Lion of the Blogosphere

Black Mirror S04E01 “USS Callister”

This episode is available on Netflix. Black Mirror is a Twilight Zone type of series, so you can just watch any episode that you want in any order. This is the first episode that I’ve watched, but it seems like as good of an entry point as any.

I very much enjoyed the episode, it being a delightful blend of a parody of Star Trek the original series, dystopian futures, and beta males. Enjoyable as long as you don’t think too deeply about the “science” aspects of the science fiction.

But upon deeper reflection…

SPOILERS AHEAD

… on deeper reflection, I really don’t like the message of this episode. Beta-male Silicon Valley geeks are shown to, deep down, be bad people and not nice guys. The message is that women are justified to hate them.

And the only person smart enough to save everyone is the cute girl. The supposedly more technical males, even the Indian software engineer, needed a girl to save them. After they are free from the angry beta male, the cute girl becomes the captain of the ship.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Television

56 Responses

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  1. OT: Sorry to hijack the thread, but I found this very interesting comment at Vox Day by Ken Prescott.

    The marijuana kerfluffle is the first countermove against sanctuary state.

    Almost everyone thinks that Silicon Valley or Hollywood is the big power in this state. And almost everyone would be wrong.

    Commercial real estate is the power. They have used that power ruthlessly. They destroyed an entire financial sector–practically every savings & loan/thrift association–to avoid the consequences of overbuilding in the 1970s and 1980s, and they got draconian land use policies in place in the 1990s and 2000s to close out possible disruption from outsiders.

    They LIKE having a single party in Sacramento. They only have to keep one small group of political elites happy & funded instead of two.

    But now they’re looking at whole chunks of their portfolios being at risk of seizure by the DEA–including commercial office buildings as Big Weed begins to emerge.

    Sanctuary state is opening fire on Fort Sumter. Going after “legal” weed is the Federal blockade of Southron trade.

    Either the Democrats repeal sanctuary state (which may be politically impossible), or the commercial real estate sector will see to it that the Democrats get removed.

    (Given an existential threat from the people who can make or break the California economy, the Democrats MIGHT be able to undo sanctuary state and become born-again Trumpistas. This would be endlessly amusing to watch, if it could happen. But, given the YUGE number of gammas in Democrat leadership, it’s not the way to bet.)

    map

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Vox Day wants me, my whole family, a lot of the people I’ve liked, a lot of people I’ve learned from, half of the commenters here, to be righteously slaughtered. He would kill us with fire, with electricity, with nooses, with gas, with bullets. Two hundred and fifty thousand murdered Jews might satisfy him, but I’m not sure that it would. (I look at his blog-posts and the comments there every day. His commenters are drooling murder-groupies.)
      “But he’s never explicitly said so!”
      No, he’s never explicitly said so, but he explicitly depicts Jews as the agents and administrators of an organized global child-molestation cult, molesting children in adoration of literal demons. What do you think he wants, then?

      Garr

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

      • To be a big fish in a small pond. A few months back Vox picked a fight with Anglin and The Daily Stormer. The Stormer trolls started insulting him on Gab and Vox started demanding that Andrew Torba remove the posts. When Torba refused, Vox started attacking Gab and he had his lawyer fanboys take legal action against the trolls. Vox ended up looking like a big crybaby.

        Even though he’s weird, I’d like him up until then. I still read him occasionally, but less and less. Now that his alt-right credibility has taken a hit, he seems to be pandering more and more to the Infowars crowd and he’s intensely focused on pedophile rings.

        Horace Pinker

        January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Garr,

        None of that is true.

        map

        January 7, 2018 at EDT am

      • And, frankly, I don;t see what the complaint is. Anti-leftism is the core ideology of the alt-right. What difference does it make if the lefty takes a Gentile or Jewish form?

        map

        January 7, 2018 at EDT am

      • (response to map is in the wrong place, under Otis’s comment below)

        Garr

        January 7, 2018 at EDT am

      • “he explicitly depicts Jews as the agents and administrators of an organized global child-molestation cult”

        You did not claim that this accuasation is false. I respect your honesty. I also respect your standing up in defense of your fellow tribe membes, no matter what the circumstances.

