Black Mirror

Just this morning, I read a post.

Not Earth-shattering, by any means.  I read a good number of other bloggers out here on the ‘net – sometimes for the laughs, sometimes for the inspiration, sometimes because I genuinely click with the other writer, sometimes because I WANT to know more of the other blogger’s viewpoint.

And sometimes, to be perfectly honest here, it’s for the reciprocal views.  Kind of an unspoken yet understood ‘pact’ between bloggers.  I read yours, you read mine.

It’s all about the numbers.

This particular blogger had mentioned that people who post holiday pictures every five minutes aren’t on a very good vacation…and it got me to thinking of the episode titled:  Nosedive from Netflix’s series ‘The Black Mirror.’

black-mirror

For those of you unfamiliar with this series, it’s a British, Twilight Zone-esque series.  Each episode is a stand-alone, centered around modern society and the unanticipated effects modern technology has wrought/will wreak upon society.

From the show’s Wiki page:

“each episode has a different cast, a different setting, even a different reality. But they’re all about the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.”

Believe me when I say the writers, directors and cast haven’t pulled any punches on how things could go if we stay on our current path.

The episode that sticks in my head, if only because I can see society GALLOPING headstrong and arrogantly down the path which leads to the portrayed future, is Nosedive.

Imagine…if you will…

A world in which every action and interaction you partake in is tabulated in a single, master social-internet platform which society has initiated compulsory attendance.  Anyone not high on the popularity scale is deemed fair play for discriminatory practices by the popular ones.

Imagine your entire life centered around your rating.  Those with low ratings have predatory rental rates, refused services, employment difficulties.

It’s as if the A list from high school (yaknow…the ‘popular’ kids) was put in charge of everything in society, and now wields enough power to actively suborn those they look down upon from their pillars on high.

The episode continues to draw me in – it’s one I’ve watched easily a dozen times already.  Each time I view (or listen, with my nose buried in a chainmaille piece) I seem to catch some new nuance or bit of buried irony I’d missed before.

 

In this bleakly-painted yet oddly happy-pastel colored dystopian future – I know where I’d rate…right there in the same driver’s seat as the old lady in the truck.

If you’ve access to Netflix – I suggest you look up this single episode.  It’s Episode #1, Season 3.

420px-black_mirror_-_nosedive

 

 

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Potter’s Field of Dreams. No building…just come on down!

harry-potter

Yet another random Facebook Meme

It’s rare that I start a post with a photograph I didn’t take…and rarer still to not include ANY photographs of mine…but I had to offer my tu-pence on this gem.

I am a Harry Potter fan.  I found the series mid-way between the 3rd and the 4th book – which is when book one was was finally starting to show up in the discount book outlets.  I figured a couple of bucks for this slender teen-aimed fantasy was money well gambled.

I liked the original book well enough to go hunt up the 2nd – also in trade paperback.  On finding out that the 3rd was only available in hardcover – I dithered over the purchase for a grand total of 4 days.

I’m so proud of my self-restraint!

I was hooked, and bought each successive novel in hardcover as soon as it was released…culminating in purchasing the ‘limited-edition, special box-and-artwork’ copy of the Deathly Hallows for an insane amount on opening day.

If you hadn’t guessed – I’m a fantasy-story whore.  If there’s a magical or supernatural angle to your story – yup…I’ll read it.

as soon as it finds me…

Anyway – back to the Potter-verse.  Let’s take the villains in the above meme one at a time, shall we?

First in my opinion-box is Lord Voldemort.  For all the marketing on him being the big, bad, evil dude, ultimately, he turned out to be nothing more than a terrified little git with vague dreams of self-importance.  He spent his life – both of them – behaving like the worst bully on the playground – even going as far as ripping his soul to shreds just to prove he was the biggest badass on the Tee-ball diamond.  This big bully gets dropped at the end the way all bullies get owned – the 90 pound weakling stands up to him.

Bellatrix Lestrange is our next contestant.  Demented?  Yup.  Bat-shit insane?  Bingo!  Trotting around Voldemort’s heels like an animal in heat?  Affirmamente!  But evil?  Not a chance.  She’s the battered hanger-on to the bully on the playground – the poor spineless little twit who sucks up her boyfriend’s semen on his demand, services his buddies on command, and apologizes to him later for the black eye and busted jaw she “made” him give her.  Bellatrix made me feel alternately disgusted with her simpering, pathetic, please-let-me-worship-you begging at Voldemort’s feet; and saddened that she hadn’t the brain cells to realize there were options that didn’t involve being the Dark Lord’s bitch.

