Recent social media spectacles deserve an Oscar

2014-03-27 07:54

Social media is in the entertainment business. It is not after the truth. It exists to provide drama. It exists to distract. It constrains. It constructs heroes and it destroys them. Like a Don Quixote hallucination, losing sight of the real. Like a soap opera, weaving a complex storyline without purpose. The Oscar story reads, sounds, and views like a long, drawn out episode of CSI or Law & Order. It is unreal. It is fiction. The fallen hero. The absent victim. Long have we forgotten Oscar the hero, the symbol of inspiration. Mentioning gun control is off limits. Don’t dare engage in a renewed debate about violence against women. Even ignore the increasing rise of the macho protein and glamour diva cosmetic powder celebrity culture perpetuated by the media itself.

Let’s create new heroes. Let lawyers playing infantile word games magically become expert rhetoricians and discoverers of truth. Let twitter users magically become criminal psychologists and crime scene experts. As if. And just when you were addicted to these fickle, mindless speculations, the social media moves again in that familiar schizophrenic pattern, from one spectacle to another, without closure, without a resolution. It is easily bored and fatigued by its own creations. It has long forgotten that Sheik and Selebi are alive, the Waterkloof Four’s pectacular party life in prison, the naughty urinating joke played by the Forgiven Free State students, Malema the 'benevolent' leader of many, and other tragic heroes such as Hansie Cronje.

And the spectacle now turns its focus to Zuma’s impeachment, another fiction. A fiction that will send many to the polls. A sign of a healthy democracy, they will call it when the dust settles.

Social media is a reflection of us. A technology of fantasy. A technology providing escape from our mundane lives. A technology of empty power. A technology with the false promise of helping humanity transcend into angels. A technology clearing the path for our descent back to a troop of unruly, chattering monkeys. And while we remain distracted, the alphas in the troop continue to rip us off.

And that is why we deserve an Oscar. We are becoming great at following a script. We have lost sight of what is real. We have forgotten how to reason. We do not know how to change. We do not even know that we need to change. No We Can't! Not through social media anyway?  

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