or will they go off-script? Will Fed actions reliably be met with the desired response? Will the program remain popular? Could “The Truman Show” be running out of material? After all, even Seinfeld ended.
Someday, the Fed’s show will be off the air and new programming will take its place. And people will debate just how good it really was. When the show ends, those self-deluded Trumans will be mad as hell and probably broke as well.
Hopefully there will be no sequels.
...Someday, QE will end and money won’t be free. Someday, corporate failure will be permitted. Someday, the economy will turn down again, and someday, somewhere, somehow, investors will lose money..."
All the Trumans – the economists, fund managers, traders, market pundits
know at some level that the environment in which they operate is not what it seems on the surface
But the zeitgeist is so damn pleasant, the days so resplendent, the mood so euphoric,
the returns so irresistible, that no one wants it to end.