Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Life Imitating Art

For anyone wanting to feel completely terrified by the unintended consequences of technology and its increasing dictatorship over our daily lives, may I humbly recommend the UK's Channel 4 series Black Mirror. What I find most startling about the show (which runs episodically with unconnected plots in a kind of twilight-zone-meets-tech-dystopia) is the fact that due to recent headlines, I'm convinced the show is prophetic in more ways than one.

First, British PM David Cameron makes headlines for doing sex things with a dead pig while a student at Oxford. This, according to an explosive tell-all book by the world's most Britishly named person, Lord Ashcroft. Sounds a lot like Episode 1, The National Anthem, which was actually filmed 4 years ago. If you haven't seen it, I don't want to give away too much, but let's just say it involves a really really fucked up "would you rather" type of situation.

The final episode of Series 2, The Waldo Moment, is about a popular cartoon character most known for hurling sophomoric insults and making off-color jokes whose creators ends up having him run for president. The episode is from 2012, but it's impossible to watch it without feeling an uneasy deja vu about a certain bloviating political caricature currently holding the coveted #1 spot in the polls for Republican nominee. In the end Waldo won't win, and his creators know it. That's not the point. His purpose is to upset the course of world events by trolling other candidates and swaying public opinion. It shouldn't work, but it does thanks to a mouth-breathing, anti-intellectual populace more concerned with entertainment than political ethos. The Donald Trump similarities are so striking as to be absurd.

Anyhoo, of everything I've seen on TV in the past 6 months (and believe me, there's been a lot) this is one of the only things that qualifies as must-watch. And apparently the series creator is writing new episodes as we speak that will hit the US sometime in 2016, so if you haven't gotten on the bandwagon yet, you better catch up on Netflix.