Sunday, October 27, 2019

Facebook Circa 2005

This was the first story CBS News ran about - a website that had spread to college students across 575 schools and required a campus email address to create an account.

Notice how completely unaware this report is with what Facebook has become or the corrosive, disruptive power it has wreaked across the country and around the world?

If only we knew then what we are discovering now.

Perhaps technology is not neutral. Perhaps it fosters an increasingly destabilizing effect on existing social and political institutions - usually in ways which favor the powerful interests who control and capitalize upon these digital tools.

Friday, October 4, 2019

A "Joker" for Our Times

"Joker" is a dark, disturbing, powerful, and timely film. It is less a conventional comic book movie than a searing modernization of Taxi Driver, A Clockwork Orange, or similarly brooding cinema. It is expertly directed, performed, shot and presented. Memorable and unrelenting, it pushes the boundaries of representations of violence as entertainment and is not likely to be enjoyed so much as endured.

The film's American release has been incredibly polarizing and is rightly controversial. However, that controversy should be reflected right back upon a country festering from a breakdown of trust in political institutions, growing economic inequality, eroding public services, insufficient mental health and social assistance programs... and yet awash in guns, television, psychotropic drugs, anger, fear and resentment.

The film has something to say about all of this and more. It is a brave, bold, ambitious and perhaps dangerous work of art. By the film's searing finale, we are all but forced to consider why such a film hits so close to home as a macabre distillation of our own zeitgeist. And perhaps we realize: the joke is on us.