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Criticism that misses the point

An Automaton Adrift

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This isn't as delightfully on-the-nose as the OP's example, but there's this strain of criticism that gets leveled against Black Mirror, including a recent CollegeHumor video, that treats it as a Luddite series and critiques that aspect, when one of the running themes of classic sci-fi short stories (Bradbury's "The Veldt" and Asimov's "Liar" come to mind, e.g.) is that technology shines a light on who humanity really is inside. It empowers and amplifies people. And, literature being literature, what's reflected in that mirror is usually pretty negative because literature loves showing humanity at its worst.

But many critics completely miss the "yeah, humanity kinda sucks" point and jump straight to the "technology bad" interpretation.
I only watched the very first episode of Black Mirror. It’s one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen, and a big part of that is its sheer banality. I can’t speak for other episodes—multiple people have assured me that there are much better ones—but the first one really does boil down to “phones bad”. Except they used bestiality to make this incredibly groundbreaking point.
 

CarpeGuitarrem

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Unfortunately, I can't really comment there, since that's the only episode I haven't seen mostly due to its reputation.
 

Blackfang108

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I only watched the very first episode of Black Mirror. It’s one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen, and a big part of that is its sheer banality. I can’t speak for other episodes—multiple people have assured me that there are much better ones—but the first one really does boil down to “phones bad”. Except they used bestiality to make this incredibly groundbreaking point.
That first episode really is the worst episode of the series, and a terrible entry-point.
 

Breogan

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... the bestiality bit was about Cameron, PM of the UK. That was... eh... the point? :p
 

Siphonaptera

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I only watched the very first episode of Black Mirror. It’s one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen, and a big part of that is its sheer banality. I can’t speak for other episodes—multiple people have assured me that there are much better ones—but the first one really does boil down to “phones bad”. Except they used bestiality to make this incredibly groundbreaking point.
The point of the first episode was about people's fascination with watching train wrecks and how they reacted to the situation, not about technology being bad. The series is about people and how they behave when given more freedom through technology or when manipulated by other people using technology that might make those behaviors more severe, but it always comes down to people's choices with the technology as a tool.

No episode makes the point that technology is the problem, although it does put a spotlight on the danger of how we use technology.
 

Agamemnon2

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This isn't as delightfully on-the-nose as the OP's example, but there's this strain of criticism that gets leveled against Black Mirror, including a recent CollegeHumor video, that treats it as a Luddite series and critiques that aspect, when one of the running themes of classic sci-fi short stories (Bradbury's "The Veldt" and Asimov's "Liar" come to mind, e.g.) is that technology shines a light on who humanity really is inside. It empowers and amplifies people. And, literature being literature, what's reflected in that mirror is usually pretty negative because literature loves showing humanity at its worst.

But many critics completely miss the "yeah, humanity kinda sucks" point and jump straight to the "technology bad" interpretation.
From everything I've seen, Black Mirror isn't a Luddite series, it's a nihilistic misanthrope one. The difference is one of nuance, not of kind.
 

petros

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From everything I've seen, Black Mirror isn't a Luddite series, it's a nihilistic misanthrope one. The difference is one of nuance, not of kind.
This. The problems in each scenario (of the best scenarios) are all things people have been doing for thousands of years, assumptions about how we'll keep jerking each other around in the future.

I'm trying to think of a properly Luddite episode, and Metalhead is the closest. Even then we don't know if the robots went nuts one day (a more Luddite message), or if someone programmed them to start killing everyone (a more misanthropic message). We have minefields in real life, and I'd bet we'll have trouble clearing military AI bots out of warzones in the future.
 
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