September 1, 2017 (Friday)

by Yule Heibel on August 31, 2018

Yesterday afternoon I drove to the grocery store, listened to NPR on the way back, heard two reports which drove me crazy. That is, aspects of these reports drove me nuts.

First, a report on Facebook’s attempt to muscle in on the TV market with its new Watch platform. The report began by talking a bit about Humans of New York’s move to video, then veered into a discussion of some other “shows.” One was about a woman (in LA?) who rents out a bedroom in her apartment à la Airbnb; NPR played a segment that purported to be the kind of “typical” discussion she has with some guests of hers, in this case …I don’t recall exactly, screenwriters?, producers? And the conversation they’re having is about some superhero show the producer or screenwriter is working on. And at this point one of the characters says it would be so “cool” if they got a transgendered person as a screenwriter to script the superhero’s role.

“Why?” I asked the radio, which was followed by another character asking the same thing. He (it was a guy) was clearly being set up as The Idiot or The Fall Guy, for the ladies (the other characters being gals) then proceed to enlighten him, to make sure he gets woke, man. Because, they gush, superheroes have secret identities! And transgendered people have been oppressed by bearing their “secret” identities, hiding them from a cruel and unaccepting, bigoted society! Duh! Therefore – brilliant logic – it would “add” so much to a superhero’s “character” to be written by a person copacetic to the burdens of secret identities. Ooooh, gosh, everyone gushes.

Except me. For utterly elided in this moronic conversation was the aspect of privacy. In whose interest is it, anyway, that we become “liberated” from secrets? Oh, let me guess… it wouldn’t be in the corporation’s – Facebook, in this case – by any chance? But of course. Everywhere everyplace the culture encourages confession, nay: bragging – bragging in the oppression Olympics, in the revelatory conceits of transgressions or perversions (something cultivated by the tabloid press for decades when it comes to celebrities). Now all the little people, the nobodies, are encouraged to do the same – and it’s all YOLO and FOMO, encouraging everyone to spill the beans about every fucking boring detail of their boring fucking neuroses. I’ve got news: just because you’re neurotic (with a compulsion to spill secrets, betray your own privacy, and overshare), you’re not a genius or a superhero. But go ahead, spill your guts: it’s all grist for the corporate data mining mill. Privacy is gone. What a fucking world.

Next up, a report on Hunter S. Thompson’s “War Room,” replete with commentary from his widow who sounded like a robot brainwashed into full-blown TDS by the DNC. A propagandist, even. I seriously wondered if Thompson would have agreed with her – or if he wouldn’t have by now (2017) gone into rebellion mode against the dominant narrative. Somehow I think the latter. But not his widow. Toeing the approved line all the way. I wondered if that was a being a good keeper of his legacy. I can’t see him toeing the DNC line or being blind to the massive hysteria gripping the country. I think he would have made fun of it.

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