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Tag: youtube

Is the Interweb making us stupid?

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All knowledge is two YouTube videos away. You need to fix your garage door opener; there’s a YouTube video for that. How do I install a toilet? There’s a YouTube video for that. What’s the hero’s journey according to Joseph Campbell? YouTube. What’s the difference between an ionic and covalent bond? YouTube, YouTube, YouTube and so on. I say two YouTube videos because not all YouTube videos are created equal, as well you need the second one to confirm the findings of the first one and lastly if you’re like me you have trust issues. Who does this guy think he is explaining the laws of thermal dynamics anyways?

So why with such a rich wealth of knowledge at our fingertips are we becoming so stupid?

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We really don’t have to look any further than the comment section directly underneath our lovely YouTube University. For every drop of insight there’s a sea of ignorance. Everything’s political and no one’s listening to anything that diverts their emotional base. My new pet peeve are the political videos that claim So-and-So DESTROYS So-and-So. The only thing being destroyed here is the value of words. In most cases casual viewers cherry-pick their team’s words and claim instant victory. Discourse is healthy unless it becomes a Garfield without Garfield comic where you remove your opponents ideas from influencing you in anyway. Destroys: the ball hasn’t moved an inch.

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Both sides of the argument are equally guilty of demonizing the opposing team and the internet is a giant megaphone. How did so many smart people get sucked into such a stupid predicament? This sounds like a textbook example of hell: you’ll  be condemned to a circular argument with a deaf, dumb and blind troll with a bullhorn for eternity. Insert proper cliche here. Indignation has become the designer drug of the 21st century.

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Maybe the potential of the internet was too good for us and we weren’t meant to have nice things. Maybe we should just stick to Aunt Petunia’s gardening blog and call it a day. Maybe politicians do have our best interests in mind. Maybe internet trolls are really doing God’s work and exposing the flimsiness of our convictions. Maybe brawn over brain is the way to go. Maybe facts don’t really matter. Maybe listening and compromise are antiquated ideals.  Maybe a world without Art is better off. Maybe we get what we deserve. Maybe… but no.

Don’t be stupid.

 

Binge Watch: Black Mirror

morningPeople in the UK must get a real kick out North Americans exclaiming “I’ve found this great new show!” when they’ve been in fact watching it for ages. It’s not like we’ve been sleeping on these things, it’s just that there is definitely a pop-culture trickle down effect at work; especially with some of the more ‘how you say’ off the beaten path creations. Even with the internet, something needs to take foot locally before it can go global. Every new show needs to take some time to establish itself and find its audience, but hopefully like all good things, the cream will rise to the top and eventually find its way to the ones who will appreciate it. Sometimes this can take many years, like in the case of Joss Whedon’s Firefly. The trickle down effect can be slow, but is actually perfect for the binge watcher (like myself); because by the time something comes across your radar, you have multiple seasons to sink your teeth into. This is almost a necessity in the case of some British programs whose seasons consist of very short runs of sometimes 3 to 6 shows. Enter Netflix or Youtube and there goes hours of your life.

4610bb3f-1663-410f-83bc-7201cc58a056_625x352So I’ve found this great new show, 2011 new. It’s called Black Mirror and to say it’s a little off the beaten path would be an understatement. The best way I’ve heard it described would be a modern day Twilight Zone exploring the perils of the digital age. There are currently 7 episodes in total over 3 seasons. Each episode is a stand alone story clocking in around 50 minutes. The black mirror refers to any blank monitor we encounter on a daily basis and the deep dark ramifications our relationship with it can conjure up. Each episode plays with different aspects of what the future may hold if we took current technologies to their ultimate endgames. The power of Social media is explored to great and disturbing effect in the series opener The National Anthem. At this point I’d like to point out that some episodes are stronger than others, but at least every one offers a ‘what if’ scenario that both engages and gives you chills in equal measures. A good example would be the episode, The Entire History of You at the end of season 1 which deals with the premise of: what if we all had little devices implanted in our skulls that recorded everything we experienced and could replay them at anytime we liked? How would that effect our relationships with others? Black Mirror has a way of pulling back the curtain of innovation and revealing the potential dark consequences. Season 2 continues along the same lines and devilishly explores the themes of reality, voyeurism and identity to great effect.

Black_Mirror_Jon_Hamm Season 3 starts with Jon Hamm guest starring in the episode White Christmas (which just aired this past December, so I guess that means we have 2 more episodes of season 3 to look forward to.) Two men are stranded in a snowy cabin on Christmas day and slowly reveal to one another how they got there. As the name suggests Black Mirror is dark reflective stuff that feels like no other show on at the moment. If you are currently looking for your next binge; that black mirror you’re currently gazing at is just waiting for the trickle down. It could be your new favourite show.