Black Mirror – The National Anthem

Last night I watched Black Mirror TV series, and it was very good and great. There are about 6 episodes spanning 2 seasons. The show was kind of biased to negativity, I mean anti-technological. The series shows the negative sides of Technology usage. I thought maybe I could write something optimistic which would clear my mind and put me at ease..

Below is the short synopsis of the episode

A member of the royal family, Princess Susannah  is kidnapped and held hostage. Her freedom is guaranteed on one condition: The prime minister must have sex with a pig, live on national television.

If you watch the show carefully, you could see how social media mostly and traditional media (a very little) played a major role, in the ongoing events of the episode. When princess Susannah kidnapped video was uploaded on YouTube, it was shared and downloaded by thousands of members within minutes, and by the time Prime Minister ordered to shut down the video, it was too late. This illustrates the point how information can be shared all over the world, without having to resort to traditional means. There are lots of examples where information sharing at such speeds helped us like Bridge to Peace Unity Chain, Batskid, Tweetsgiving, Facebook checks-in for Nepal, Organizing disaster relief for Haiti, etc.. ( ). Obviously, for everything there is upside and downside, and there are going to be victims on each side. So is the case with Digital Media. With help of Digital media, we are aware of what’s happening in the world, share some nice things, keep in touch with families and friends, which wasn’t possible a decade ago. We can also make a point, the digital media, gives power to individual members or people. In the show we see, An artist was capable of making PM do something by uploading a video of Princess Susannah kidnapping to YouTube just to make a point. This is something atleast. Everyone who is connected online, can empower themselves to certain extent.We can also say that we are addicted to digital media so much.

So the question remains, how to deal with the down-side ?? Frankly there is no option but atleast we can limit it. In the show Prime Minister tries to limit the flow of information, but each time he was met with bad consequences. My personal opinion why should we limit, let the things take care of themselves, just like natural selection. So after every instantaneous outbursts of digital media, there comes the time of order and peace. It is kind of Sine and Cosine waves.

Stray Observations…

“What now? What’s the playbook?” he asked in panic. His adviser replied: “This is virgin territory, Prime Minister. There is no playbook.”

This internet thing was a new field, and it is almost mature. So it is imperative we understand and know how to deal with trolls, cyber-bulleys, online harassment, online mobs.

‘The public, the Palace and the Party insist on compliance.Refuse, and I’ve been advised that we cannot guarantee your physical safety. Or that of your family.’ 

There is this thing happened in the show, where the decision of the crowds by online polls, is followed rather than the personal decision/ opinion of the PM. Ultimately he too acts selfishly in the end, so he can keep his PM post this term and next term, more than that, it seems like he doesn’t have a choice. The point is that people can make a PM to act on something using digital media like Facebook, Twitter and online polls. This kind of seems like democracy in the hands of people. Again to what extent the ‘Wisdom of crowds is true ?’

People watch the scene of intercourse of PM with pig, even though it is disgusting, nasty and humiliating, and we actually see people are disgusted to watch but they watch. I guess we kind of attracted to Negative things.

I guess time limit is of essence in the show to create anxiety, surprise for audience, but there is also other thing given enough time, I guess Police would have traced out the location of Princess Susannah. It’s not that hard in the digital world.

Mood shifting of people before and after the cutting of finger nail of Princess Susannah based on online polls is quite surprising. People have not taken seriously the first time, their sympathies are with PM, but after the incident their sympathies shift indicating we act quite surprisingly when violence was used on victim.(when people’s emotions are evoked)

There is one contradictory event, the Government ordered to delete and eliminate all the recordings of intercourse with pig, contradicts the point that we cannot stop the flow of information in the Digital World. Come on ! It’s digital world the copy of the video would have been stored somewhere else waiting for the right time to come out.

‘While cultural commentators debate its significance,with a global audience of 1.3 billion,it was an event in which we all participated.’

This big thing Internet provides an opportunity for global population wherein everyone can participate. Seems like we are more connected, than we imagine.

Finally people will forget about the events, except the victims I guess. In the end we see people were not that concerned with the events happened last year.

So I will continue, next time with second episode ‘Fifteen Million Merits’

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