        Toad

        January 7, 2018 at EDT am

      • This digression Jews has nothing to do with this TV show, please stop talking about this topic.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 7, 2018 at EDT am

    • that is a very interesting comment, although I think it vastly overstates the power of commercial real estate in CA.

      There is no question, however, that Sessions is using weed as a bludgeon against CA. I’m not sure how effective it will be but even if it is supremely effective the Dems will never, EVER compromise on immigration.

      Remember how after 2012 all the libshits were saying that the GOP would have to start openly endorsing white genocide or face extinction? But that was never going to happen because the GOP base simply wouldn’t have allowed it.

      Now we are seeing some people on the right talking about the Dems dropping their commitment to white genocide as a means to get back in power. Well guess what? This isn’t 1991 and Dem primary voters would chew up and spit out any Dem candidate who dared to oppose white genocide.

      The GOP could never adopt white genocide because there simply would be no point in voting for a white genocide supporting GOP. Now go and read Vox, DKos, WaPo, NYT and ResetEra and you will see that libshits feel the same way in reverse: if the Dems aren’t going to push for white genocide, then what exactly is even the point of electing them?

      Otis the Sweaty

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

      • map, all of that is true. You’re honestly asking what difference it makes? Well, I guess I should have put a “the” before “Jews”; but then the “explicitly” must be reduced to “all-but-explicitly”, as the implication is so forceful that only someone devoid of imagination could miss it:

        He all-but-explicitly depicts THE Jews as the agents and administrators of an organized global child-molestation cult, molesting children in adoration of literal demons.

        Now, if you believed that a mutant para-human species semi-fused into an organic mass by telepathic tendrils was operating a global demon-worshiping child-molestation cult, what response from the rugged individualistic Men of the West would you recommend? That’s the response that Vox Day seeks.

        Garr

        January 7, 2018 at EDT am

    • If you are going to take VD’s anti semitism seriously then you have to take all his other eccentric stuff seriously. The dude is just a weirdo, read him for what he is.

      It isn’t like he is a total scumbag piece of shit like Steve Sailer. Atl east VD comes out and says what he believe like a man. That faggot Steve just passive aggressively “notices” things. Fuck Steve Sailer.

      Otis the Sweaty

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • There’s so many empty retail storefronts all across the West Coast that the number filled by marijuana stores is negligible. If the commercial retail powers that be had the muscle to take out a real enemy it would have been Amazon.

      Curles

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  2. “And the only person smart enough to save everyone is the cute girl.” Of course!

    CamelCaseRob

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  3. I hope that nice girl brought some soap, deodorant and cologne to keep the indian software engineer smelling better.

    Vincent

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  4. It would be okay to pretend that a consistently, reliably nice cute girl is the boss, though. That’s why in Justice League when Wonder Woman says “Batman wants me to be the leader” nobody objects. (She does say something like that, doesn’t she, and nobody objects?)

    Garr

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  5. Btw, how is Star Trek Discovery?

    map

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  6. It was created by Charlie Brooker, who is a really funny, witty comedian / social commentator, but a leftie. Before I was fully red pilled on hbd and dysgenics, I thought he was just about the funniest and wittiest guy out there. Now rewatching a lot of his comedy and commentary, I find him to be a little bit arrogant and condescending, but still entertaining.

    The best episodes to watch from the earlier seasons are “the entire history of you” and “white christmas”. The one called “Waldo moment” is a thinly veiled snear at Trump and his supporters.

    DataExplorer

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • I agree. I consider Charlie Brooker politically clueless but respect the guy’s ability to write a clever plot twist.

      Based on when it originally aired, I don’t think “The Waldo Moment” was inspired by Trump.

