Bewildering Stories discusses...
The Blurring Effect
“Near Future — Same Show” appears in issue 770.
A Review Editor is inspired by the poem to discuss the “blurring effect” in today’s media.
A “same show” isn’t accurate to people who are into media technology and who would sign up for a Matrixesque neural jack. See, maybe back in the day we all watched The Same Show, especially when there were only three channels to choose from. But with the advent of platforms allowing creators to generate ever more niche programming such as Youtube content and podcasts, there’s more and more of a blurring effect.
Did you know there’s a whole podcast devoted to pens? It’s called The Pen Addict.
Want a podcast that’s all about consuming new neuroscience books? Check out Brain Science.
Or maybe you like Lovecraftian horror set in a small desert town? Welcome to Nightvale is exactly that.
That’s just podcasts; we’re not counting the bewildering array of Youtube channels and the channels reacting to those channels. No kidding: entire channels are made to react to others. And if you haven’t watched some very specific stuff, you will have no idea what they’re doing.
Blurring means that as creators on the Internet reach more and more specific audiences, it gets harder — not easier — for people to connect generically. “Did you watch Markiplier’s Let’s Play of Dream Daddy?” “No, I only watched Jack Septiceye’s version, and the animated version a fan made of Jack playing a game someone else had created.”
The days of everyone watching “The Same Show” are long gone. Perhaps what the poet is seeing is the surface of the phenomenon, the blurring effect.
The blurring effect explains why mainstream media is becoming more and more generic. Mainstreamers such as Hollywood, NBC and CBS can’t possibly hope to hit niche audiences the way The Pen Addict can. There’s just not enough return on the airtime investment. Instead, the mainstream media make their stuff more and more watered-down in order to cast their net as wide as they can and gather in as many people who might sorta kinda like whatever it is.
And that explains why so many movies and shows nowadays are remakes and sequels. Not many people would go see Random CGI Dinosaur Movie, but they remember the name “Jurassic Park” and so will go see the fifth Jurassic Park movie, generic phrases, tired storyline and all.