‘Black Mirror’ Will Inspire You to Finally Do a Phone Cleanse
Social media has come a long way since MySpace, but how much is too much?
We all know taking a break from constantly checking our phones for texts, likes or retweets can be therapeutic and creatively inspiring but what about the darker side of technology addiction?
What if instead of helping victims in the midst of a random act of violence, we all stood around filming with hopes of going viral?
Or what if we became fixated on a sensationalist celebrity with no political experience who decides to run for office, and wins?
These are the “what ifs” that British TV show “Black Mirror” explores. The show is scary relevant, using all of our technological mores to come back and haunt us.
While these storylines are extreme, they aren’t out of the question. Take, for instance, “The Waldo Movement” in season two, which features a little blue cartoon bear named Waldo. With his vulgar language, he’s like something out of the Trump campaign. Waldo is entered into an election as a PR stunt for the network who created him. This, however, is a non-factor for the disenfranchised general public who elect him anyway.
Or take “Hated in the Nation,” the last episode of season three, which brings bullying and suicide to a new level of aggregated hate assault. When an online game crowd-sources and assigns “public hate figures” using the hash tag #deathto becomes all too real, a group of detectives track the hashtag origins to a vengeful hacker. This episode covers a massive amount of territory including cyber-bullying, endangered bees, bad Samaritan ethics, online shaming, trolling, hacking, privacy issues, and the very real possibility of our vulnerabilities being ripped open by our reliance on technology.
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“Shut up and Dance” is a social experiment crueler than if someone read your entire Google search history out loud. While it may be embarrassing that you searched “what’s the cat’s name in Meet the Fockers” five times or for “Tom Hardy nudes” twice, the featured characters in this episode are leagues deeper in shit than you can even begin to imagine.
And last, “The Entire History of You” is the worst possible scenario of falling down the rabbit hole on social media stalking. With so many creative ways to do recon on your ex, we can all say we’ve been there. You have a bad feeling about the person you’re in a relationship with that you just can’t shake. Maybe you stalk her Instagram followers or the pics she’s liked. Maybe your dude seems suspect and you discover ongoing 3 a.m. relationships with prostitutes on your shared phone bill. Or maybe you’re just a habitual snooper, looking for the slightest tip-off that can landslide into a relationship-ending disaster.
Depending on how you see it, having so much traceable information can either save you from a cornucopia of venereal diseases or send you into a vortex of self-doubt. “The Entire History of You” is creepy-scary because it feels like something Google could unveil at CES 2017.
If Black Mirror doesn’t inspire you to go on a Shamanic ceremonial sweat lodge retreat sans iPhone, I don’t know what will.
But on a less freaky note, if you’re one of those a-holes that misses the walk signal because you’re too busy reading the latest from Susan Miller, put your phone down, take a breath, and cross the street.
Season Four airs on Netflix sometime in 2017 and in the meantime, take a technology siesta.