Over this (Aussie) summer, I had time on my hands. Looking for a TV show to binge, I remembered the hype about Mr Robot and gave it a look. And, yep, I am instantly hooked.
There are things I don’t like about the show (I still don’t get Tyrell’s character and his place in the plot). But there’s so much to love. The performances of actors like Malek,
Chaikin, Villar, Reuben, and Slater (so good to see him in a decent role) are at the top of the list. But there’s also this little subroutine playing in the show ‘s background that resonates with me. Here it is:
There are no heroes in this show.
There are people in the middle (who might be thought of as sheep, even the couple of genuinely decent people Elliot notes … as he continues causing them pain and stress).
There are people who champion the cause of societal change, sure, but in many ways they’re no better than the corporate sociopaths who do everything for power, wealth, attention and even more power. Because both sides are extremists. And extremists do and say anything they believe contributes to their cause. And it’s difficult to work out how much their behaviour is driven by their cause, and how much the cause justifies their enjoyment of simply being assholes. I love this aspect of the show. It so accurately mirrors life.
We are and always have been in a world that is most affected by the extremists (kind of a no-brainer, there, Pete). Social media has given extremism of all flavors the opportunity to grand stand and preach their hate of other extremists. But it’s always been there.
In Elliot’s view, I’m undoubtedly one of the sheep, one of the people in the middle who mindlessly wander through their life, giving away their IP, their data, their privacy, then try to eke out a teensy bit of pleasure and reassurance at the end of each day. I’m not an extremist. I’m Christian, but I hate fundamentalism (oh, I have another blog post brewing on that one). I’m Christian but I want to smack my Christian friends who think our Prime Minister and the US President are fine upstanding, “godly” men (their term … barf!). I’m Australian but not jingoistic about it and neither am I guilty about having been born white in a country other white people stole 180 years before I was born. I just want to live my life peacefully and bring peace to other people’s lives and I want to see justice done and inequity extinguished and wealth redistributed but, yeah, I want have a bit of fun too.
So, sure, baaaaaaa.
Just please, God, deliver me from extremism.
“So aren’t you extreme about anything, Pete? Do you have no absolutes?” Sure, I am and I do. Domestic violence? Evil. Child abuse? Evil. Abuse of power? Evil. Rape, torture, murder, stoned drivers crashing cars and killing innocent people? All evils I have zero tolerance for. Climate change? Real (I’m breathing the bushfire smoke it’s caused). Rogue One and The Rise of Skwalker? Hate those movies with all my heart (but you have the right to love them and I’m glad they brought you joy).
I respect people who have strong opinions and take a stand for them (and even use their anger as fuel to make the world better). Utterly. You aren’t the people that Mr Robot depicts (or maybe that comes in Season 2?).
I’m just sick of the self-aggrandising people with extreme views wanting other people to join their angry little crusades, puff up their egos and support their social media (or actual) progroms. Left wing, right wing, no wing, godfearing, atheist, rich people with their “trickle down” rhetoric, agitators with their “every boss is a prick” rhetoric … none of its an excuse to do wrong, none of it’s heroic.
And I’m sick of the noise.
Huzzah, Mr Robot for telling the truth.