• Quote of the week

    “Today the path to total dictatorship in the United States can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by the Congress, the President, or the people….outwardly we have a Constitutional government. We have operating within our government and political system, another body representing another form of government, a bureaucratic elite which believes our Constitution is outmoded and is sure that it is the winning side…. All the strange developments in the foreign policy agreements may be traced to this group who are going to make us over to suit their pleasure…. This political action group has its own local political support organizations, its own pressure groups, its own vested interests, its foothold within our government, and its own propaganda apparatus.”

    quoted directly from UN sources. Senator William Jenner (1954)

Black Mirror: TV Series

Black Mirror’s first episode was a nail-biting piece of satire that unfolded almost like an episode of 24. The prime minister fucking a pig on national television is a tough act to follow. But “Fifteen Million Merits” is a grander work in every way, a dazzling piece of science fiction that builds its world out slowly but perfectly over the course of an hour—and packs an emotional wallop along with the “15 minutes into the future” warning you already expect. “The National Anthem” was grey and grim, tough to watch, but “Fifteen Million Merits” is actually frightening to contemplate, and that’s how good dystopian sci-fi should feel.

The most impressive work of the script, by Charlie Brooker and his wife Kanak Huq (who any Brit who doesn’t live under a rock knows as Konnie Huq, a long-running presenter of Blue Peter that I and a million other kids grew up watching), is how economical it is with the information it gives you. We follow a man, Bing (Daniel Kaluuya, who U.K.-Skins fans will recognize as Posh Kenneth), but we don’t even get his name until 20 minutes in. He lives in a tiny box room where every wall is a screen and everything is paid for out of an account of “merits,” from toothpaste to the power to skip annoying ads.

Bing earns merits, like everyone else, by riding a bike all day, passing the time watching a simple animation of his “Avatar,” a friendly little Mii-like avatar, cycling down a road. Others watch porn, or a game show that seems to delight in shaming fat people; chubby attendants clean up around them in yellow uniforms and are treated like second-class citizens. Most importantly, there’s an X Factor type show called Hot Shots hosted by three preening judges, the most feared/respected being Judge Hope (Rupert Everett), a nasty Simon Cowell type.

This, we understand, is the only ticket out of bike-land. But the way the episode dispenses all this information, it never feels like the audience is being force-fed anything. It’s a slow, repetitive experience, watching Bing go about his day, but it’s utterly compelling. The blinkered, transactional world makes sense to us. Later, we watch Bing try to skip an ad for porn, but he doesn’t have enough merits to do so. That’s when I realized: He’s stuck inside a cellphone. Bing is playing Candy Crush, but it’s his life, and he can’t hit “x” on the ads unless he clears more lines.

It’s a terrifying thought. And it’s what Black Mirror specializes in. What we’re seeing is far-fetched satire, but it’s satire nonetheless, and it’s not impossible to imagine the steps leading us to such a world. One assumes that the earth is undergoing some sort of energy crisis, post-oil, and the population is needed to power our lights instead. Such an existence is pretty miserable to contemplate, so much of the energy is used to distract the citizenry as they perform their mundane tasks. It’s The Matrix, but stripped of all that film’s epic cyberpunk design and scale. Instead of being harvested as batteries by robots, we’re used as drones by an unseen bureaucracy.

The world is cool, and the way it’s presented is wonderful (I don’t know that the budget for these episodes is high, but they are visually seamless). But there’s a sad little parable to follow along with as well. Bing falls for Abi (Jessica Brown Findlay, the beautiful Lady Sybil of Downton Abbey), who has a lovely singing voice, and spends his dead brother’s 15 million merits to get her on Hot Shots, where she’s an instant sensation. Drugged by some sort of compliance milk, she goes along with Judge Wraith (Ashley Thomas) and becomes a porn star, in a wrenching twist. The episode, wisely, doesn’t even let us know that that’s an option until we’re on the stage. It makes the gut-punch all the worse, but it also makes her decision more believable, since she seems as blindsided as we are.

Once Abi is locked in the porn universe, torturing a broke Bing with her ads, he sets upon a revenge mission, earning another shot on the show and giving a Network-esque rant with a shard of glass pointed at his neck. No need to go into detail on how this whole sequence unfolds, but again, it’s perfectly done. We have some idea, maybe, of what Bing is plotting, but every piece of his plan is laid out slowly and carefully for the audience. Kaluuya, who has been reserved and focused for the entire episode, barely saying a line at a time, lets stream a vicious stream of consciousness at the smug judges, an act of rebellion that leaves the audience silent until Judge Hope proclaims it the most heartfelt thing they’ve ever seen on the show.

That’s what’s so brilliant about the final twist—the audience’s silence. Even after Bing’s display, Judge Hope (Everett, who is just fantastic) has them in the palm of his hand. Why does Bing even go on to Hot Shots? Does he think all along that he can parlay a genuine show of emotion into a TV gig? Does he want to die, want to be free of his torturous little bedroom? The character is perhaps too inscrutable, although his breakdown halfway through the episode is well-earned, but the ending is devastating and smart. Bing delivers rants to camera twice a week, lives in relative finery and no longer has to ride a bike. As happy endings go, it’s pretty dreadful. That might end up being the rule of Black Mirror.

Courtesy: http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/fifteen-million-merits-105765

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  • Famous Quotes In History

    “Very soon, every American will be required to register their biological property (that’s you and your children) in a national system designed to keep track of the people and that will operate under the ancient system of pledging. By such methodology, we can compel people to submit to our agenda, which will affect our security as a charge back for our fiat paper currency. Every American will be forced to register or suffer being able to work and earn a living. They will be our chattels (property) and we will hold the security interest over them forever, by operation of the lawmerchant under the scheme of secured transactions. Americans, by unknowingly or unwittingly delivering the bills of lading (Birth Certificate) to us will be rendered bankrupt and insolvent, secured by their pledges. They will be stripped of their rights and given a commercial value designed to make us a profit and they will be none the wiser, for not one man in a million could ever figure our plans and, if by accident one or two should figure it out, we have in our arsenal plausible deniability. After all, this is the only logical way to fund government, by floating liens and debts to the registrants in the form of benefits and privileges. This will inevitably reap us huge profits beyond our wildest expectations and leave every American a contributor to this fraud, which we will call “Social Insurance.” Without realizing it, every American will unknowingly be our servant, however begrudgingly. The people will become helpless and without any hope for their redemption and we will employ the high office (presidency) of our dummy corporation(USA) to foment this plot against America.”

    -Colonel Edward Mandell House

    “Warburg’s revolutionary plan to get American Society to go to work for Wall Street was astonishingly simple. Even today,…academic theoreticians cover their blackboards with meaningless equations, and the general public struggles in bewildered confusion with inflation and the coming credit collapse, while the quite simple explanation of the problem goes undiscussed and almost entirely uncomprehended. The Federal Reserve System is a legal private monopoly of the money supply operated for the benefit of the few under the guise of protecting and promoting the public interest.–”

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