Day 24 – Black Mirror : A Look at our Dystopian Future Selves

I may be a little late coming to this, but the British show Black Mirror, currently streaming on Netflix, is one of the best pieces of dramatic social commentary I’ve seen in some time.

In this anthology series, each episode tells a different story from the perspective of a not-so-distant future “us” that has somehow allowed certain technologies to progress to their logical, albeit dystopian and destructive conclusions. Continue reading “Day 24 – Black Mirror : A Look at our Dystopian Future Selves”

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Day 22 – Have we reached peak cynicism?

(This post is part of the 30 for 30 Challenge).

We all know what happens when excess is mistaken for progress: housing bubbles, tech bubbles, financial bubbles – name your bubble. I’m beginning to feel we are approaching the zenith of a cynicism bubble. Peak oil?  It’s time to start talking about peak cynicism and its repercussions.

Here’s why I am just as guilty of it. Continue reading “Day 22 – Have we reached peak cynicism?”

Day 12 – Overly connected?

(This post is part of the 30 for 30 Challenge).

There is something off in our society when incidents of walking injuries are now more common than distracted driving.  This stems, I think from the modern expectation of social availability, and the culture of shared experience that we find ourselves.

The professional and personal expectation nowadays is that one is always and instantaneously available – or at least that they should be. Emails, texts, (calls?), come at us at all hours of the night and day, including holidays, and the implication is being, “I know you have a smartphone, so I know you see this.” Private/professional boundaries are at an all time low. Yes, one can choose not to respond. We can choose this, but the insecurity of feeling the need to respond for fear of. (I’m not sure what exactly)..is always present.

One of the moments one can escape this (well, at least for the most part), is while on an airplane. You don’t really realize just how much noise and distraction is associated with our current connectedness until the plane lands, and before it even reaches the gate, the plane is a cacouphony of “bings!” “dings!” “whistles!” “swooshes!”, and whatever other irritable noises people choose to subject their fellow passengers to.  Continue reading “Day 12 – Overly connected?”

Pop Culture Critique – Alex Ross reviews Adorno and Benjamin

“Technology conspires with populism to create an ideology vacant dictatorship of likes.”

If you read my blog regularly, you know I am an avid reader of The New Yorker.  There are many varying stories in any given issue of the magazine, and I usually read them all.  But, I am want to ever read something that compels me enough to write about it. Today, one of those articles did just that.

The article was a review written by my one of my favorite music and culture writers – Alex Ross.  The article is titled “The Naysayers: Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and the critique of pop culture.”  I have linked to the article here, but chances are, readers won’t be able to access it unless one has an online New Yorker account.  That being said, I recommend getting one. 🙂

What intrigued from the beginning about this article was that it expounds upon a topic for which I devoted much of master’s thesis to – the influence and role of popular culture in our modern society, and how it has come to affect the consumption of culture and art from within a consumerist mindset, as opposed to experiencing it as a representation of our humanity through personal expression.

Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin
Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin

In the article, Ross discusses the lives and works of Benjamin and Adorno, as described in a new biography.  I expect that Ross is reviewing these men in conjunction with a new book on Wagner he is currently writing, but that is only a hunch.  Throughout, Ross compares and contrasts the similar, although at times contrasting views of the two gentleman, and concludes the article with his own poignant take on the state of affairs. Continue reading “Pop Culture Critique – Alex Ross reviews Adorno and Benjamin”