2/4/2019, New York (Note the proper way to write the date!)
Dear Friends Across The Pond,
An unknown global terror threatens to wipe humanity out through mass suicide and the only way to protect yourself is not to look at it. In fact, you can’t use your eyes at all if you want to survive. I’m not being alarmist. The alarm has already sounded. I’m merely summarizing the plot of the latest Netflix thriller starring Sandra Bullock.
If you haven’t seen it yet, its billboards are probably plastered all over your cities, just like ours. Comedians and talk-show hosts are putting bandanas around their heads, unaware of the real cultural messages they are re-transmitting.
The plot summary can be found here, but the quick summary is that there are some sort of deadly psychological demons running loose in the world and if you look at them, you become instantly suicidal and kill yourself, often in memorably gruesome ways which help generate buzz and TV ratings and articles like this one.
This demon apparently first appeared in Siberia, moved through Europe, and is now in America. The lead character, Malorie, played by Bullock, dons a blindfold for her and her children in an attempt to escape to freedom. Oh … birds are unaffected by the demon and Malorie follows the sound of chirping birds toward safety. She also carries some birds in a box, hence the title.
Those are the facts of the plot, but the underlying message here is easily deciphered. I mean … it started in Russia and moved to America and the writers want you to follow the tweeting of birds.
Is it me? Can no one else disrobe this thinly veiled warning about the hateful platform of social media and our (US) Tweeter-in-Chief? People, wake up and smell the hairspray!
Here’s the narrative: A demagogic, authoritarian, racist, sexist, you-name-it-a-phobe candidate for President of the United States colludes with Russia, becomes President, all the while using the social media called ‘Twitter’ (logo: a blue bird) to broadcast his message of hate, derision and division.
Reading these ‘tweets’, liberal, middle-age women and men from New York to California suffer bouts of depression and want to kill themselves. Their only safety is to turn off Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, the evening news, and all the visible media outlets.
Thank you Netflix for putting a marketable name to Trump’s tweeting syndrome. But why disguise and obfuscate it? Why not write a story where people literally die when they read Trump’s tweets?
Perhaps in the sequel we will learn that the demon was born of a secret Putin-Trump pact to rid the earth of liberals and it all went terribly wrong. But please don’t make us wait 16 years like Kubrick did with Space Odyssey.
As a computer enthusiast, it created great cognitive dissonance for me during those years, believing HAL was a malicious sentient being when all the time it was just contradictory instructions in his programming.
Final note. For those of you ready to point out that the birds in Bird Box represent safety and I’ve somehow conflated them with the Twitter logo, save your hate-mail. This is accepted movie convention ever since Kyle MacLachlan uttered the words “The Worm is the Spice! The Spice is the Worm!” in David Lynch’s adaptation of Dune. Don’t you see? The Tweet is the Demon and the Demon is the Tweet!
Letter from America, part one: Cheese, TV and modern media in the UK
Letter from America, part two: Brit cheese beef and Philly cheesesteak
Photograph: White House by Jacob Morch from Pexels
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Hmm, very interesting take. I have to dwell on this one for a bit.
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Ben, maybe the next movie you review should be “Cell,” where people answer their phones and go into an apocalyptic rampage. It’ll be just like liberals spontaneously combusting when they read Trump’s tweaks.
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I’ll check it out Bob!