They Live is probably not the first movie someone will come up with when discussing the works of John Carpenter. It is certainly not his best or most successful entry but interesting nonetheless. Thematically it shares common ground with acknowledged modern sci-fi classics The Matrix (1999) and Dark City (1998, arguably the better movie).
While humanity is reduced to obedient slaves or expendable resources, one man wakes up and gets a step closer to the truth. Of course brain-dead consumerism was blasted even earlier in Dawn of the Dead (1978), but that movie misses the protagonist who gains sudden insight and understanding.
It is tempting to think that we live in a time where said insight is perhaps not only already gained by some but also slowly gathering critical mass. Without venturing to far into the Fringe, there is an increasing amount of healthy skepticism towards the mass-media. Up to the point where everything they pump out is seen as nothing more than a greedy time devouring distraction, aimed at nothing other than control. “Bread and Circuses”, to appease and manipulate the voters. I do not know if we are getting closer to gaining real insight and understanding. But an almost unlimited access to independent information sources allows us to investigate, think for ourselves and possibly break the illusion. If there is one.
Gone are the days when only a few large mass media institutions dominated (and controlled) the information flow to the general population. Keeping certain facts hidden, blatantly coloring events or presenting them heavily opinionated was pretty easy. The morning paper and evening news was all you got, and if it was not mentioned there, it simply did not happen.
This set up gave some stakeholders (large corporations, the government, powerful lobbyist groups) an unhealthy level of control and a way to direct the opinion of the public. The arrival of The Internet did not change this immediately, but it was the beginning of the end for traditional mass media as an undisputed monopolist in news gathering and information distribution. Some tried to introduce clumsy on-line services, often behind a pay wall. Most of these initiatives failed miserably.
Of course the Internet still had a long way to go before it could replace the mainstream mass media as a day-to-day information source. It had to become cheaper, it needed to be a common utility like electricity, water and gas, something that someone takes for granted. Better software and publishing tools gave the final push. Today newspapers are basically on the path to extinction. The same can be said for the traditional journalist.
There are 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, and anyone can report news, illustrated with photos or videos, on a YouTube channel or a blog. Of course the quality will vary greatly and some channels are just as opinionated as the mass media (or even more so).
Most importantly though, the earlier mentioned stakeholders have lost their tight grip on information, their control over opinion and their power to keep things hidden. Events are documented while they happen or widely scrutinized after the fact, reducing the chance of keeping things from the public. Older stories that were once covered up, resurface. For the average citizen it is much easier to get an unbiased report, or at least two sides of the story, and form an opionion on the basis of that, instead of being told what to think or steered in the desired direction. And with the genie out of the bottle, I do not see this changing anytime soon.
Welcome to my blog. I had one for a few years, initially focused on my goal to continue publishing my sci-fi movie reviews I used to do for another website. That intention faded somewhat with the passage of time. After that I regularly posted links to music videos, most of them a little obscure, hidden in the Deep realms of the Electronic Music niche.
Recently I noticed a lot of posts were essentially made void thanks to broken links. So I decided to start anew and switch to WordPress. The focus of the blog will be, stated in very general terms: keep an open mind, stay curious and search for truth. More narrowed down, science (or nonsense) from the fringes of the net, science fiction, post apocalyptic. Apart from that my original interests may still be the subject of future posts, as my fascination with them is still alive.