This blog started when a BBS collapsed under trolling – trolling so horribly lame that I realised my community thought ‘post pictures of your desktop’ was astounding wit. Widening the audience to village idiots was doing no favours to anyone except the idiots so I closed it down. We’d always termed the BBS an experiment and the first post on this blog presented the findings: there was blame on all sides. There was a power imbalance implicit in the BBS which could not be smoothed over.
Here we are in 2012 and the newspapers are howling about flames on Twitter. Celebrities are horrified that their narcissistic streams of minutiae are being interrupted by foul and violent voices. Should have read my findings, creeps. If I failed to make my online home a home for everyone, Twitter disposes of even that gesture. Twitter accelerates the power imbalance between the haves (recognised, respected) and have nots (ignored, spoken at) in the worst possible manner because it cuts out online equivalents of body language. The word limit discourages seemingly unimportant verbiage that carries the subtext. Everyone who is upset about Twitter needs to see it as reaping exactly what it set out to sow: CB Radio without the tone of voice. And CB Radio was really really bad.
When you make no attempt at conversation – when you have ‘followers’, when there is no junk language (which like junk genetic code is anything but) – the violence of the repressed reply might be upsetting. Twitter is a manifestation of celebrity – and celebrity is a cancer fed by endless appeals to be known and liked as means to sell products. While I feel sorry for the poor fish being hauled out of the ocean, I also feel sorry for the poor human cattle being syphoned of their empathy.
(At this point some journalist will throw up ‘Arab Spring’ as the great power of Twit. This is sad because it means you think Twitter was more important than the complex conversations individuals were having face to face. Hey look at that thing drooping off your head – it’s called a body.)
Thousands of screaming faces
So I dusted off the Playstation3 and turned it on to ensure it will be ready for Our Special Announcement on October 31st. Poor thing only gets used when there’s a video to be replayed, and must feel entirely unloved for months on end. It updated the system and all kinds of new things appeared on the control panel. There’s a whole bunch of video channels and TV stations, one of which plays Cindy Lauper videos back to back, so quality stuff.
Anyway, there is now MUBI. MUBI is on the internet so you can have a look for yourself, it’s a kind of Netflix for film ‘buffs’. You can pay to stream films that you would otherwise not see and then tell your friends how cultured you are ’cause you’ve seen some obscure movie they might not have heard of. Maybe I’m being a little hard.
So on the website if you click on Discover you get a list of films they have in the database (sadly most not available to view). On the web it’s OK… on the PS3 they are shown as an infinite set of tiles like this:
This is a bad idea. When you have brain problems, a BAD IDEA. Because I am looking at a big screen and I see a person in front of a backdrop and another person in front of another backdrop and ANOTHER person in front of ANOTHER backdrop and ANOTHER PERSON IN FRONT OF ANOTHER BACKDROP AND THERE ARE TWELVE THOUSAND MORE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF MORE BACKDROPS AND MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP
… every one of these films is just some person against their damn backdrop and superimposed they’re a jiggling coloured ants nest and it’s intensely irritating… and I think how much I have come to hate film narratives because of the existence of this endless army of face and field. The MUBI pictures distil that irritation and amplify it 12,000x …
ending with the usual searing migraine. I still can’t look at that interface without pain.
Since then my Huxley-like ‘realisation’ has dissipated – I don’t actually hate narratives (hating Werner Herzog is impossible) – but this endless film after film after film with protagonist, antagonist, three acts, turning points on page 60 etc. etc. – when you see it tiled as 12,000 faces and backdrops it causes nausea. While the hero’s journey is satisfying to the human spirit – surely we can aspire to move on to something else.