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Marxism in Black Mirror, Social Media Reigns

Selfishness is underscored through the whirlwind of a struggle to heighten one’s own status. Everything we put on display to the public and every choice we make has a fraction of greediness, as we are only looking to benefit our own satisfactions.

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Marxism in Black Mirror, Social Media Reigns

Selfishness is underscored through the whirlwind of a struggle to heighten one’s own status. Everything we put on display to the public and every choice we make has a fraction of greediness, as we are only looking to benefit our own satisfactions.

For example, projecting our accomplishments on social media for everyone to see and marvel at. As a society, we are obsessed with seeking out what will profit us personally, physically and mentally. In the third season of Black Mirror, Episode #1 “Nosedive” predictably brushes on the desperation to fulfill a polished image through social media but further entrenches a feeling of relief to reveal the essence of an authentic personality rather than a meticulously structured self-image.

Social media reigns in this world as you are rated out of five stars for every interaction you have with another human being. Simply put, your friendly interactions help you get five stars which will assist your own personal rating. On the other hand, any negative interaction will degrade your star status if someone chooses to give you one star. The episode focuses primarily on Lacie Pound, an individual who will do anything to get a higher status. She’s dedicated to devoting all efforts to reach her goal of what she assumes the perfect life is. This particular life is magnified as the guide to pure happiness, through a fantasized lifestyle illuminated with the use of social media. The advanced technology, a staple in all Black Mirror episodes, is a device put in your eyes so whenever you see another individual a virtual screen pops up with their name and status. Additionally, you are able to rate them out of five stars on your cell phone automatically.

While Lacie goes to get her latte one morning she snaps a photo for aesthetic purposes in order to receive ratings on her social media profile. Even though she reacted bitterly from the actual taste of the cappuccino, her mood is instantly brightened as her post gets rated. Our reliance on temporary satisfaction from approval of others is stressed as more important than actual internal satisfaction from, for example, having a satiating breakfast.

Moreover, the aesthetic of the episode is illustrated with a refined color palette of pastel colors which banally devoured the city. The muted shades dramatize a lack of substance as they align with the white picket fence atmosphere. Although the fact that our obsession with being attached to our phones is not a staggering realization, the episode continues to set the mood of the public all on their phones, before revealing the underlying intention of mocking the selfish need to fulfill a high status to promote power.

As Lacie gets into an elevator with a lady, Bethany, who has a 4.6 status, she is naturally inclined to emphasize an overly sweet attitude. Hence, a correlation of power between the intimidations of a high-status individual compared to that of a lower-status. Bethany is entitled with a having a classification of being above Lacie, simply because of her high status. Lacie seems to assume she is lesser of a being, signifying her lack of power to grasp control of the situation. Without having an actual conversation with Bethany, Lacie relies on quickly looking up Bethany’s social media profile in order to catch up with her life and find something to remark on.

A lack of verbal communication is accentuated to reveal how accessibility to keeping up with people’s lives has become easier because of social media. However, this ease of access is unnerving as an artificiality of the conversation is emphasized. Lacie is clearly impressed with Bethany’s promotion as she becomes self-conscious of her own job which is less than stellar. We participate in a silent competition with other people to raise above the set status of society. Nevertheless, Lacie continues to digest how many ratings she’s getting on her previous post, until Naomi Blestow who has a 4.8 status, likes her post. Tempted to peek at how Naomi reached a worthy 4.8 status, Lacie stalks her profile of staged perfectness from doing yoga to horseback riding.

She becomes distracted by a coworker who offers her a fresh green smoothie but unfortunately, has a 3.1 status. As she takes the smoothie, her interaction with a low-status individual catches the attention of the rest of the office as they all look at her disapprovingly. Ranking a person based on success in the work and social life is underpinned through both of these interactions. Furthermore, a lack of power for the 3.1 status individual is presented as he feels helpless and tries to gain power back by being overly nice.

The scene changes to Lacie looking for a new apartment as she is introduced to an expensive looking space by a real estate agent. Through technology, a virtual image of Lacie actually living in the apartment is used as a marketing strategy to appeal to a potential property owner. There is almost an obedience to the luxuries that technology can offer, as we become enamored by the convincing appeal of enhancing our current status. Lacie becomes infatuated by what her life could look like, and will boldly do anything to get the apartment. A 20% off discount is offered if Lacie can get her status from a 4.2 to a 4.5.

