By: Dan Abramson
1. Not Being Able to Watch Instantly on Netflix Means You'll Never Watch It
There was once a time when if we wanted to see a movie at home, we'd have to go to the video store. (If this article is read in twenty years, let me clarify: a video store was a public location that lent rectangular objects that happened to contain movies you desperately wanted to see for a few dollars under the condition that you bring it back in three days. You then put that rectangular object into a machine that displayed it on a TV.)
Alas, today we're blessed with instant streaming. So many movies at our fingertips. It's amazing. But it's created a problem no one ever expected: By getting used to the immediate gratification of watching an entire season of Spaceballs: The Animated Series, you eschew great movies and TV shows just because they're not available the moment you realize you want to watch it. I've never seen The Wire. I know, right? Shiiiiiiiiiiiiit. (I'm told that's something people in Baltimore say.) But that's only because the idea of waiting three days for Netflix to ship it to me feels like an eternity. And if The Wire or many of the greatest films ever made never make it to my magic movie-streaming machine, there's a good chance I'll never see them. Sorry, Cool Hand Luke, maybe if you stopped being such a classic film Netflix would give you to me.
2. As a Consequence, We're Forced to Watch Shitty Movies Under the Impression They're Worth Watching
Here's a movie that's not available for Instant Streaming: Casablanca. Here's a movie that is: Biodome. Which movie have I seen? We all know the answer to that. If the Oscars were given out based on what movies people had gotten around to watching, Pauly Shore would most likely have to buy a new house to fit all his trophies.
3. We Know Everything, So We Know Nothing
Quick: Who directed Summer School? Yes, Mark Harmon starred in it. We all learned that while we watched it a million times on TBS in the 90s. But who directed it? Go ahead and look it up on the Internets. Comedy legend Carl Reiner directed it. Now, feel free to refer to this article next time Summer School pops up on HBO 18 and you're all like “Who directed this?” That that will happen, since the availability of every piece of information you could ever ask for has negated the need for anyone to retain anything. And not just Summer School trivia — other, arguably more important stuff. Stuff that I'm not even able make a passing reference to because we are now the dumbest we've ever been. We just happen to be luckily enough to carry an almanac of the world's secrets in our pockets.
BUT, if the info we're looking for is not on sites like Wikipedia, you…
4. FREAK OUT When You Realize You Have No Idea How to Research Something
Well, first actually, the moment you realize it's not on Wikipedia, you're hit with an existential problem: If it's not commented on by someone already on the internet, is it real? Do I even exist? Once that philosphical dilemma passes due our nonexistent attention spans, you come to terms with the fact that if you'd like to know more about a specific topic, you'll actually have to research it.
But who knows how to research anything anymore? Children of the past, that's who. You know who would nail whatever research project you've created for yourself? The 7th grade version of you That seventh grader knew how to work that library (gurrl). Microfiche? All. Over. It. Dewey Decimal? Actually a logical, easy to handle system of finding books. That project would be handed in on Monday. Boom. Game Over. Today, here's you walking into a library:
5. You Know Everything About Everyone You Ever Met. BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER.
With Facebook, you know that the girl you sat next to in second grade got married and looked beautiful. But it doesn't matter. If anything, it's annoying that this long-lost companion who you'd never otherwise maintain contact with is not only living her life, but SHOVING IT DOWN YOUR THROAT. Previous generations hired private investigators to hunt down former girlfriends and childhood companions. There was a whole movie based on it with Ben Stiller where he hired a PI and then ejaculated on some nice lady's hair. And America loved it. That movie does not make any sense any more. That character would have friended her the moment Justin Timberlake said “Billions of dollars.” We have completely lost touch with the reality that maintaining contact with humans used to be a vital need, something that brought joy. Now we get pissed off if our best friend uploads pictures of their lunch. Speaking of which, we don't need to see your lunch. Please stop doing that.
6. We Have the Ability To Videochat, But If It's Pixelated, We Want Nothing To Do With it
Of all the advances we've made, videochatting is likely the one that would actually explode the brains of our grandparents. You know how your grandma would correspond with her husband who was fighting actual Nazis? She'd write him letters and never know if he received them. And if those those hand written sexts made it, it took so long that he was already back in America, buying up real estate in Long Island.
Meanwhile, we can actually see and talk to our loved ones on our computer. ‘ But the moment the internet connection slows, we throw our arms up in outrage. “I can't. I just can't deal with this. Get a faster internet,” we scream at the pixelated person on the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD.
On the Other Hand ‘? ‘
We can spend hundreds of billions of dollars on big budget movies that take years to produce and NONE OF THEM will be as entertaining as this GIF:
So perhaps it's a wash.