Collective Distraction

I have recently discovered the vile rabbit hole that is the streaming services, and I must say that my 90’s sensibility is shookedth. For years I’ve resisted using my credit card even for “free trials”, but Senor Sonny Balwani Holmes (who has also lent me a Netflix account before) has regaled me with stories of fun, adventure, excess, and sexual debauchery awaiting me in these brand new multiverses. Back in the day, passing around hard drives to copy contraband multimedia was the thing, with Helliza being the Ultimate Queen for owning a virtual Astrovision. These streaming services now pose a threat to my reading habit which has just recently started to recover, so I should impose strict rules on how much I will watch.

X-Men: The Animated Series action figures from Toybiz and Hasbro

In the 90’s there were very few options, and we had to wait Friday nights to watch X-Men or Batman The Animated Series, or Monday nights to watch The X-Files. Only to be disappointed sometimes that they are showing a rerun, in which case there was no choice but to wait another week. One Monday morning back in 1993 all the girls were humming Frente’s Bizarre Love Triangle– apparently the week before it was the song ABS-CBN has been using in the trailer of the latest Beverly Hills 90210 episode. Not trying to manufacture cosmic connections where there are none, but I think the lack of options in those days has created a very strong collective memory for a generation.

So I have a week to use Amazon Prime, and the first show I completed is The Boys, based on the comic book series of Garth Ennis. In it superheroes are nasty, media-trained, corporate-sponsored celebrities, so the superpowerless The Boys have their work cut out for them. Also prominently displayed on the home screen are Good Omens, American Gods, and Jack Ryan. I instead went back to an old comfort TV show, The Good Wife. Everybody wants to be Alicia Florrick, and everybody wants to have a big office with a nice view and expensive paintings. I feel like I haven’t even watched enough of Amazon Prime, when HBO Go beckoned, so I downloaded a free 7-day trial! The first show I watched was McMillions, a documentary series on the scam surrounding the Monopoly Game promo in Mc Donald’s back in the 90’s. I only got to see one episode then gave up, because I feel like they are stretching things way too long, with different characters narrating way too much. I instead played Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings and marvelled once more at its breathtaking opening sequence. There was a Zoom meeting about to start, but I was not really a major participant so I just turned it on and muted it.

All of this while my time-management games The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Smurfs’ Village, and Dragonvale are crying for attention, notifying me of coins to be collected or crops about to wither. I’m glad I’m not eight years old or my attention span would be whacked! Two minutes later my Duolingo owl pinged me in panic–time to train Spanish today or lose your streak! Oui! Oui! I mean, Si! Si!!!



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