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  • Writer's pictureDillan Taylor

This creepy Black Mirror episode teaches a great lesson


Last night I watched the first episode of the new season of Black Mirror.


The show is a modern-day Twilight Zone, making us question our relationship with technology in creepy ways. "Black Mirror" refers to when we look at a blank screen and see our blurred reflection. Some episodes are goofy. Some are horrific. Some are both.


S6E1 is titled Joan is Awful. It follows the life of an average woman named Joan who makes dull and immoral decisions.


She discovers that her entire life—including therapy sessions and cheating habits—is portrayed in a new TV show where Salma Hayek plays her character. Her fiance, coworkers, and the rest of the world now know everything she does behind closed doors.


The 55-minute episode touches on several timely themes:

  • deep fakes

  • not reading the Terms & Conditions

  • privacy and data concerns


But my #1 takeaway came from the show's biggest strength: putting the viewer in the character's shoes. What if this were happening to me?


More specifically: What if my entire life—public and private—was on full display to the world?


How embarrassed would I be? How entertaining would the story be? How proud or ashamed would I feel?


It got me thinking about integrity: the choices we make when no one is watching.


Joan was disgusted to see her character badmouthing her fiance, texting her ex, and meeting up with him for a secret dinner. But the show only had those scenes because she had actually done those things.


Aside from the obvious violations of privacy, how would you feel if your daily life was captured on Netflix?


What would we learn about how you treat people? About how you treat yourself? Would we be inspired by you? Would we see you as a hero, a villain, or something in between?


 

PS—You guys have been emailing me your thoughts and reflections on these articles. I just wanted to mention how much I love that. While I don't always have time for long, thoughtful responses to match...I read every message and deeply appreciate anyone who takes the time to share.

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