Oct. 27th, 2016

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Halfway through the new Black Mirrors. Booker's getting a little repetitive with endings where someone who the audience is supposed to feel deserves punishment gets too much punishment. That was a frequent Twilight Zone move, wasn't it? (Never had much luck paying attention to that show, for reasons summed up perfectly in Futurama's several Scary Door bits.) I assume it's a way to get across Job-type stories except with endings supplied by Job's wife without audiences bailing? You're supposed to say, "Ah, good. Just deserts!" and then later in the produce aisle suddenly feel vaguely uneasy. Dire warnings seemingly aimed at somebody else, till the pill casing breaks down in your stomach.

In 3.2 the only punishment merited is whatever's approprate for annoying American tourists in the eyes of the British. Which seemed like a jab at Netflix requiring a certain number of episodes with American leads. Not that I have any evidence that there was such a requirement - I just like to make up these little explanatory stories. Which would get me hip-deep in trouble in Bookerland.

3.1 was way too close to the platonic ideal, or maybe just the preconceived notion, of a Black Mirror episode. 3.2 had more subtext, though it really all boiled down to the fact that "enhanced reality," by roping in reality, immediately introduced the likelihood that software developers would be manipulating variables they have no understanding of. Makes sense - I was actually kind of surprised when the Pokemon Go craze didn't cause a bunch of deaths somehow (maybe just because I'd watched several episodes of Black Mirror). 3.3 was better but seemed a little too close to the much scarier season 2 episode with the woman with amnesia. Being derivative has always been the series' problem, though. Even my pick for the single best episode, the memory-as-video one, was basically plagiarized from that Robin Williams movie thst basicslly plagiarized Crowley's "Snow." 3.1 borrows heavily from a Community episode, 3.2 from eXistenZ. Borrowed main ideas seem kind of consequential when the Twilight Zone-ish format is so predictable - if you're not providing the what or the how, what are you providing? "Technology," I guess. With 3.3 it briefly felt like the first screen we saw, at three or four minutes in, was bound to immediately explode, and then the episode would immediately end after the word "Technology" flashed on the screen.
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Had somehow managed to not actually listen to Trump's Access Hollywood remarks till now, as part of my intentional avoidance of any video or audio of him, a resolve broken only by the debates. The remarks are presented more jocularly than I'd guessed from reading about them - which I can imagine would lead a number of men I've known to take them less seriously, as things just said rather than meant, but most women probably more seriously, for showing just how normal he found these notions. Which were then proved to have been actions. Hillary should probably release ads just playing that audio over images of Trump with women on the last couple days before the election, in certain areas. Not that her ad people need any advice - they're pretty masterful.

(I'd heard of the show but had no idea a Billy Bush existed. Which means I'm now less fortunate, but also bemused. Wtf? How many Bushes are there and how have they percolated into show business?)

I'd never gone near The Apprentice even after grudgingly caving about watching reality tv for the reason that Trump has always made me want to vomit. Even before knowing fact #1 about him he's pretty much the most unpleasant person I can think of. Was actually famous for being that, had always been my assumption. There's plenty of rich people, but only one who immediately and obviously stands for, pretty much caricatures, everything wrong with them as a class. There's no veneer hiding how he's nothing but veneer, as it were. Veneer and the urge to grab. To a looped soundtrack of Billy Bush giggling.

He's going to lose memorably and as a matter of principle I should stop dehumanizing them. But they started it.
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Next two Black Mirrors excellent, in highly different ways.

. . . )


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