      Jokah Macpherson

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  7. Regarding the Callisto episode: It is entirely plausible that the awkward autistic computer geek could be some sadistic asshole deep down. Look at how twisted Eliot Rogers was. And the super confident alpha guy was also portrayed as an asshole too. So that did not bother me. The only part of the episode that seemed really inplausible was that the super hot heroine was interning as a highly skilled coder and cubicle drone. Girls that attractive and outgoing rarely go into that line of work and be so keen about it.

    DataExplorer

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • I’ve mentioned here before – there was a hired gun at a place I frequented that was a Comp Sci major and at least as hot as Cristin Milioti. So it’s not completely implausible, but I agree, I doubt she’d be so passionate about it.

      Jokah Macpherson

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  8. Black Mirror is my favorite TV series. I had pretty similar thoughts as you regarding the villain in “USS Callister”. The beta male is an outright sociopath yet he acts like a pitiful, timid doormat in the real world. Although (from what I’ve heard) sociopaths are good at putting on a front in the short term, their darker side tends to show up pretty quickly, so it’s not very plausible that this guy could consistently appear so meek and pathetic in the real world while gleefully slaughtering little kids in the virtual one.

    I checked a few reviews to see if anyone else had the same thoughts, and naturally, virtually no one did outside of your blog. It was all rah rah disturbing allegory for entitled men harassing women in the workplace.

    In real life, virtually 100% of people like the villain are exactly what they appear to be: nice but unassertive men who used but not appreciated by society.

    Jokah Macpherson

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • In real life, virtually 100% of people like the villain are exactly what they appear to be: nice but unassertive men who used but not appreciated by society.

      So was he in “real life”. In real life, everyone has constraints on their behavior. The episode explored what he was like in a virtual world he had created, where there were no constraints on him.

      Before you consider it an attack on beta males, ask yourself if anyone else at the office would have behaved better given similar power (And no, the girl didn’t have similar power at the end. No one did.).

      David Pinsen

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

      • That does raise the issue of whether the characters he created were “real”. I mean, we’ve all trashed our civilization with an earthquake and shot innocents in the back of the head in video games without feeling bad about it. But the technology of re-creating a person’s entire mind and memories from a saliva swab was so far into fantasy that I think the episode expects us to take their realness as a given.

        Since the beta male villain is from the real world originally, he should have either absorbed norms that prevent him from acting like an amoral asshole (basically, he has a conscience), or else be is some kind of sociopath that is incapable of doing so. But we don’t get either of these. Instead the character is binary: completely assertive and uncaring as the Captain Kirk-type character and meek and nonthreatening in his real world job. None of his personality interacting with, say, his boss bleeds from one world to the other in either direction, and I just find that kind of implausible.

        But yes, I don’t think anyone else at the office would have behaved that cruelly if they wielded similar power. Even if they had no reason to fear the judgment of others, they would still have their own self-judgment to keep their behavior in check.

        Jokah Macpherson

        January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

      • “Before you consider it an attack on beta males, ask yourself if anyone else at the office would have behaved better given similar power ”

        Well would they have made an episode where the cute “girl next door” is actually a sadistic psychopath in her fantasy world? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s a lot less common for television shows to portray a woman, especially an attractive woman, in a negative light. Even when they make her a femme fatale, they will usually make her a bit sympathetic.

        fortaleza84

        January 7, 2018 at EDT am

      • That’s why I didn’t consider the episode an attack on beta males. Almost anyone would abuse their power if they were basically god-like, and you knew the characters you tortured were not “real.” Anyone who has ever played a shoot’em up game has committed war crimes. So, the guy is no more a psychopath than the average gamer.

        Mike Street Station

        January 7, 2018 at EDT pm

  9. I’m not a professional software engineer, so someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure “I really love your code!” has never been spoken by a woman as hot as Cristin Milioti to a man as pathetic as the beta male villain. Never mind taking a new job based solely on the basis of how much you like some guy’s code.

