This year, more to prove to myself that I can do it rather than saying anything of great importance, I’m taking the opportunity to write about our experiences in pop culture. The hope is to get a little better and pull more ideas out of my head – all the while hopefully helping those around us discuss or discover great corners of pop culture along the way.
IN A MIRROR, DARKLY
To wrap 2016 on a very appropriate note, Danica and I took the opportunity to finally watch some episodes of Black Mirror, which so many people had told us to watch. It was often described to me as The Twilight Zone by way of modern technology which… I’ll admit was a reference that was pretty much lost on me. I have yet to see an episode of The Twilight Zone beyond the opening credits which is something I might remedy this year (any suggestions as to episodes to watch or forms of access?).
Anyway, specific pop culture touch points aside, Black Mirror is a show that has a whole lot to say with our reliance on public opinion and social media. It’s also a show that I think will continue to become more and more relevant (if not outright prescient) as the years go by. The show uses the anthology format well to explore different end-points to our fascination with the opinions of a large cloud, so to speak, some edging towards an hour’s worth of fast moving thrill, while others act like putting a frog in water that you’re slowly moving to a boil. Each ask you to confront your attachments to various ideas. It’s a well done show, and while we’ve only made our way through to the first episode of the third season (we’ve been told San Junipero is a particularly strong episode that’s on our horizon), I doubt we’ll be let down by anything to come.
If you’ve completed Black Mirror, or are the kind of person who doesn’t feel comfortable exploring the ideas of The Terrifying Future through the medium of television, I’d like to suggest the novel Normal by Warren Ellis.
Ellis has always been fascinated by The Future, so much so that the bulk of his production focuses squarely on the constant, distant humming of the world that is to come. Normal is no acceptation. The story follows a Futurist who has been deposited at a remote site where broken Futurists go to hopefully cure themselves after gazing into the abyss for too long. Ellis essentially posits the idea that we’re already doomed due to our actions, and the people who this affects the most are those who can already see or are paid to discover the curve of what’s to come. He combines this with a locked room mystery that… well that pays off almost exactly as it should.
Both of these suggestions won’t exactly make you feel good, but they sure will make you feel something. I know they’ve (briefly) caused me to stop mindlessly scrolling through my various feeds as often, with an eye towards producing more content, helpful or otherwise.
Here’s the the terrifying squall of what’s to come.
Happy New Year.