Charlie Brooker, malcontent extraordinaire, in 2011 produced a miniseries called Black Mirror that considers society’s relationship with technology. In the first episode, “The National Anthem,” someone kidnaps a royal socialite and demands as ransom that the prime minister fuck a pig on public television. They play it completely straight. The second, “15 Million Merits,” takes place in a world in which people peddle on stationary bikes all day to earn an imaginary currency called “merits” while they scroll through an endless array of inane shows, games, and virtual accessories. The last episode, “The Entire History of You,” features an implant that records your every audial/visual experience, allowing you to replay everything that’s ever happened to you.
I’m going to talk for a bit about “15 Million Merits,” and there will be spoilers.