There are two things the Internet does really well.
1. Reproduce the world onto a digital screen. (Or a hodgepodge of simulacra)
2. Reproduce us onto a digital screen. (Or a mirror of feelings subject to the screen image)
Their effects are both powerful – only needs ‘one occurrence’ to make long term and perhaps life-long memory. As well as intoxicating – engendering a need for ‘frequent occurrence’.
Should we be concerned with reproducing these kind of images and our consumption of them? Are there problems with this sort of lifestyle and such intensive media immersion? If so, exactly how would we address and define these ‘problems’?
The questions I pose here have intrigued many times before. Notoriously, Kubrick’s graphical render of Anthony burgess’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ riled some people in 1972.
My concern over this kind of media consumption lies not with the violence or other intense imagery contained. At least I do not think so. I have previously problematised airbrushed representations of advert models in a similar way. I also used to ‘go on for ages’ that the benefit of hypertext on Wikipedia pages does not outweigh the detriment it brings to people’s attention spans.
To give a further example, we all avert our eyes from things we know are available but that we do not have interest/appetite for. Think of a person who has been told by doctors to substantially decrease their meat intake and find themselves walking down an aisle at the supermarket stocked with meat products.
We all know the same kind of pressure exists ‘on the Internet’. Look at the advertisements at the bottom of this page! I have heard that the ridiculous never-ending links to the right of articles on the ‘daylymale online’ is the most successful of all online models for news media.
Our increasingly presumptuous and lackadaisical consumption is worrying. It does not even matter what it is. Even consuming something we think is beautifully made could have an effect on the way beauty is then (un)seen and (under)valued in wider society.
The saying goes that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Perhaps we should already know that the mind’s eye always needed guarding.
(Modified use of photo under creative commons – see following link for more of the artists’ work: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcosdemadariaga/16299653009/)