Black Mirror episode 2: White Bear and the culture of desensitization

The last episode of Black Mirror’s second season airs tonight on UK Channel 4.

Do you remember the first profoundly shocking image you saw on the internet? Perhaps it would have been something you came across by accident; perhaps you followed, half horrified and half compelled, a trail of digital whispers to see if you could handle it.

Maybe you don’t remember the first one, but you remember some of them. Maybe you shut the window, sick at yourself, at the glimpse of a woman’s eyes glassed with something unsettling, not staged. Maybe you lingered on eruptions, lacerations, in spite of yourself. To see if the image could possibly be real.

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Black Mirror decodes our modern dread of technology

The English have a coy euphemism for addiction: “moreish.” It summons the delightful anxiety in surrendering your control to something else, the ambivalent cocktail of desire and guilt.

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