We seek out entertainment that quiets the present moment rather than interrogating it
[…] To watch a lot of shows about teenagers on Netflix these days is to experience a world about as aesthetically and topically removed from modern teenagedom as possible. There’s no YouTube, no influencers, no political advocacy or climate-change awareness. Technology is sparse. […These shows] appear to exist in an odd retro hinterland with analog technology and modern mores, where teenagers talk fluently about body positivity and vaping and pansexuality but don’t seem to have heard of the internet. Every home is a ’70s torment in varying shades of brown. The moment is—probably—now, but it’s a version of now that’s sanitized, stripped of contemporary anxiety, […] a cultural landscape where kids still freewheel through small towns, main streets still have diners, and people still interact face-to-face, unmediated by screens.
At this point, Netflix’s commissioning of shows that eschew modernity—and are set in unspecified eras defined by throwback stylistic elements—is a feature, not a bug. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, like […] Riverdale and Katy Keene, combines the 1960s visual qualities of Archie comics (e.d an American comic book publisher) with the gender politics of Teen Vogue. […] The worlds that Sex Education and I Am Not Okay occupy are selectively topical enough to feel relevant (sex positivity, sexuality, and inclusivity all feature), but retro enough to be escapist, sidestepping the burden of considering real life.
[…] We’re living in a moment of abundant options. And yet we’re compelled, apparently, to seek out entertainment that quiets the present moment rather than interrogating it. […] That’s not to say that nostalgia is specifically new. But rarely has a whole entertainment platform targeting prime demographics seemed to define itself as a place where the realities of the present can be so efficiently soothed. The fealty of TV creators to the ’80s in particular is noteworthy. Cultural products during that decade were defined by futurism; they looked forward exuberantly to a 21st century with flying cars, space wars, paranormal revelations, and groundbreaking scientific discoveries. Now the reality of late capitalism makes it harder and harder to imagine a future for humanity at all, let alone one with the potential for progress. When television panders to nostalgia, it isn’t just evoking bygone cultural products. It’s evoking a time when hope came more easily. […]
Source : The Teen Dramas That Reject Modernity, March 4, 2020, TheAtlantic
[...] the act of reading is a secret, and sometimes fertile, ceremony of communion. Anyone who reads something that is really worth the trouble does not read with impunity. Reading one of those books that breathe when you put them to your ear does not leave you untouched: it changes you, even if only a little bit, it integrates something into you, something that you did not know or had not imagined, and it invites you to seek, to ask questions. And more still: sometimes it can even help you to discover the true meaning of words betrayed by the dictionary of our times. What more could a critical consciousness want?
Source : Past, Present, and Future: Interview with Eduardo Galeano, December 25, 2008, mronline
The only morality of the algorithm is to optimise you as a consumer and in many cases you become the product. There are very few examples in human history of industries where people themselves become products and those are scary industries – slavery and the sex trade. And now we have social media.
The visionary producer Monroe Stahr is schooling a British novelist in the art of screenwriting: “Suppose you’re in your office ...