27 August 2012

When everything is recorded, nothing is remembered


"2.  An interesting take on this is the British series Black Mirror, three separate stories of "our unease with the modern world."  Spoilers coming: In the second story, the youth are put on stationary bikes to create energy for the world, and are paid in, essentially, Facebook credits that serve also as money.  The only way out of this enslavement is to get on Hot Spot-- i.e. to become famous.  One young black man rises up against the system with the only violence he has available: he goes on Hot Spot and threatens to stab himself in the neck with a shard of glass unless he's allowed to rage against the machine.  But rather than gas the theatre or send in the snipers-- they give him his own weekly talk show where he is safely allowed to rage against the system, in between commercials.

"However, the true import of that episode is only revealed when considered with the first episode, in which the Princess (e.g. of Wales) is kidnapped, with a single ransom demand: the Prime Minister must have sex with a pig, on live TV.  Is the Princess's life wirth it?  Should they negotiate with terrorists?  But all of this is cover for the real conflict: if he does it, he'll be disgraced, most certainly not re-elected.

"He does it: it takes over an hour, some tranquilizers and some Viagra.  It is moving, because as he cries through the sex act, all of England is watching from pubs, cheering and jeering.  However, the final post-credits scene reveals the secondary consequence of the always-on, broadcast world: after a year, the Prime Minister is happily re-elected.  No one even remembers the pig incident. 

Together, the two episodes suggest that not only does appearing on TV trivialize events, but it temporizes them.   When everything is recorded, nothing is remembered."

via the Last Psychiatrist 

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