Therefore, when Lacie’s childhood friend Naomi who has a high status, asks Lacie to be her maid of honor for her wedding, Lacie knows this opportunity will help heighten her current status. The wedding is only expected to be flooded with notably high-status people who will surely give Lacie five stars and boost her average rating. She makes a plan to emit an elevating speech about their closeness from their childhood, hoping for it to play out just as she’s expected. She becomes obsessed with articulating a schedule to achieve her expectations, however, these hopes may not reach reality. As she practices her phony speech, Lacie’s brother mocks her obvious transparency at trying so hard, yielding an argument which ends with her brother rating her one star.

Stubbornly, as she still makes her way to the airport, Lacie has a discussion with Naomi on the phone about the schedule of the dress rehearsal and Lacie’s voice is a piercing pitch of fake excitement. This resonates to the cab driver who rolls his eyes at the obvious and annoying fakeness. As Lacie gets out of the cab with a plastered smile and gives the cab driver 5 stars, assuming he would give her 5 stars as well, he instead gives her one star which moves Lacie’s overall status a smidge down to 4.1. Though the cab driver is of a lower status, he took control of the situation by not submitting into a fake and happy persona, and instead, he reacted in an honest manner which emphasizes how status does not instigate power.

Only adding to the downturn of a day, Lacie reaches the airport only to be told her flight has been canceled. Because of her low status, which dwindled down from Lacie’s interactions with her brother and the cab driver, she is unable to book another flight and make it to the wedding rehearsal on time. Though her fake mask of niceness is coated on her facial expression, Lacie’s voice shows a frustration that begins to creep out. She yells at the airline employee to make an exception and book another flight, which only triggers the employee to call security.

The security officer then docks one point off her status, temporarily for 24 hours, and puts her on double damage, which acts as a multiplier to amplify points docked for any negative interactions Lacie has from that moment on. Pristine onlookers behind Lacie watching the interaction all give one star to Lacie for her outburst. As the night continues without her control, a lack of power is present as Lacie submits into a desperate state of helplessness.

Eventually, Naomi calls and tells Lacie not to come to the wedding since her status was now down to 2.6. But Lacie doesn’t listen, covered in mud and with a torn dress, she still barges into the wedding to give her speech she was so adamant on delivering. Her polished image is eradicated, as she sobs through her speech while Naomi orders security guards to kick her out. In this moment, Lacie has a powerful performance which glows with unadulterated honesty, a sharp contrast to her practiced and polished attitude.

Ironically, Lacie’s physical state reflects her real personality saturated in flaws. As Lacie is sent to jail, her ability to see people’s statuses through the advanced technology is extracted from her eyes, but she is able to recognize the beauty of having flaws and exterminating the urge to live a seamless life. Across her jail cell is a black man in another cell who is gazing upon her as Lacie becomes self-conscious and motions with her hands as if she’s giving him one star.

He remarks that he doesn’t like her brassiere and she comments that she doesn’t like his mustache. The inviting darkness between Lacie and the prisoner across from her juxtaposes from the filtered mannerism exaggerated through the amusing, but overly nice interactions in the beginning of the episode. Foul words are thrown carelessly between the two, energizing a fiery interaction which was lacking before.

Quite literally in “Nosedive”, those who radiate a true personality are physically caged up for not caring what people think of them. Furthermore, they live simpler lives but genuinely seem happy with the absence of materialism. On the other hand, individuals who thrive to seek happiness through constructing a flawless image, are really the ones who are trapped in their own egotistical minds. Power from the seductive appeal of technology is reduced as people choose to take control of their lives themselves without machinery.

In a Marxist theory, the materialistic aspect of how society organizes itself is represented as we have been accustomed to living our lives in accordance with technology. Moreover, values and beliefs depend on how much people are obsessed with their social image. Social media like Instagram and Facebook visually embody what we want people to think our life epitomizes. The economic jurisdiction of society focuses on social wellbeing, wealth and status. Actual independent and original thoughts are tossed aside as being too unique in a negative way. Diversity is viewed as a disease as people must be cleansed in order to conform to society’s standards. The power lays in the people, to reject these societal expectations and dominate their own lives the way they want to and not the way they think other people want them to.

Furthermore, the routine and expected lifestyle of getting a good job to make money and live a luxurious lifestyle just to flaunt your status to society are expressed in the episode. The show also accentuates a sardonic aspect of the unnecessary need to align respect with status in the modern world. Our culture is very accepting of others who hold a high status just because of wealth and an admirable image. Marxism is pronounced as a tiresome effort to try and keep up with the evolving world which is encompassed in perfecting self-image.

