Operator, please connect me to Pleasantville.

Too late. {click}

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

A sage cliche that’s not entirely true. As Netflix proved.


Other night I rewatched “Pleasantville.” A sort of “Back to the Future” film described thusly by imdb.com:

“Two 1990s teenagers find themselves in a 1950s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world.”

This brother and sister duo (Tobey Macguire & Reese Witherspoon) land in a TV sitcom setting. Specifically the front of a high school with a slew of students hanging about, books in their arms, chattering away.

What’s wrong with this picture?

I noticed immediately.

Not a single person is holding a cell phone!

Today, outside of rural Cambodia and the like, every student milling about in front of a school would be with heads bents and thumbs dancing across screens the size of their palms.

Not gonna turn this into a rant about cell phones — though there’s plenty of cause to, lord knows!

Rather this is to simply note how far we’ve come as a culture. Or should that read how far we’ve gone as a culture in a meteoric downward slide?

“Pleasantville” was made in 1998. Not even 20 years ago. And already it’s profoundly “dated” … weird-looking … friggin’ freakish … simply because:

People are talking to one another. Looking one another in the eye. Engaging. Interacting.

So the next time you watch a movie and are instantly struck by the question: “Whoa. What’s wrong with this picture?!”

Remember, the problem may not lie in your TV set or computer screen.

It lies in the human race.

Technology triumphs over human relations.

Finally, here’s my prediction:

People in say 70 years, they’ll be watching our present-day movies, where everyone’s holding cell phones, glued to them.

And they’ll be exclaiming the same thing I did while viewing “Pleasantville.”

“Whoa! What’s wrong with this picture!?”

What’ll be wrong with our picture will be this:

We’re carrying our cell phones.

How archaic that’ll look to our future race where cell phones will be chips embedded in the brains at birth.

Paálam*, Pleasantville (*goodbye in Tagalog). May all that you captured and stood for in human dynamics and interaction:









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