Time to Remember
The Prime Minister is coerced to perform un unspeakable act on a live worldwide television feed to fulfill ransom demands for the release of the kidnapped Princess. A man rewinds and analyzes the moments of his life via an optical implant that records everything he sees. A grieving widow uses an online service to virtually recreate her deceased husband. A cartoon bear disrupts an election by challenging the candidates with potty humor.
These are some of the stories told in the anthology series Black Mirror (Series 1 & 2 available on Netflix streaming).A bold commentary on an all to plausible future where technological advances continue to drain our humanity. This twisted vision by series creator Charles Booker has a very grounded feel, but trust me when I say it is not a dry affair. It challenges and lampoons everything from our obsession with social media, of posting everything that happens in our lives for the world to see, to the prostitution of contestants on reality shows in the name of bigger ratings.
If a political figure (or anyone, for that matter)was blackmailed in the name of saving someone's' life, how would we react? Especially if the had to do something so morally reprehensible that was in turn televised? Would we demand they follow through with it? Would we watch? The Prime Minister in The National Anthem is called upon to sodomize a PIG!! Of course, no one wants to see any harm done to the Princess, and there does seem to initially be some feeling that this is a fitting act for a politician. Almost a joke. But when push comes to shove, how would you feel? Would you watch? Sickened, maybe, but unable to turn away- like a car accident? And what would be the lasting effect ?Would it change you? Change your opinion of the figure- for the good or bad? Relevant stuff, this.
If you could take everything written by a lost loved one, every text, every posting, and every phone call, and it could be used to create a facsimile of that person, would you do it? Would it be a full realization of that person? How we represent ourselves with language through conversation and writing is how we want to be perceived, but most times don't speak to nuances of character, to the things un-said. The widow in Be Right Back is desperate in her grief, but finds the reality to be an empty shell of her husband.
Every day brings some kind of technological advance- from smart phones to wearable health monitors. Facebook uses algorithms to find people you might know and to pop up adverts specifically geared towards your google searches. Youtube makes viral stars out of cats and mundane people doing mundane things. The internet streams every possible kind of thing you can imagine from porn to violent death. And people watch it all. I think you can take Black Mirror as a well crafted and entertaining warning. It doesn't seem that fantastical when you consider that a lot of the things that it shows already exists. Technology is pushing forward at an incredible pace, so fast, in fact, I think we forget to question if it should. Where is a line drawn?
Leave it to the Brits to come up with a show so edgy and thought provoking. Definitely bingeworthy.
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