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Category Archives: COMMENTARYImage
Screen-Free Week is about whether you’re able to go for a full week without using any electronic devices that have screens. This year, it’s being held from may 2nd to 8th. Basically, we’re talking about anything from smartphones, tablets, televisions, consoles, to computers and laptops. The numeral display on your microwave gets a pass.
I’ve participated twice in the exercise so far:
And I have to say I have mixed feelings about it. Sure, media addiction is a real problem. People spend a ridiculous amount of time every day being absolutely fixated to flickering screens, so much so that they don’t notice the real world happening live, right in front of them. So it makes sense to have a media awareness campaign that dares to ask people to look at whether or not their media consumption is balanced or not.
On the flip side though, as someone who’s participated in the challenge twice, I have to say that going a whole week without any means of contacting people digitally can be little harsh. If you happen to be isolated and you don’t have many, or any, people in your life that you can spend time with in person. Because, let’s say you came out to your friends and family and ended up alone. Then Screen-Free Week can be a bit of a tall order. In reality, it’s like asking someone to go without any human contact for a week. For outcast queer people like me, sometimes communicating digitally is the only type of socializing that we have access to.
It seems to me that the same people who preach about returning to more down-to-earth traditional values, and cutting off contact with technology, are the same people who exclude people who don’t fit the mold, from their communities. So you can’t really blame us if we become addicted to our electronic devices afterwards. Your communities are barred to us.
There’s plenty of games out there that give us the option to take in-game photos ( screenshots really ), but I never get around to bother. Yet somehow, when it’s related to the accompanying image that goes with a save file, I’m all into it. I go to great lenghts to find a proper subject, I take my time setting up the shot.
My habit might seem like an unusual idiosyncrasy. But I find that using distinctive images makes it easier to find my way around multiple save files, compared to searching with date and time alone. Also being a visual artist, I can’t resist the option to express my personality using visual means.
What I wonder is whether this an idiosyncrasy shared by other gamers, or whether I’m the only one with this obsession.
First off, I’d like to congratulate Netflix on adding sex-reassignment surgery as one of the health benefits they offer to their employees. That is really awesome of them to do so.
But that leaves the question of what is it they’re offering in terms of search options, to their users that are trans? Finding movies and tv shows that relate to trans-identity on netflix, is a pain. There’s a section for gays and lesbians, and that’s great for them, but there’s nothing for us. Trans related content shows up in various other categories, and it’s being left to us to go on an archeological search to dig up their hidden treasures. Are they ashamed of us?
To me it doesn’t make sense. On top of the few dozens of trans related movies and tv shows they already have listed, they also produce original content with amazingly well-written trans, and gender non-conforming characters ( Sense8, Knights of Sidonia, Orange is the new black ). Don’t they want to keep us as customers? And if so, wouldn’t it make sense that they add a category that makes it easy for us to find the content we’re looking for?
What do you think? Feel free to vote on the poll below or to write your opinion in the comment section.
NATNOTE: If we manage to get 50 votes in favor, I’ll make sure to forward this article to netflix. So be sure to vote and share accordingly. ^_^
NATNOTE: The candidate in this comic strip was rendered as genderqueer in order to be more reflective of the electorate.
SCREEN-FREE WEEK is from may 5th to the 11th this year, and I intend to take another stab at it. Media addiction is real, and in some extreme cases, it can ruin careers, relationship and even families. I’m not advocating for people to go out and smash their TV’s to bits in their driveways. But what I’d like to do, is have a dialogue on the subject.
It’s a good idea to be aware of how much time per week, that we’re spending just sitting there being idle, just absorbing screen-fed, infotainment content, like some digital baby being fed virtual nourishment.
Over-consumption of media is like a run-on sentence. Something that starts off feeling good, but drags on for so long that it might end up making you feel nauseous. Throughout my life, I have binged on media. Whether it was watching 8-9 hours of tv a day, everyday, as a kid. Or playing some 10-12 hours of video games in a row, during the weekend as an adult. Great storytelling has a tendency to grab me and not let go. And I’m not the only one out there. Left and right, I’m hearing stories of people doing some time travel after getting Netflix, or some other streaming service. It’s early afternoon, they start off watching an episode of a tv series that ends up being better than anticipated, and next thing you know, it’s now late at night. Time-travel in action.
I’m not going to go entirely offline and screen-free during that week, because realistically, I have no control over what content I’m shown at class. What I am planning to do, is to seriously reduce the amount of digital media I devour. I’m not going to play video games, or watch movies or tv shows, or surf the web for a week. But also have to be realistic, I am going to answer my cell if it rings, and I am going to check my emails quickly everyday, since I am job-hunting.
To me, SCREEN-FREE WEEK isn’t about being media-abstinent as a show of willpower. It’s about meditating on how much of our personal time we’re willing to give to absorbing other people’s stories, and how much we’re willing to invest in living out own lives, and in the process, living out our own stories.
-UPDATED May 13th :
I may have fumbled a few times ( I played some ps3 ), but I consider my SCREEN-FREE WEEK as at least, a moderate success. It was hard not to watch any tv shows & movies. Not being able to surf the web and check facebook made me feel disconnected at first. But then it felt great to have all that extra time to work on my projects, and to go outside. ^_^