Weekly response #3


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    Karina Lopez
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    The “Fifteen Million Merits” episode in “Black Mirror” is a psychologically inducing episode with lots of hidden meanings in the visual aspects of the dystopian setting we are presented with. Starting with the same colored outfits that they all wear, indicative that all the workers are treated the same way, not as humans but as working machines. This reminds me of the alienation theory of Karl Marx discussed in the Contra Points video. The theory of workers doing the same menial work over and over without meaning and also forcing them to compete against each other, are two elements of this theory that is conceptualized throughout the episode. Another important visual element is the hyper technological setting of the place. There are screens everywhere, in the bathrooms, surrounding the rooms, in the bike rooms and even towards the end where Bing gets a better and bigger room, it is still surrounded by screens. The origami penguin that Abi makes out of paper is also an important visual element which to me demonstrates the only real thing in the show- the link between Abi and Bing. This episode definitely intertwines with the capitalist concepts of the Contra Points video we watched previously. The episode emphasizes on the issue of consumerism and how it can become a destructive way of living and clearly drawing a parallel to our current world. Earning merits by cycling can get you basically everything you need such as toothpaste, food and upgrades but it also gets you unnecessary things such as clothes. It is similar to what the Contra Points video was saying about neoliberalism and the need for people to buy expensive, useless things and working hard to buy these things although later feeling guilty about them. In Contra Points the “lizards” are regarded as the one percent who control the economy, government and ninety-nine percent of the population. This reminds me of the judges in the Hot Shot competition who appear to be in a higher status, and also seem to manipulate the competitors and their so-called “choices.”  In Contra Points, it is explained that advertising uses many rhetorical strategies such as sexual desire and social status to get people to buy things. In the Black Mirror episode, all the shows and advertisements are oozing with sex and the chance of becoming famous, creating a vicious cycle of needing and buying, much like our modern world.

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