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Writing Samples

A response to Black Mirror: 

As Aristotle says and Tallon quotes, we cannot be moved by the downfall of a truly wicked man, and that is why Season 3, Episode 3 of Black Mirror, Shut Up and Dance plays out so brilliantly. The episode follows Kenny, a young man who seems a bit down on his luck, as he is forced to follow a series of commands after being hacked and threatened with the release of a revealing video.

Tallon claims that in tragedy, we identify with the hero, especially with his inherent virtue, that being Kenny, and perhaps the other victims we meet along the way in this case. From what we, the viewers see, Kenny himself had done nothing wrong (masturbate) but it got recorded and taken out of his hands to be used against him. This comes to violate our moral understanding as to what we believe is correct or just in the world. The social order that we see is taken down. All of the people that Kenny comes to interact with are all held hostage by this anonymous person or group and that makes the viewer uncomfortable because it challenges what we know about the world, that our privacy should be protected, that this couldn’t happen to us. This episode and this show in general shows us that these situations are all potentially possible in the near future and that scares and potentially delights us.

At this point, the viewers are rocked with emotion with Kenny about this supposed unjust cruelty that has been done. This is where horror and other genres are different, according to Tallon. He claims that emotions of the characters within horror fictions mirror those of our own and for this and many other episodes you do feel right along with them. At one point Kenny pees his pants because he is so scared he doesn’t know what else to do, and honestly I don’t know what I would have done in that situation either. But horror tries to make you feel uncomfortable- you are not supposed to feel relaxed and at ease, you are meant to feel something and as Tallon puts it, it would be the houseguest that would breaking china. And it’s true, horror wants a reaction out of its viewers.

Tallon speaks to the sense of progression for the sake of progression in the instance of Jurassic Park and Frankenstein but in the dark realities of Black Mirror, the show hums so similar to our lives today we potentially see this as one of the potential futures for ourselves. The theme of the show is technology especially in the episodes like Nosedive, where all the main character cares about is a social score, or The Entire History of You, where people can go back and look at all of their memories and replay them, but this show asks us to reflect on ourselves and say is it really for the sake of knowledge? When is advancement too much? Tallon again pulls into question as does Black Mirror, when we are unable to  handle the work of our own creations or control them, when they spin out of our control, is it only then that we realize that they are a problem (such as in Nosedive)? When we can control others abuse and corrupt them for our own pleasure, have we gone too far? But who will stop us? These are seen in episodes such as Shut Up and Dance, The Waldo Moment, The National Anthem, and Fifteen Million Merits.

When I first began watching this show I watched and I knew other people who were watching as well. It was a very communal experience, we were all baffled by the same things, this ending for one, and I don’t think I’ve ever had such insane conversations about any films in my life. We still have conversations about how we felt violated or discomforted but how it was exhilarating to watch which exactly the point of the genre is. We speak about our moral dilemmas of the show, whether or not we would have followed through with what Kenny did, or if we would have tried to save the princess in the very first episode, would we corrupt our moral values for the sake of saving ourselves? That is the fascinating part of the horror genre, we get to see others watch what we would never actually do, but we are mildly fascinated and disgusted with it at the same time in our safe homes.

As Aristotle says and Tallon quotes, we cannot be moved by the downfall of a truly wicked man, and that is why Season 3, Episode 3 of Black Mirror, Shut Up and Dance plays out so brilliantly. The episode follows Kenny, a young man who seems a bit down on his luck, as he is forced to follow a series of commands after being hacked and threatened with the release of a revealing video.

Tallon claims that in tragedy, we identify with the hero, especially with his inherent virtue, that being Kenny, and perhaps the other victims we meet along the way in this case. From what we, the viewers see, Kenny himself had done nothing wrong (masturbate) but it got recorded and taken out of his hands to be used against him. This comes to violate our moral understanding as to what we believe is correct or just in the world. The social order that we see is taken down. All of the people that Kenny comes to interact with are all held hostage by this anonymous person or group and that makes the viewer uncomfortable because it challenges what we know about the world, that our privacy should be protected, that this couldn’t happen to us. This episode and this show in general shows us that these situations are all potentially possible in the near future and that scares and potentially delights us.

At this point, the viewers are rocked with emotion with Kenny about this supposed unjust cruelty that has been done. This is where horror and other genres are different, according to Tallon. He claims that emotions of the characters within horror fictions mirror those of our own and for this and many other episodes you do feel right along with them. At one point Kenny pees his pants because he is so scared he doesn’t know what else to do, and honestly I don’t know what I would have done in that situation either. But horror tries to make you feel uncomfortable- you are not supposed to feel relaxed and at ease, you are meant to feel something and as Tallon puts it, it would be the houseguest that would breaking china. And it’s true, horror wants a reaction out of its viewers.

Tallon speaks to the sense of progression for the sake of progression in the instance of Jurassic Park and Frankenstein but in the dark realities of Black Mirror, the show hums so similar to our lives today we potentially see this as one of the potential futures for ourselves. The theme of the show is technology especially in the episodes like Nosedive, where all the main character cares about is a social score, or The Entire History of You, where people can go back and look at all of their memories and replay them, but this show asks us to reflect on ourselves and say is it really for the sake of knowledge? When is advancement too much? Tallon again pulls into question as does Black Mirror, when we are unable to  handle the work of our own creations or control them, when they spin out of our control, is it only then that we realize that they are a problem (such as in Nosedive)? When we can control others abuse and corrupt them for our own pleasure, have we gone too far? But who will stop us? These are seen in episodes such as Shut Up and Dance, The Waldo Moment, The National Anthem, and Fifteen Million Merits.

When I first began watching this show I watched and I knew other people who were watching as well. It was a very communal experience, we were all baffled by the same things, this ending for one, and I don’t think I’ve ever had such insane conversations about any films in my life. We still have conversations about how we felt violated or discomforted but how it was exhilarating to watch which exactly the point of the genre is. We speak about our moral dilemmas of the show, whether or not we would have followed through with what Kenny did, or if we would have tried to save the princess in the very first episode, would we corrupt our moral values for the sake of saving ourselves? That is the fascinating part of the horror genre, we get to see others watch what we would never actually do, but we are mildly fascinated and disgusted with it at the same time in our safe homes.