A struggle between submitting power to technology as an easy way to enforce more control over a social image is stressed. We become dazzled by those who live a luxurious life, easily believing that they couldn’t possibly have any problems. The sophisticated but constricting lifestyle leaves one feeling suffocated; however, even though Lacie and the other prisoner are caged up, their valid interaction relieves the uptightness represented in perfection.

Black Mirror

Aspiring writer/journalist from Dallas, Texas. Hopes to project unbiased news and discuss topics which don’t reach popular news outlets. Enjoys writing topics on international news, TV shows, and trending news. Hobbies include oil painting portraits, Arabic calligraphy, and blogging about traveling around the world.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Emmy Nominations 2019: See The Full List

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Emmy Nominations 2019: See The Full List

The 2019 Emmys have arrived. The 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air live on Fox this Sunday, September 22, at 8 pm Eastern / 5 pm Pacific, and honor some of the biggest television achievements of the past year.

As usual, the major awards will be split into separate categories for comedy and drama. On the drama side, the 2019 nominations are both dominated by Game of Thrones — which is expected to set a new record for most Emmy wins by a single season — and unusually wide open. Many shows that would otherwise be contenders — including The Crown, Stranger Things, and The Handmaid’s Tale — did not air during the eligibility window (June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019), either because they wanted to avoid competing against Game of Thrones or because they simply couldn’t produce a new season in time.

The thought held by many was that Game of Thrones would turn in an unbeatable swan song and the race would open up again in 2020. In hindsight, that final season was widely criticized and not nearly as unrivaled in its Emmy worthiness as many expected it to be. Nevertheless, Game of Thrones is still the frontrunner in multiple drama categories.

Game of Thrones is also the only show to be nominated in all seven drama categories. In addition to nods for Outstanding Drama Series, Directing for a Drama Series, and Writing for a Drama Series, stars Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke are nominated for Lead Actor in a Drama and Lead Actress in a Drama, respectively.

And the show has pretty much overwhelmed the final two drama categories, with Gwendoline Christie, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams all nominated for Supporting Actress in a Drama, and Alfie Allen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Peter Dinklage all nominated for Supporting Actor in a Drama. In total, between the Primetime Emmys and the Creative Arts Emmys, Game of Thrones’ final season earned 32 nominations, the most received in a single year by any show in the history of the awards.

Having already won 10 awards at the Creative Arts Emmys — which were held last weekend and mainly honor the technical elements of TV production like cinematography, editing, and visual effects — Game of Thrones needs just two more to tie its own record for most Emmys won by a single season of any show. It needs only three to break that record.

The few contenders looking to upset Game of Thrones include This Is Us, Better Call Saul (returning to the race after being nominated in 2017 and sitting out last year), Killing Eve, Pose, Succession, Ozark, and Bodyguard.

Perhaps the biggest player on the comedy side is the final season of HBO’s Veep. After star Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, Veep, the reigning comedy champ, sat out the Emmys in 2018. And in its absence, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel took home the major awards.

With Veep back in contention this year — and for its final season, no less — the series easily snagged a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Its fellow contenders in the category include last year’s winner, Mrs. Maisel; returning nominee Barry; and newcomers to the race Russian Doll, The Good Place, Fleabag, and Schitt’s Creek.

Louis-Dreyfus is also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy, an honor she has as already won six times for her role as Selina Meyer (on top of a Lead Actress in a Comedy win for The New Adventures of Old Christine and a Supporting Actress in a Comedy win for Seinfeld). She’ll go head to head with Russian Doll’s Natasha Lyonne, Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan (who won last year), and Schitt’s Creek’s Catherine O’Hara, among others.

Here’s the list of 2019 Emmy nominees in all the major categories:

Outstanding Comedy Series

Barry

Fleabag

The Good Place

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Russian Doll

Schitt’s Creek

Veep

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul

Bodyguard

Game of Thrones

Killing Eve

Ozark

Pose

Succession

This Is Us

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Mahershala Ali, True Detective

Benicio Del Toro, Escape at Dannemora

Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal

Jared Harris, Chernobyl

Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us

Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Amy Adams, Sharp Objects

Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora

Aunjanue Ellis, When They See us

Joey King, The Act

Niecy Nash, When They See Us

Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal

Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl

Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora

John Leguizamo, When They See Us

Michael K. Williams, When They See Us

Asante Blackk, When They See Us

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Emily Watson, Chernobyl

Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon

Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects

Patricia Arquette, The Act

Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us

Vera Farmiga, When They See Us

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Don Cheadle, Black Monday

Ted Danson, The Good Place

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

Bill Hader, Barry

Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead To Me

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll

Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Stephen Root, Barry

Henry Winkler, Barry

Anthony Carrigan, Barry

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method

Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Tony Hale, Veep

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Sarah Goldberg, Barry

Sian Clifford, Fleabag

Olivia Colman, Fleabag

Betty Gilpin, GLOW

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Kit Harington, Game of Thrones

