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Learning to Cry

A few months ago, I shared the viral You Tube video of the woman crying about cats on a dating site. It was a spoof, of course, but it made me wonder how many such videos there are out there. And since my latest post focused on a topic partially related to teenagers, I thought I’d share today what I found when I looked.

This is both hilarious and a little scary, especially, I imagine, if you are a parent of a teenager. Because what I found was a lot of teenagers teaching other teenagers to fake cry. Many of them are aspiring actors and actresses, but many also mention fooling their parents or other adults.

There are dozens of these videos on You Tube alone, almost all of them featuring young people. I featured two that I thought were particularly funny—the goofy boy and the sulky, manipulative girl. But look at more for full effect.

* This girl wins the prize for the fastest fake crying.

* This one recommends the chemical method.

* This one notes that her method is superior since you don’t need any Vicks.

* This fellow recommends exercising the “muscle in your tear duct” so that “even a grown man can cry.”

* The music here gives a yoga feel to crying.

* And this little girl wins the prize for the youngest I could find. She has a really hard time faking, but she is determined.

Because most of these efforts come out of the acting world, there is an underlying ongoing debate about method acting (“think about something sad”) and practical aesthetics or theatrical acting (“exercise the muscle in your tear ducts” and “hold your eyes open til tears build up” or “push” or even “rub Vicks Vap-o-Rub under your eyes”).

Since the goal of most actors, whether method or otherwise, is to create authentic feeling in their audiences, this week I’m going to contemplate the relationship between artifice and authenticity. They are not simple opposites. At least not for everybody.

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