It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in the world of the ongoing conspiracy between the nu-media and post-modern technology. The Alamo Drafthouse turned a well-known policy against texting in their theater into a 24 news cycle rallying cry, taking their clever PSA on the subject and making it the latest lamentation against ‘kids’ and their cockamamie entitlement. Then, critic emeritus Roger Ebert tweets a simple statement on the death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn and faces a soapbox backlash so great that he has to backpedal… if just a bit. In both cases, the meta nature of the current culture has turned cannibal, simultaneously feeding and eating itself in a way that suggests inevitability, or implosion.
I, for one, am ambivalent on the whole Ebert situation. I wrote a reactionary piece on the death of Dunn, and found myself genuinely moved by the outpouring of affection across the social network. I also felt a bit of apprehension, using the tragedy as a springboard for something a little more philosophical and less sympathetic. In the Twitter world, where your thoughts are severely hampered by character length and audience expectations, Ebert merely cut to his own personal chase. My interpretation of the tweet—where I first heard about Dunn’s passing, by the way—was that he was using the well known drunk driving motto with a slightly snarky reference to make a real point about the senselessness of what had happened.