I heard Black Mirror was totally the coolest, and it’s not, but it’s pretty great. I’d give it 4/5 stars. Minus two for being, in the words of my friend Beka, “gratuitous”, which it kind of is. I mean, it turns the dystopia switch up to 11 sometimes. (S01E02, “15 Million Merits” in particular) But plus one for bringing up some pretty neat issues that I’ve not seen in a ton of shows.
ISSUE 1. Virtual violence
I wonder if our parents would ever have realistically imagined information to be a weapon. I mean, of course you could leak trade secrets or military secrets, but that’s all movies. Nowadays, thanks to doxxing, identity theft, etc, it’s a reality for everyone. Related: WikiLeaks screwing everyone who had the misfortune to be working at Sony. (Julian! It’s harder to convince my parents that Snowden’s a good guy when you’re complicating the “leaking” story by doing stuff like this!)
S01E01 of Black Mirror took a unique take: terrorists leak a video to youtube that shows that they captured a princess, and they demand, for her release, that the prime minister have sex with a pig. (I told you the show was gratuitous.) If the video weren’t massively public, there’d be less public pressure and the whole thing would kind of blow over. They cause a huge fiasco mostly by sending certain information to a certain place. Hmm.
ISSUE 2. Infinite punishment
If you believe that we might be able to upload our consciousness, that sounds great. Until a madman gets his hands on the technology, and decides to punish his enemies by virtually copying them each a million times and forcing them all to suffer for a million years. Or, the government decides that regular ol' punishment isn’t bad enough, and that the bad guys should suffer more than that. The final episode (christmas special, really) takes on this theme, producing the best episode about consciousness-uploading that I’ve seen on TV in a long time. S02E02, “White Bear,” looked at a similar issue.
Related: ADX prison in Colorado. Geez. I know some of you think “eh, screw em”, especially when we’re looking at our worst criminals: Ted Kaczynski, Eric Rudolph, Zacarias Moussaoui. But… I don’t know, even with them, prison ought to be about rehabilitation, or at worst keeping the rest of us safe. Keep your bloodlust and revenge out of it.
Eh, I don’t know why torture and inhumane prisons and whatever happens to our worst matters to me. There’s tons of tragedies, shouldn’t I focus on something worse? Yeah, I guess. But … I dunno, Dostoevsky or someone: “You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners.” (or Jesus: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.") I mean, I feel like we should try to raise the floor of our society. Make the answer to “what’s the worst that could happen to me?” not that bad. I don’t see myself getting sent to ADX, but man, all prison here sounds awful, and it’s easy to imagine being in a protest or something and, due to justice mistakes, getting sent to prison, and then the rest of my life goes off the rails. Whereas, if I got sent to prison in Denmark, ehh, I’d be able to bounce back.
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