Class Warfare Blog

January 25, 2021

Bemoaning/Lauding the Obvious

Filed under: Culture,Entertainment — Steve Ruis @ 9:06 am
Tags: , ,

I was reading an opinion piece in which the core point was “Social media has shaped contemporary fiction, even in novels that make scant mention of it.”

Imagine, wondering why novels (and by extension, movies, videos, etc.) don’t show people engaging with social media when that activity drives much of our lives now.

Hello? Really?

Did you ever see a James Bond movie in which he laundered his clothes or even took any to a dry cleaner? How about using a credit card or buying anything not work related? Gosh do you think that was because nothing was happening during those “scenes” that would further the plot?

When people engage in social media, or as the author of this piece put it “mindless scrolling through social media,” nothing is happening . . . absolutely nothing. Sometimes you will see a text message in a scene in a movie, which is just an inaudible form of telephone speech. Otherwise, you are not going to hear or read about social media exchanges in novels and movies because they are steps removed from the actors and the actions.

This is for the same reason why you would rather speak to a loved one face-to-face rather than by phone, or by text, or by email. A person’s words are only a small percentage of the content of a message. Even video chatting or teleconferencing diminishes the quality of communication by filtering out some of the affect employed by the speakers. (Remember My Cousin Vinny and “I killed her . . .” being quoted from a transcript by a bored stenographer, containing none of the sarcasm, outrage, and incredulity that was originally employed?)

So, social media will have an impact on novels and movies, mainly by reducing the length of time people will be willing to engage with such a thing. Then their fingers will be wiping the page of the book, or screen of their TV, wanting something different to engage with. They will not suffer any lulls because if they encounter one, they will be gone.

Yeah, social media will affect novels and movies, but only by turning social media addicts to ADD-addled, instant gratification zombies.


  1. You’re absolutely right. No author or movie or television producer is going to stick anything into a story unless it is absolutely necessary. The time constraints involved in trying to tell a story in a limited amount of time are difficult enough to deal with without inserting unnecessary material.

    But whoever wrote that article obviously isn’t seeing the same material I’m watching. Asian television (China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan) show texting and email everywhere. There’s hardly a character visible on screen who doesn’t have a cell phone in her/his hand. The use of electronic communications, electronic payment systems, photography and video, all centered around the phone, is interwoven through everything and is an integral part of the interactions between characters.. Whoever wrote that piece needs to broaden his/her horizons a bit and venture outside of the North American and European markets.


    Comment by grouchyfarmer — January 25, 2021 @ 10:22 pm | Reply

    • I think she was bemoaning that they were substantively involved. Mostly they are just window dressing, laser pointers to attract the attention of cats, so to speak. I watch movies with techno-spies who are buying burner phones at a rapid clip and pulling their chips, breaking them and discarding them. Rarely is there a role for the phone, e.g. allowing a bad guy to track the owner for example. That mistake is being used so much now that it has become trite (“Give me your phone!” “Why did you throw it away?”)

      On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 10:22 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 26, 2021 @ 8:12 am | Reply

  2. Good point. Hell, defecation has been a routine part of human experience forever, but it’s a very rare work of fiction that bothers to depict a character doing it.


    Comment by Infidel753 — January 30, 2021 @ 2:36 am | Reply

    • No shit! :o)

      On Sat, Jan 30, 2021 at 2:36 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 30, 2021 @ 8:08 am | Reply

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