Never Forget, Never Forgive

There’s plenty of stuff to criticise in our current culture; and the latest series of ‘Black Mirror’, broadcast on Netflix, doesn’t shrink from the task.  Previous series have generally taken place in worlds similar to our own but different; worlds where certain tendencies, in the manner of ‘1984’, have taken on their own momentum.  But in this series the worlds are closer to our own: and in episode three, ‘Shut up and Dance’, the nastiness you often find on social media is writ large.

**************************SPOILER ALERT********************************

The main character finds that his sister has accidentally downloaded some malware onto his laptop.  He tries to get rid of it but only succeeds in allowing it to film him as he masturbates.  He then gets a text threatening to broadcast the video all over social media; as a punishment the modern version of witch-burning.  With the tendency of society to judge and to mock, you will never get over it.

This episode is peopled by frantic men and women who want to help each other but can’t because they are terrified of their own secret being revealed.  They are all victims, slaves to messages coming from an unknown source on their phone.  The pleasant, inoffensive young man from the first scene is told first to deliver a cake to a man then joins forces with him to rob a bank.  In the final scene the young man and another guy fight ‘to the death’ to win the money, filmed by a drone they have been instructed to set loose.

It’s all horribly plausible, and of course the only answer to the blackmailers is to say ‘publish and be damned’.  But the stakes are too high for these guys in a world where images can be shared globally in seconds and may never disappear.  It’s our world writ large and in it there is neither compassion nor understanding, much less forgiveness.

Black Mirror may not show us where we are now -but it sure as hell shows us where we’re heading – if we don’t watch out.

Here’s another review.  Can’t link to the series as you have to be on Netflix:

Kirk out