Draco Malfoy waves from the sidelines.  He’s the spoiled little rich-kid who spends most of the series with this huge, gold-plated chip firmly lodged on his shoulder, and an uncanny knack for squeaking out of mortal danger with the power of his father’s wallet.  That chip does eventually get flicked off, he learns that money can’t buy you everything, and that talking the talk only gets you as far as the bigger guy demanding you put all that money where your mouth is before he plants his fist there.  Next time, Draco – use some of daddy’s money to buy yourself a clue.

Aaaaand, now proudly introducing – Severous Snape.  (pause for applause)

Emo.  Goth.  Gryffindor’s whipping boy.  I mean – he got blamed for EVERYTHING!  I’m surprised that Hermione didn’t blame Snape for the pimple that sprouted on her ass overnight because they blamed him for everything else.

The best part of Snape was he didn’t give one Weasley’s Wildfire Whiz-bang about all the finger-pointing in his direction.  He was cool like that – extremely comfortable in his own skin.  If you didn’t like Snape’s skin, he’d be happy to extend the hatred right back-at-cha, with a side of deep-fried cheese curds and a burger with all the good toppings if he was in the right mood.  Just don’t ask where the meat came from…

Can you tell I liked Snape? 

Lucious Malfoy.  Draco’s wallet.  He pretty much learned Draco’s lesson at the same time as his son – if you’re going to swim with the sharks, prepare to get bit in the ass.  Lucious got what he deserved…and it wasn’t lunch.  Just dessert.

Narcissa Malfoy.  The third member of the Malfoy household, and the only one I really sympathized with, probably because she was an ornament for the bulk of the series.  In the end, maternal instincts won out, and she hustled her barely-intact family away from the courtyard at her first opportunity.  I suspect she began wearing the pants in that family soon after their final departure from the series.

And finally…Delores Umbridge.

If evil were distilled, concentrated, and poured into a pretty container, you’d get Delores Umbridge.  I’m envisioning luminescent green toxic sludge poured into an expensive, hand-crafted, Waterford Crystal Decanter.  WITH the ornate topper (yours for an additional $499.99 – order today!)  That pretty much sums up Delores Umbridge.

Every pore of this character oozed pure, undiluted evil.  There were no good sides to Delores Umbridge, there was no gold under the tarnish, no silver lining on her cloud.  She took life’s lemons, and ground them into babies eyes.  In the disco ball of life, she was all pointy corners.

She was evil attempting to disguise itself as everything cutsie, innocent and naive.  She wore nothing but soft pink suits.  She had the wall of overly-cute kitten plates which mewled incessantly, and covered every horizontal surface with lace doilies.  She had that annoyingly high-pitched and childish voice; and the ‘hemmm…hemmmmp’ half-whine, half fake-throat clear chirp to get attention?  Evil.  Pure evil.

I’ll bet she had razor-sharp teeth in her girly bits.

I hated Umbridge – both in the print version and the movie version.  I yelled at her as I read the books, and, to my surprise, seeing her on screen made me hate her even more.

So kudos out there to Rowling – for creating such a memorable evil bitch.  The centaurs carrying her off was really too good of an ending for her – I would have preferred something more satisfyingly violent – but then again, I’m a 29+++ hobby-writer stuck in Wisconsin – so what do I know???

I can only hope someday to create a character half as loathsome.

Flash Fiction – Shades of Grey

Rose lineup Flash FictionAnother Friday – another Flash Fiction piece posted over on Flash! Friday.

I had fun with this one (well, OK, I have fun with all of them :D) – the photo prompt was a black & white picture of a black kid hugging an electrical panel while looking at the busy shopping avenue laid out before him.

magician's taleSeveral years ago, I read a book called The Magician’s Tale.  The character we follow is a photographer who is completely color blind – she sees only in values of black and white.  The story was powerful, and one thing the author did to remind his readers of her affliction was have her ruminate periodically over her inability to see in a normal human spectrum.

So this week, with David Hunt’s book surfacing from the mire that passes for my mind, I wrote this week’s flash fiction entry entirely in black and white.

Enjoy!

 

Shades of Gray

160 words

The pearly-white beetle whistles a merry tune down the slate-colored street, chirping at the enormous silvery bus spewing leaden exhaust as it labors with its belly-full of passengers.  Ladies parade across the granite avenues between street and shop, wearing brilliant ivory suits, clutching frosted alabaster bags straining at their seams.

I cower, my terrified breath ravaging my throat.  I do not belong here.

Yesterday, I fled into the raven twilight – choosing the uncertainty of ebony and onyx star speckled skies for my bedroom ceiling, instead of the resolute beating promised in mother’s alcohol-poisoned eyes.  The reek of cheap spirits and cheaper perfume preceded her down the sooty, cracked plaster hall, her face the obsidian color of guaranteed violence.

Flight, rather than clenched knuckles forcefully sending blossoms of bisque, bone and cream fireworks to explode behind my eyelids, was my hasty decision.

But now, alone in this big, monochrome world, I’m wondering – where do I go when I’ve run from home?