Week 3 Assignment

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    Wei Tao Liu

    In the Black Mirror Season 1 Episode 2: Fifteen Million Merits, the world is completely relying on technology and the virtual world. Everyone lives in the room surrounded by the display screen, and they work all day to earn virtual currency called “merits”. People watch all variety of TV channels on display screen and were induced to design their characters on the virtual world and induced watch other special channels by advertisement. This episode shows us a world dominated by the entertainment advertising and television business. For example, there is a penalty when you try to skip the advertisement, and there is no way to escape because the sensor can detect if you are watching the advertisement. You can’t leave the room while the advertisement is playing.

    This show how the upper class who controls all the advertisement and television control everyone’s life, people have no option but to accept. They also control how people rise up from the lower class to higher class, which is through the Hot Shot competition show. The virtual elements inside are showing the ironic comparison of the real world and the world of this episode.

    One ironic comparison is when our protagonist went to work, a man is watching a show called Botherguts, about humiliating fat people. In my perspective, this is an overstatement of the aesthetics that our society in favor of, which most people likes the skinny person and less likes the fat person. Also, I noticed those fat people in the episode are working as the janitor, the lower class. There is another instance in the climax, the protagonist went to the Hot Shot competition show with a piece of broken glass from the broken display screen and delivered a passionate speech of the complaint to society, but the judge said it was a wonderful “show”. Even he was serious, but everyone thought it was another sort of performance. Then the judge decided to offer him a show on the channel for this performance, and he accepted. This is an ironic turning point, but it shows how capitalism work. There are some concept I found in this episode from the Contrapoint videos I watched, such as people in the episodes usually does the same thing every day because they need merits daily, but merits spent quickly so they are unable to move to higher class, and they stuck in the lower class forever and do same work everything.

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