Frankenbook…

I like a good Frankenstein metaphor, and The Guardian’s recent review of Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy has a corker when summing up the story of the social media giant:

“Facebook was founded by an undergraduate with good intentions but little understanding of human nature. He thought that by creating a machine for ‘connecting’ people he might do some good for the world while also making himself some money. He wound up creating a corporate monster that is failing spectacularly at the former but succeeding brilliantly at the latter. Facebook is undermining democracy at the same time as it is making Mark Zuckerberg richer than Croesus. And it is now clear that this monster, like Dr Frankenstein’s, is beyond its creator’s control.”

Having not been on the platform myself for several years, I can honestly say that I don’t miss it. It’s not even the privacy issues that got to me (there’s no such thing as free!), it was the behaviour of people around me and their addiction to it. Apparently the stimulation it provides to the reward centre of the brain is akin to produced by sex, chocolate. Only with social media, you get endless ‘dopamine loops’ – constant itches that you have to scratch.

Yes, the monster’s out there alright. And, the irony of course is that in Shelley’s novel, what the monster craves most is the community and connection that he is constantly denied – exactly what most people seem to crave along with their neural pleasure hit.

So how do you kill the monster?

I just hope that Facebook isn’t as enduring as the the creature…

Flakensteins…

That bastion of progressive and informed thought, The Sun, has shot itself in the foot in its pursuit of ‘snowflake’ students: Snowflake students claim Frankenstein’s monster was ‘misunderstood’ — and is in fact a VICTIM.

Frankenstein1931Karloff

The NewStatesman picked up on the story today, but The Times had made the same error a few days ago (it’s behind a paywall but you get the sense of the article).

Admittedly, I’ve read Frankenstein more times than I can remember, but even on the first reading, your sympathy is with the creature and you soon realise that Victor Frankenstein is indeed the real monster of the story. It’s one of the perverse pleasures of the book – especially if you come to it from having watched the Universal and Hammer movie monsters stomping around and smashing everything. The creature is scorned, misunderstood and tortured, but he learns to read and becomes more articulate, even poetic, in describing his dreadful plight.

Was there ever a gold age when journalists were well-read and educated? It seems now that whatever suits the editorial agenda will do – and I don’t suppose too many Sun readers will bother checking the facts for themselves. If they were concerned with such things, they would read The Sun

Penny Delightful…

I’m really enjoying the new season of Penny Dreadful. Last night’s exchange between Vanessa and Caliban was particularly entertaining, particularly as his views on religion echo my own:

“I read the Bible when I was younger. Then I discovered Wordsworth. And the old parables and platitudes seemed anaemic, even unnecessary.”

He later goes on to quote Blake’s To See a World… Like the creature in Mary Shelley’s original masterpiece, he’s infinitely more human than the real monsters that surround him.

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”

The Frankenstein Theory

It looks like there is a new twist on the Frankenstein story making its way to cinemas:

It could be interesting, but I’m utterly tired of the ‘found footage’ trope used in so many horror films now. Perhaps its a budgetary thing and a way to disguise low production values?

Anyway, I’ll be happy to eat my words if it turns out to be a corker!