Listening to the Trash Future team describe CulturePulse.ai and the digital twin profile created for entire populations seems very very reminiscent of “The Red Men” by Matthew de Abaitua which didn’t get the attention it deserved but was quite prescient.

https://trashfuturepodcast.podbean.com/e/waltz-with-the-sims/ (minute 23 and on)

Elements from the book such as the corporation known as “Monad” (!) and robotic public service utilities called “Dr. Easy” are looking back from our current hellscape period a bit too on the nose.

See Dr. Easy act in this short film: https://vimeo.com/68368877

Despite not being the biggest fan of Shape Up or of 37s, I still really enjoyed watching this video by Ryan Singer about Shaping.

It’s very well done and though I wouldn’t recommend anybody to follow this by the book, you would do well to take inspiration from it.

Gibi: Comedy under Pressure

I just watched and finished season 1 of Gibi which seems to have been enough of a success for them to quickly put out a second season. It’s a Turkish dark comedy show that you can watch online on Exxen. I already wrote it’s a bit like Seinfeld but with a very dark undercurrent.

How dark? Let’s look at the next bit from an episode (S01E10 @ 16:30) where Yılmaz and İlkkan are accused of having caused the death of an old man. They are getting ready to host the deceased’s relatives at a restaurant and participate in the wake.

Yilmaz and Ilkkan having a conversation

Did you hear anything from Ethem?

Ethem?

Lately never…

Man, look, they wrote something in fact. Hold on. Somehow we weren’t able to call the guy. (Sigh. Wails.)

Don’t.

His aunt has killed herself. Ethem’s. It was written this morning. I just saw it.

Which aunt?

His older aunt.

I don’t know many other situational comedy shows that do something like this. It has no relation to the story and serves only to set the mood. Interspersing another death that’s just brushed off in an episode that’s already about death demonstrates how little a human life is worth. People die randomly and it’s received with a wail and a shrug.

They will most likely go to the funeral just like they did in a previous episode (S01E04) where Ersoy’s grandmother was eaten by an Erasmus cannibal.

Overarching Theme

Zooming out a bit, the real theme of this first season of Gibi has been pressure, pressure of all kinds: peer pressure, family obligations, social and societal pressure.

  • Kokariç: Press ganging into opening a kebab shop and invest in all kinds of goods
  • Wadding: Pressure from friends and the environment to conform to current fashion norms
  • Nu Model: Pressure from the extended family not to pose nude at the art academy enforced by force of violence
  • The Cannibal Coming with Erasmus: Pressure from friends to mourn and be visibly sad
  • Wrong Mentor: Pressure by a spiritual guide to follow a very strict regimen
  • Dark Force: Collective hysteria around bad things happening
  • Second Way: Pressure of belonging
  • Whitewash: Pressure by the house painter to go all the way
  • Renewal of Break Up: Pressure generated by magician
  • Blood Money: Pressure to make amends for somebody unrelated dying
  • Bathroom: Pressure to bathe and spend time with a couple of seniors
  • Discovery of the Horse: Proto-societal pressure between members of an outcast paleolithic group

Anybody who’s ever been to Turkey knows that the entire country is built on this kind of pressure, also known as genuine interest, shame, concern or emotional blackmail. It’s omnipresent and the only way to escape it is to exit.