    Jokah Macpherson

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • She’s not all that hot though. She has a James Damore face.

      Dain

      January 9, 2018 at EDT am

  10. Other Black Mirror episodes I recommend:

    White Christmas
    Hated in the Nation
    Nosedive (has Ron Howard’s cute daughter!)

    Also, “Men Against Fire” is probably the worst episode from a production standpoint but is interesting in that it was likely intended as an allegory for evil rightists who hate diversity but actually does a better job at depicting how Democrats view Trump supporters.

    MSM entertainment reviewers seem to think “San Junipero” was the best episode but I think it’s kind of dumb. It has a lesbian romance and, unless I misinterpreted it, more or less reaches the conclusion that virtual worlds are superior to real life.

    Jokah Macpherson

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • 15 million credits was a good episode. A dystopia in which people endlesssly cycle on exercise bikes in order to gain credits for a chance at fame through appearing on an x factor type talent show. It’s an odd kind of dystopia because it focuses more on a kind of soft totalitarianism through consumerism and celebrity culture rather than though hard politics, but I think that makes it all the more compelling and 21st century.

      Charlie Brooker presented News Wipe and Screen Wipe a few years ago in Britain. Even though he is a leftie his obsevations and skewering of television and news show conventions was inspired. His TV and game reviews in the Guardian were also excellent, but they have dated as the style has become stand up comedy cliche. It’s all ‘watching this programme made me want to stick white hot skewers in my eyes’ kind of stuff. It’s the kind of humour that a lof of left wing British of a certain age people will use in their facebook posts to sound edgy.

      Charlie himself is a rare product of Quakerism and went to a Quaker school as a child. So it’s no surprise that he should have grown up to be left wing.

      prolier than thou

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  11. One more thought about the beta male villain: the virtual world he rules is sexless. This dude would have to be pretty freaking repressed to not want some from the female leads when there is nothing stopping him. I mean, isn’t that the main point of having a holodeck? I think it’s a combination of…

    1) Poking fun at Star Trek seldom or never depicting the holodeck actually being used this way, and

    2) A general trend in fiction to make villains relatively asexual. Even the most cold, transactional sex imaginable still involves ascribing value to someone else, so it tends to humanize characters. Therefore, making them uninterested in sex is a cheap literary trick to make them unsympathetic. In real life, even ruthless dictators usually have wives and families that they care about.

    Jokah Macpherson

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • 1) Poking fun at Star Trek seldom or never depicting the holodeck actually being used this way

      The Star Trek series sent up in USS Callister is the original series, which didn’t have a holodeck.

      2) A general trend in fiction to make villains relatively asexual.

      First I’ve heard of this trend. Are you sure you didn’t make it up? Human villains in fiction often lust after innocent girls.

      David Pinsen

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

      • 1) You’re right, my bad. I was just thinking of Star Trek in general rather than TOS.
        2) Trend is probably a poor word choice. I don’t think it’s increasing over time or anything. It just seems to me that villains exhibit little or no interest in sex more than random chance would dictate, especially in simpler story lines. Contrast with the hero pretty much always having a romantic counterpart they win as part of the dramatic story arc. Think of, say, Darth Vader being all lovey dovey with Natalie Portman before becoming evil, after which he never really seems sexual at all even though as 2nd in command of the galactic empire he could probably find a date if he wanted.

        Jokah Macpherson

        January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Elliot Rodger envisioned a sexless world, rather than one in which he was the top alpha having sex with all the girls.

      Hermes

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Making the virtual world sexless was the best way to keep the episode from degenerating into a porno. He had a specific fantasy that he wanted to fulfill in that world, that of a swashbuckling space hero, but no doubt he had servers filled with other harem type scenarios.

      Mike Street Station

      January 7, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Yeah, it’s got to be interesting. The harem scenario wouldn’t have been.

