Via OMNI Reboot, Roy Christopher ponders whether total media saturation has programmed our memories:
In his 1999 book Culture Jam, Kalle Lasn describes a scene in which two people are embarking on a road trip and speak to each other along the way using only quotations from movies.
We’ve all felt our lived experience slip into technological mediation and representation. Based on this idea—and the rampant branding and advertising covering every visible surface— Lasn argues that our culture has inducted us into a cult. “By consensus, cult members speak a kind of corporate Esperanto,” he writes, “words and ideas sucked up from TV and advertising.”
Indeed, we quote television shows, allude to fictional characters and situations, and repeat song lyrics and slogans in everyday conversation. Lasn argues, “We have been recruited into roles and behavior patterns we did not consciously choose.” Lasn presents this scenario as if it were a nightmare. To many of us, however, it’s not only familiar—it actually sounds fun.
In Ridley Scott’s classic 1982 film Blade Runner, advanced humanoid androids, known as “Replicants,” base their “human” past on implanted memories. Their intelligence is impressive, but not grounded in a larger cognitive context. Instead, they are programmed with memories to make them feel more human.
Lasn argues that [we are] victims of culture’s corporate commodification. We’re no better than Replicants, walking around with implanted memories courtesy of the mass media, and its rampant reproduction of artifacts. To most of us, however, the sharing of memories, of cultural allusions, bonds us together and gives us a sense of belonging.
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