Black Mirror “The National Anthem” review
Black Mirror is a series made up of many disconnected single episodes in which it brilliantly captures the society’s relationship with technologies, and some reoccurring morality issues in these societies. “The National Anthem” is one of the episodes in Black Mirror. In this episode, the plot is simple: A royal member is held hostage, and the prime minister must have sexual intercourse with a pig on live television in exchange for the princess’s freedom. The episode revolves around the prime minister and his team’s attempt to outsmart the terrorist but are constantly interrupted by the media.
This episode criticized certain practices that can potentially be a dystopian practice such as the freedom of the news reporters. The freedom of press can potentially turn against society when censorship is needed. In this instance, during one of the secret operation in extracting the princess from the terrorist, a news reporter obtains information of the location operation. She then went to the scene and reported live on the operation which ultimately exposing the operation. It turns out that the terrorist knew about the operation and was able to escape with the hostage. The terrorist then cut off supposedly the princess finger and delivered it to the prime minister demanding, the prime minister’s “performance” on live television. It is understandable that the news report has the right to provide a sense of the transparency to the public, but somehow neglected the severity of the situation, which resulted in severe consequences. In the current society, the news stations are very competitive of one another, which often led to news reporters going through extremes just to obtain the news before any other news reporters. In this episode, the producer showed that in extreme cases, new reporters would eventually failed to reason, and consider the severity of the situation before trying to act upon it.
Another thing that particular dystopian that was discussed was the use of social media such as twitter, Facebook, and etc. In the prime minister’s last attempt to outsmart the terrorist, the plan was posted online by one of the cameraman that was on the set. Many users then quickly reposted this post and soon it was all over the Internet. The terrorist saw this and was outraged. He then threatens the prime minister again. Running out of option, the prime minister agrees to the terrorist’s request. This is scene was also very similar to people neglecting the severity of the situation, which exposed the plan and resulted in severe consequences. It is unsettling to see that people are not considering consequences before posting something online. The society is transparent in a negative way. This reminds me of the book 1984 in which everything is so transparent, and no one can be fully trusted. There are eyes everywhere and news can be spread rapidly. One can’t never tell, if another before is their comrade or conspiring with the enemies.
Lastly, the producer tries to criticize the progression of art, and the definition of art. The terrorist refers this event as his last work of art, his ultimate art piece. In this, it can be seen that the producer is trying to criticize how certain artist will go through extreme to produce their best piece of art. Although the princess was unharmed and was release moments before the prime minister’s performance, damage was done to the society. The definition of art is always changing and whatever one refers as art can be defined as art. In this case, terrorist making the prime minister having sexual intercourse with an animal is art to him; therefore he went to the extreme to finish his last piece. Overall, art can take in any forms. And when one expresses their creativity to the extreme, it can cause chaos to the society that we live in.
In this episode of Black Mirror, we can see that the abusive use of social media can bring chaos to the society. If social media were use responsibility, we can avoid many conflicts, but when one fail to recognize the importance of not sharing certain information to the public conflicts can occur. Also it is very hard to regulate the social media since it spreads too fast and uncontrollably. One creativity, may also bring disruption to the society, if express to the extreme, it can break certain moral values that we holds.