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Billy Porter, Pose

Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones

Jodie Comer, Killing Eve

Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder

Laura Linney, Ozark

Mandy Moore, This Is Us

Sandra Oh, Killing Eve

Robin Wright, House of Cards

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul

Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul

Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Michael Kelly, House of Cards

Chris Sullivan, This Is Us

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones

Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones

Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones

Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve

Julia Garner, Ozark

Outstanding Reality Competition Series

Amazing Race

American Ninja Warrior

Nailed It

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Top Chef

The Voice

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show

Full Frontal

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

The Late Late Show With James Corden

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

At Home With Amy Sedaris

Documentary Now!

Drunk History

I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman

Saturday Night Live

Who Is America?

Outstanding Television Movie

Bandersnatch

Brexit

Deadwood

King Lear

My Dinner with Hervé

Outstanding Limited Series

Chernobyl

Escape at Dannemora

Fosse/Verdon

Sharp Objects

When They See Us

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ENTERTAINMENT

Blade Runner Star Rutger Hauer Has Died Aged 75

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Blade Runner Star Rutger Hauer Has Died Aged 75

Hollywood star Rutger Hauer has died aged 75.

The actor was best known for playing Roy Batty in the 1982 movie Blade Runner and also Sin City, Batman Begins and TV show True Blood.

His agent Steve Kenis confirmed Hauer died on Friday following a short illness. His funeral was held on Wednesday.

Rutger Hauer has died aged 75. Credit: PA

Tributes have begun pouring in for the star, with Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro tweeting to say: “RIP the great Rutger Hauer: an intense, deep, genuine and magnetic actor that brought truth, power and beauty to his films.”

KISS musician Gene Simmons wrote: “Sad to hear Rutger Hauer has passed away. He was always a gentleman, kind and compassionate. Sending our condolences and prayers to his family, friends and fans.”

Hauer was born in Breukelen in the Netherlands and did stints in both the merchant navy and army before he became an actor.

He got his big break in 1969, when he became the lead in TV series Floris.

Away from acting, Hauer launched The Rutger Hauer Starfish Foundation, which aimed to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, especially within children and pregnant women.

Issuing a statement following his death, the foundation said: “The Rutger Hauer Starfish Association announces with infinite sadness that after a very short illness, on Friday, July 19, 2019, Rutger passed away peacefully at his Dutch home.

“He leaves his beloved wife Ineke, after they have been together for fifty years.

“We at Starfish will always cherish the many unforgettable memories we have of Rutger and his dedication to the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association.

“One of Rutger’s last wishes was that Starfish should continue its charity activity and its fight against the AIDS disease, and with Ineke’s precious help, involvement and direction we will follow Rutger’s wish and will do our best to carry on Rutger’s inestimable legacy.”

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ENTERTAINMENT

Freeform defends Halle Bailey’s casting as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”!

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Freeform defends Halle Bailey's casting as Ariel in "The Little Mermaid"!

Just in case you haven’t heard, Halle Bailey is the new Ariel, in an upcoming “The Little Mermaid” movie! She has been receiving messages from fans and other celebrities, congratulating her for landing the role!

Amongst those who congratulated her is Halle Berry, in a tweet she posted, “In case you needed a reminder… Halles get it DONE. Congratulations @chloexhalle on this amazing opportunity, we can’t wait to see what you!” She also added that she was “thrilled” for the 19 year old. However, not everyone was happy about Disney’s decision to cast a black woman for this role.

Some critics went as far as petitioning Disney to recast for this role, and titled their petition #NotMyAriel!  They suggested that Halle should be replaced by a white woman with red hair,  who would resemble the Ariel that they know from the 1989 animated version of The Little Mermaid. Now Freeform, Disney’s cable network, has decided to issue an open letter in response to this.

The letter read, “Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish. Ariel…is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy). But for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ariel, too, is Danish”.

Related: Original Little Mermaid’s Ariel defends Halle Bailey’s casting

Freeform also added that, “Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black. Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair”! Freeform then went on to remind the critics that Ariel and the story, is only fictional!

See!

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