Can works like “Don’t Look Up” get us out of our heads?


Next month, Hulu will premiere the “Pam & Tommy” miniseries, a fictionalized account of the release of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s personal sex tape, which was stolen from their home in 1995 and sold on what was then called the “wide web world.” The show presents the tape as helping the web become more mainstream by appealing to basic human compulsions – an on-ramp to what lies ahead.

The pandemic has sent us further down this rabbit hole in search of distraction, information, connection, while trying to shake off this sense of impending doom.

At one point in “Inside,” while curled up in a fetal position on the floor under a blanket surrounded by a jumble of ropes — a picture worthy of a pandemic-era time capsule — Burnham, eyes closed, ruminates on the mess we’re in.

I don’t know about you guys, but, you know, I’ve been thinking lately that, you know, maybe allowing the digital media giants to exploit our kids’ neurochemical drama for profit – you know, maybe it was a bad thing to call by us. Perhaps the flattening of all subjective human experience into a lifeless exchange of value that benefits no one except, you know, a handful of bug-eyed salamanders in Silicon Valley – maybe it’s a way of life forever, maybe it’s not good.

In “Don’t Look Up”, the main “bug-eyed salamander”, a Steve Jobs-like character and the third richest man on the planet, is almost entirely responsible for the comet’s collision with Earth. ; his 11-hour attempt to probe the rock for trillions of dollars in materials fails. In the end, he and a handful of at escape on a spaceship, leaving the remaining billions of destitute pass away.

Juxtaposed with Jeff Bezos, one of Earth’s richest men, launching into space on his own rocket last year — a journey amid pandemic devastation (and a run on the cultural radar) — is beyond parody…almost.

Near the end of “Don’t Look Up,” Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, a clumsy astronomer turned media darling, delivers a moving monologue. Staring at the camera, he implores, “What have we done to each other? How can we fix this?” Funny. We were just wondering the same thing.


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