        David Pinsen

        January 7, 2018 at EDT pm

  12. This episode isn’t a good entry point to the series Black Mirror, because it’s one of the 12 new Netflix episodes (seasons 3 and 4) rather than one of the 7 episodes from the series’ original, British run.

    For that matter, the series has varied wildly in quality from episode to episode from the beginning. Of the original 7 episodes, there were two excellent ones (15 Million Merits and White Christmas), one good one (The Entire History of You), one fairly good one (Be Right Back), one that was alright (White Bear), and two that were dreadful (National Anthem and The Waldo Moment). The average quality of the new seasons is much lower than the average quality of these earlier episodes.

    The best place to start would be the second episode (Season 1), 15 Million Merits, as not only is it one of the two best episodes, but the ideas it explores are closest to the subjects pondered over in this blog.

    D.

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

    • I guess the 15 million merits episode is pretty good, but seeing as Charlie Brooker has spent most of his career mocking reality tv, the themes of that episode are not really that original, especially for him.

      DataExplorer

      January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

      • ” seeing as Charlie Brooker has spent most of his career mocking reality tv, the themes of that episode are not really that original, especially for him”

        The main character who finds fame by storming onto the talent show stage and threatening to kill himself because of the shallowness of it all, and then ends up being given his own show playing that character is obviously Charlie Brooker satirising his whole career.

        Spoiler alert by the way.

        prolier than thou

        January 7, 2018 at EDT am

      • Though the episode does spoof reality TV shows (specifically American Idol, or rather the British equivalent), the relevance to this blog is that it depicts a post-scarcity society where the only way for members of the masses to better themselves is to become part of the entertainment elite serving as a time-wasting distraction. Meanwhile, the bike-pedalling masses engage in pointless exercise to earn “merits” that are nearly useless, while looking down on the lowest rung of society: the small number of janitors, who appear to be the only ones engaging in the only productive, non-entertainment activity.

        D.

        January 7, 2018 at EDT pm

  13. Big spoilers in this comment.

    I hadn’t considered the “geeks are bad guys” angle, but I disagree. Captain Daly remained somewhat sympathetic right up till the point where he killed Jimmi Simpson’s kid. Simpson’s character basically said that to Daly right before he killed himself to save the rest of the crew. Daly was under appreciated and treated like crap, but that’s no reason to go around murdering conscious virtual children.

    The grrl power stuff was mildly annoying, but I had an easy enough time overlooking it. Black Mirror can be much more in-your-face with PC crap. The one part that really made me cringe was the “he stole my pussy!” line.

    Horace Pinker

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  14. interesting: Mutiny on the Bounty has been nominated for best picture twice. in 1935 and in 1962.

    i still control zimbabwe with my mind.

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  15. both siskel and ebert though it one of the best of 1981. ebert ranked it in his top 10.

    How to be an Alpha or American Gigolo is the single most underappreciated movie. it’s also the single most homophobic and misogynistic movie ever made.

    i still control zimbabwe with my mind.

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  16. problem is i don’t know what lion’s seen and hasn’t.

    on class in america there’s People Like Us and The American Ruling Class, the former with paul fussell and the latter with lewis lapham.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362022/
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455906/?ref_=nv_sr_1

    there still is genuine anti-semitism in america among the rich who can afford it, heirs. it’s the ultimate luxury good and the ultimate inferior good at the same time.

    stop being a lolcow!

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  17. Hey Lion, check out Sailer’s opening paragraph:

    My impression of a trip to New York City is that it can be a lot of fun if you don’t mind handing somebody a $20 bill every ten or twelve minutes. For example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art suggests that you pay $25 per adult for admission, although you can pay less if you feel justified.

    vipltd

    January 6, 2018 at EDT pm

  18. It’s happening

    IHTG

    January 7, 2018 at EDT am

  19. “Beta-male Silicon Valley geeks are shown to, deep down, be bad people and not nice guys. The message is that women are justified to hate them.”

