Pontypool

Pontypool is a city in Ontario wherein the 2009 film of the same name takes places.

The film centers around the small town morning radio show, to which recently terminated radio ‘shock jock’ Grant Mazzy has been reduced to being the morning DJ. He’s not happy, he likes to make sure the producer is unhappy along with him. For a while the film ambles around amicably, basically giving you the lay of the land, and then the moment comes when a language virus appears. It’s up to debates that I’d rather not wade into as to whether the Pontypool is a bit of very astute commentary on how what we speak determines what we are, and that we have been reprogrammed by what we hear to be told what to speak to reduce us into the insane mobs that appear often these days or whether it’s a lot of pretentious horseshit deftly woven to appear as wisdom.

It could very well be the latter but it manages to communicate the former, whether by accident or not.

The medium is the virus. That’s the reason that I chose to name this site after the film. We live in a world that assaults us every waking moment by the programming of our media. We wake up, start the coffee maker, and check some form of media. Either a TV is turned on which is showing a requisite ‘morning show’ featuring a gaggle of talking heads pre-programmed with yesterday’s topics in order to spin them into the topics for today, or we check our Facebook, or open a web-browser on a laptop and surf the news concerning whatever topic interests us.

You couldn’t force this ritual on us if you tried to do so, yet because this is how everyone else operates, we do it instinctively now. Myself, I don’t do it, but let me disabuse you of the notion that I don’t because I have a lot of discipline. I don’t do it because I’m lazy and I like to sleep right up until the moment where I bleat, ‘Oh, crap!’ and have to jump out of bed and get moving.

Back to Pontypool: in the film one knew the language virus had infected someone because they had a ‘trigger word’ they would speak repeatedly once infected. That word was the one on which the invisible entity that was driving everyone mad had latched onto for that person, and how it had infected them. Though the film was, as noted, made in 2009, the idea of a trigger word seems most appropriate today, in this insane culture we live in. Once infected, people became part of a mob of host-driven and mindless bloodlust.

If you watch the opening of the film closely, it can be argued that Grant Mazzy, DJ of the radio show in Pontypool, helped to deliver the language virus that infected the entire town (and began to subsequently infect the world, as international news organizations began carrying the story). Without the medium, the virus would have had far less chance of replicating itself and surviving. Humanity has always been crazy, but when a medium is introduced that can allow humanity to communicate instantly, as well as being instantly alerted to every event worldwide, that same humanity goes mad.

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I say that all of it is connected because that’s what I think I see, but I of course could be wrong entirely. Yet I’ve found that a day to day scenario has often been this: I drive to the gas station to get a soda and put fuel in the tank. I pay, take the pump off the rack, and suddenly a small TV fires up to tell me the weather and yesterday’s events. I try to ignore it, put the pump back into place, and get in my truck and drive away. On the way to work, the local radio station tells me the same information as the gas pump. I stop at McDonald’s to get a biscuit, because I’ve got time. News is playing on on TV, a morning show on another. In both instances, people are repeating the same information that I heard on the gas pump TV, and on the radio. I try to ignore it.

I get to work, and sit down at my desk. A coworker stops by. “Did you hear about [news story].” Of course I did. I’ve been awake for two hours now. There is no escape. I open up a browser to start work and my home page shows me the same news stories and weather information as every damned thing else.

So is it connected? Or is coincidence such a stretched thing?

The medium is the virus. Every move, every gesture, every scripted line. It’s all to program us into thinking as the proverbial ‘they’ want us to think; which means, of course, that ‘they’ don’t want us to think at all. It’s almost pathetic, in a way. The whole thing is so predictable and farcical, and I think that may be what makes it all so tough to dig one’s teeth into: you’d think that we could understand what’s happening to us. You’d think that humanity, given its collective achievements, could see past the lie of it all and just shut the whole thing off.

But it’s as Agent K said in Men in Black: “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky animals and you know it.”

Do you like being ‘handled?’ Do you enjoy being manipulated each and every day by everything you hear and see? I know I sure as hell don’t. But it’s like anything else: once the obvious becomes just that, we can step back and observe with some distance. We can enjoy the forms of media we want, recognizing each moment that these things try and program us, and be inoculated from the madness.  And the recognition of the whole, insulting thing allows us to know when to shut it all off, and ignore it.

Evil is narcissistic. The best way to deal with a narcissist is to just flat-out ignore it as often as possible.

 

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