Fragile States

So I’ve been watching Mr. Robot on Showcase and so far it’s the one show on TV that I find riveting, if somewhat sad and not hopeful about the universe. The cubicle culture of the corporate world, the lame passwords of people over 40 (guilty), he-she relations (Shayla asks Elliot is it’s a good time to call) – all ring true as shown in Mr. Robot despite the “is this real” thread. Elliot’s reality is fragile. He is the protagonist, not the hero. Shades of Holden Caulfield.

If Mr. Robot rages about corporate domination and inequality, it knows that the battle is lost even when it looks like it’s won. I can’t keep up with the techno jargon, but the show is not about that as much as it is about loneliness. That’s a theme that doesn’t have best before date.

I went to a book launch this week. On Queen West, of course, in a hipster hotel. The book was a recounting by reporters of significant news stories they covered. A few of those who contributed their stories were there, doing a panel discussion on news reporting. Some people from the audience asked how social media and technology changes how news is reported. It was interesting to hear how the reporters responded – they had different perspectives — some saw bystander reporting (amateur video) as an additional source, to be verified. All acknowledged that constant technological change in technology is unstoppable. One has to go with the flow, but still use an internal filter to weed out misinformation.

On my way home, I ended up on the streetcar with a man who also attended the book launch. We chatted to pass the time. He was going to hear someone sing and was already checking what he could do the day after. he was around my age, or a bit older. Retired and planning his days — volunteering and going to clubs, book readings. In my negative way, I was disapproving (didn’t articulate this to him) — he was immature, running around the city, sampling this and that. But then I thought back to the way I was during my university years. Every weekend, one day and night would be spent doing as much as possible. Dinner, theatre and a cool band at the Horseshoe. Art gallery walk and a French film that just opened. A thirst to see as much as possible. So he wasn’t immature, just living to the fullest, unwilling to let age get in the way.

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