Ever feel like the world has gone mad? I do. It seems like every time you open a newspaper, you read a story that could just as easily be the synopsis of a Dan Brown novel, or a Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster. For example:
The Soviet Union had Super Soldiers
If you don’t know the story of Captain America, it’s fairly straight-forward: seven stone weakling Steve Rogers volunteers for a secret WWII experiment that catapults him to the peak of human fitness and superhero iconography. Well, now it turns out that that the Soviet Union had Super Soldiers for real – at least according to Pravda. Sadly, Wired have pointed out that this story is bobbins, which is somehow disappointing; there’s something attractive (if insane) about there being a secret history of superhero analogues sneaking through the shadows of the 20th century.
(Of course, this use of Pravda as pop culture propaganda works both ways – Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry always claimed that Chekov was added to the show’s second season because of Pravda’s complaints that the first nation in space wasn’t represented in Trek‘s utopian future – turns out the complaint had probably never been published.)
The Whole Phone Hacking Thing
I’ve moaned about this before, but here’s another slant on it – the whole thing is playing out like a narrative. Now sure, these things get mediated through the various news agencies and so there’s a reason we call all these disparate events a ‘story’, but this week the narrative has almost starting imposing itself – beyond the core story itself, twists are emerging: the initial whistleblower has been found dead amid allegations of police corruption, Hugh Grant has emerged as one of the heroes – and now Lulzsec and the guy who custard-pied Rupert Murdoch at yesterday’s hearing are positioning themselves as the chaotic, Trickster elements of the whole thing. Our moral outrage is now sitting alongside our anticipation of the next inevitable twist. It’s news-as-inadvertent-theatre, and it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out with regards to how we consume and relate to the news media.
Space-Time Cloak Could Make Events Disappear
This is just crazy.
So there you have it, truth is stranger than fiction. Or maybe fiction is becoming reality. Who knows? But if someone dressed as a giant bat starts taking down gangsters, don’t say I didn’t warn you…