    You never commented on the “Cat Person” New Yorker short story that went viral, but it does the same thing. Makes a beta guy into a “sexist” with a ham-fisted tacked-on ending so he is obviously the Bad Guy in a story that otherwise would not have a moral, just a drunk girl who initiates sex with an older loser and immediately regrets it.

    The movie Reality Bites uses the same sleight of hand: Women really want sexy alpha guys because they are secret Good Guys, and they really avoid unsexy losers because they are secret Bad Guys. It’s a Win-Win hamster permission slip, and the ‘Cat Person’ lady is going straight to the bank with it.

    Jorge Class

    January 7, 2018 at EDT am

    • I tried to read “Cat Person” but couldn’t get through it.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 7, 2018 at EDT am

      • You must have serious ADD if you couldn’t finish that story.

        David Pinsen

        January 7, 2018 at EDT pm

    • I haven’t read that story, but I agree there is quite a lot of hostility towards the sexuality of men who are not at the top of the pyramid. So of course people like to cast such men as potential rapists when in reality a lot of them – perhaps the vast majority — just want to be mutually desired and would not be psychologically capable of raping a woman.

      fortaleza84

      January 7, 2018 at EDT pm

  20. Meh, another what libertarians call the far-leftist switcheroo. You can’t judge people by their internal fantasies and thoughts but by if they think as Plato said, but that’s what the left wants to do: criminalize opinion.

    So the guy is blamed for not immediately adjusting to his fantasy characters being (doubtfully) somehow sentient so the far-left can smuggle in opinion/thinking equivalence and brainwash us with a switch of the meanings.

    What Orwell called blaming people for ‘Wrongthink’…

    Robert

    January 7, 2018 at EDT am

    • The show didn’t do enough to establish either the higher sentience and suffering of the AI in the ‘psychopathic’ part of the video game compared to that in the regular part or that the villain even treated his AI characters in a way that was particularly outlandish or unusual.

      What worked about it was recreating stupid TV scifi logic and story lines with a new twist. I personally really don’t like Star Trek style technogibberish plot points (and holes) though.

      Magnavox

      January 7, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Is having a sadistic fantasy life a sufficient reason to put someone in a coma? Because that is what the story urges. If that is the case then there are a lot of video gamers (and TV screenwriters) who need to be rendered comatose.

        Comic Book Nerd

        January 7, 2018 at EDT pm

  21. The gist of this story is that your local nice-guy white-guy IT-guy is probably a closet psychopath, and a coalition of the fringes lead by a clever white girl (pace Hillary Clinton) is necessary to overthrow his orange-haired hegemony.

    A subtext of the story is that nursing grievances against micoagressions is dangerously pathological (pace Donald Trump). All of the co-workers consigned to Robert Daly’s interstellar hell are there because they microagressed against him in some way. Who wants to be like Robert Daly?

    The story would have been better if the last three minutes were cut off. The multicultural crew of the hijacked Callister fly bravely into a black hole. Robert Daly is left to lead his unhappy life. The end. The rest is just a Hollywood happy ending tacked on. Unconvincing, and very much unlike other Black Mirror endings.

    Comic Book Nerd

    January 7, 2018 at EDT pm

  22. Sort of off-topic, but I’m going to take advantage of the informality of your comments section to voice a grammar complaint. (I speak as a longtime professional copy editor.) You wrote, “This is the first episode that I’ve watched, but it seems like as good of an entry point as any.” NO NO NO. Granted, thousands of people speak this way every day and write it online, but it’s wrong. You don’t want “of” after “good.” (As for “like,” well, that’s another story.) You should have said, “…seems as good an entry point as any.”

    Simon

    January 8, 2018 at EDT am

  23. Cute girl liked the villain at first because she’s a geek too and appreciates code. But then he had to go and be evil.

    Dain

    January 9, 2018 at EDT am


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