the Circle…

I saw that movie. The Circle. I saw it. With some friends.

Sucked. But not completely. ‘It was interesting, but boring.’ I told my friends. ‘How can it be both of those things?’ They ask.

(I really have friends, and they were really with me, and we really talked about it)

There was no action. It was too close to real life in the 21st century. It was Emma Watson driving, sitting at her desk, sitting at her dinner table. It was Emma Watson, working customer service, using the internet, sleeping. It was TED talks, texting, skyping. It was the uncomfortable proximity of watching Emma Watson chew and talk at the same time at dinner with her family. It was just a lightly-fictionalized Emma Watson.

So it was boring. It was not a good movie. I mean, I don’t make movies, but if I did, it would be way fucking better than this one. There were some basic problems with the plot, illogical things. Like the rogue character, what’s his face, the dude who was in the last starwars, he designed an app, was sickened by how it destroyed people’s lives, and he became a recluse… except he still hangs around at work, in plain sight, being a famous person. What?

the-circle-image01
‘drink the kool aid!’

In the vein of dystopia

That line, ‘secrets are lies.’ That’s interesting, we could talk about that. it’s very clearly too Orwell, ‘heavily inspired,’ I would say. ‘Secrets are lies.’ Ooohhh… it is actually kind of a mind-bender. I want to be critical but then I’m defending the right to be ashamed, the right to be a private bourgeois individual. On the other hand, I would be defending the rights of private corporations and the ‘big gov’ment’ to store in transparency everything we do, which they do in reality anyway regardless of legality or the spirit in entails. Sure, I guess, Secrets are Lies. Good one, whoever wrote this. Really, it’s good, I’ve got nothing to mock or critique. But you did rip-off Orwell.

The part where the Social Media acolytes hunt down Emma’s ex-boyfriend is straight out of Brave New World, almost identical to how the New People hunt down John the Savage and take endless photographs of him until he kills himself. Rip-off!

I don’t think the Circle, at least the film, deserves to be in the great dystopian tradition.

It doesn’t really break any boundaries, it doesn’t say anything shockingly radical. Even though both 1984 and Brave New World were pretty much, I hate to be a snooty critic, poorly written, they at least had some basis in social thought and presented serious critiques of modern humanity. They were serious. And they were correct, both of them. The world we live in is both 1984 and Brave New World, depending on which city and in which part of it you live in.

The world we live in is also the Circle, but this doesn’t seem to really bother the Circle so much. The movie’s solution is a more, I don’t know, egalitarian, use of the technology that is so ruining the soul of humanity. We need to ruin the souls of the elite, too, and then everything will be all good.

The real question is who gets to be the Judge of the surveillance. All of us?

There was something slightly infuriating about Emma Watson’s character. She’s so, well-adjusted. So easy and comfortable being on stage, being an internet spectacle. It’s infuriating that the writers would make her ability to be a spectacle her powerful trait. Our hero’s and heroines need not be intelligent or soulful or passionate or brave or strong, just good performers, just like us.

The movie would be much, much more interesting if we had gotten to watch Emma Watson go completely fucking insane under the hundreds of millions of gazes that constantly watch her broadcasted existence. And then, in her state of severely deteriorating neurosis, she sweeps into a blind fury and violently dispatches the White Collar Techie Tom Hanks and murders the shorter little guy, of course as spectacle on the company stage. Blood, we’ll need blood as retribution.

That’d be much better, more satisfying.

But, there’s only so much Hollywood can say about Silicon Valley. This movie barely entered the threshold of the typical Liberal Nightmare; the All Encompassing State Apparatus, Big Brother, Etc. What the Circle is so afraid of is collectivism, of the submergence and the surrendering of the so-cherished individual in a higher order. Yawn. I guess I give them points for making a large Corporation the Big Brother, and not the Government, which is more true to our reality.

But still, the Real Nightmare is not losing our individuality, but completely losing our sociality. The Circle (and all social media and all of the internet) is not really a cohesive group thing. It’s billions of segmented, atomized, craving individuals pursuing ‘their own’ interests alone, at home, in front of a soulless machine, living like and slowly becoming a soulless machine.

It’s not an all-seeing panopticon Other but a suffocating veil of personal privacy and ego that we can never pierce through, like the steel doors and plastic windows of personal automobiles, the filing drawers of our cubicles and the storage-units we call homes. A privacy and a focus on the self that is only used to control and corral us in the systems of capitalist society. (Yada yada yada. You can read all this stuff on Marxists.org.)

That’s the fucking nightmare. Amen. Still, some 17 year olds will see this movie and maybe think twice about the latest myspace-rehash in the app store. Maybe, just maybe. All radicals were once Liberals, I know, so there’s a time and a place for the night-sweats and anxieties of primo- First World Problems and suburban alienation. I know them so well and so I withhold my critical wrath from the Circle. I’d give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. (:

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