Living Today With Replicant Memories

arminjar 18-17-23Via 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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  • Denise Clement

    Hey you guys see that episode of Family Guy last night? Just joking hope this is a good example of implanted memories courtesy of the mass media.

  • Simon Valentine

    yes this is bigger than one may come to the conclusion of (haha, because of ‘conclusion’, yeah, haha … but not actually).

    it’s a battleground, a playground, a farming field, a game…

    and as for a contrast, NO. in truth, i am one of a number who not only consciously strove to to achieve the enlightenment of “i can speak about whatever the hell i want to speak about”, but also have garnered some measure of “i can speak more like how i have set for myself than i could a year ago”.

    i will converse about character god damn it! anti d&d slaves slavering slaves slaved to slaves with no sense at all of psychosis and no stars to guide the sexton towards!

    *edit*
    [sic] #motif

    • http://www.macewan.org macewan

      yeah, my thoughts exactly

  • InfvoCuernos

    I was kind of hoping that I would scroll down to the comments and see a bunch of applicable movie quotes (” You are walking through the desert and you find a turtle laying on his back…”)

    • Matt Staggs

      Truth. I slipped up!

  • VaudeVillain

    By all appearances, the only thing “new” about this trend is that modern media is involved. People have been quoting things at one another through most of our history which bothers to record what people said. That what was quoted in the past might have come from scripture, or a folk song, or a well-known book does not make it inherently superior except insofar as we view such sources so.

    Most people are now, and always have been, profoundly uncreative and uninteresting. It doesn’t mean that the world is ending, it just means that most of us are trite. Hardly shocking or upsetting, really.

    • davakins

      I agree. Now, facebook takes mediocrity to a new level with it’s pre-packaged famous dead guy quotes and cause of the day images begging to be reposted. At least in the past, a person had to actually read something before they could quote it.

    • InfvoCuernos

      Good point about the scripture- reading anything from about 1970 back, you have to have some knowledge of the bible to get all the good jokes.

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