“Do you realize whom Aaron Swartz is?” asks digital-rights attorney Dylan Stack. He answers their own concern: ” The computer activist whom committed committing committing suicide after a campaign that is unrelenting federal prosecutors to imprison him. In the memory, i am attempting to organize an action that is class prosecutorial overcharging.”
Now, consider, this is for a tv show—and perhaps maybe not some PBS that is sober-minded documentary Swartz. It absolutely wasn’t also cable news or a sitcom that is geek-centered the top Bang Theory. This is, in fact, a sleek legal procedural drama on community tv: the nice Wife, a CBS show about an attorney, Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies), starting its 5th period this Sunday.
Though putatively in regards to the legislation (and Florrick’s transactions along with her Eliot husband that is spitzer-like, the nice Wife happens to be revered among geeks, as well as for valid reason: it gives the deftest depiction of technology on television. In reality, it could be the most useful force for electronic literacy in pop culture at this time.
Look at the episode mentioned previously: It starts by having a rape test by which a school that is high tweets angrily concerning the football player accused of assaulting her. She is jailed for contempt, plus the situation falters until—in an echo associated with the real-world Steubenville rape case—the activist that is online Anonymous leakages a cellular phone video clip showing the accused rapist laughing at rape jokes about a blow-up doll. Anonymous people reveal up in court, creating a spectacle. Meanwhile, Florrick and her team wrestle with a few concerns: Can faceless, anarchic activists that are online trusted? Just how do phonecams alter a criminal activity such as this, since leaked videos run as both proof and an act that is criminal by themselves? What exactly is the legal standing of the image that is viral?
The plot had been ripped through the headlines, however the Good Wife went deeply to the weeds in thinking exactly how technology transforms everyday activity. That isn’t the example that is only.
Eike Schroter/Photofest: Due To Samsung
Within one episode, Florrick makes use of the transnational nature of Twitter to thwart Uk libel laws and regulations. An additional, the show reveals an energy-drink business that hires shills to create feedback on anorexia-glorifying “pro-Ana” sites. The Good spouse lawyers once sued a Google-like internet search engine for juking the ratings of a voice-recognition pc pc software company, in a episode en en titled “Two Girls, One Code.” (most useful minute: The apparently senile, hard-of-hearing judge unexpectedly reveals angry technology skillz. “An attribute-based link-analysis is perhaps not a shut system,” he lectures during the defendant’s lawyer.)
One episode also mused Talmudically on the appropriate and governmental concept of Bitcoin.
Whenever this fall is returned by the show, plotlines should include telepresence robots plus an episode influenced by Redditors’ bungled tries to recognize the Boston bombers. Shows and films, needless to say, have traditionally used electronic tools and real-life techie occasions as plot points—but seldom with much nuance.
television FREQUENTLY PORTRAYS TECH AS IMPLAUSIBLY SUPERPOWERED OR ALARMINGLY HAZARDOUS.
Generally in most programs, technology is painted as either implausibly superpowered (“Wait—enhance that image!”) or alarmingly dangerous. Procedurals were offenders that are particular. On legislation & Order, the web is certainly caused by merely a shadowy destination where teenagers are lured for their death. On individual of great interest, federal government agencies utilize pervasive surveillance technology to predict malintent with pinpoint precision.
The Good Wife prevents this Manichaean trap. This might be most most likely as a result of the fact that the show’s creators and showrunners, husband-and-wife team Robert and Michelle King, are curious nerds. “I’m simply fascinated with just exactly how society is changing through social media as well as the influence of Silicon Valley on virtually every part of life,” states Robert King. Their goal just isn’t to create a case that is polemical or against technology, he adds. “The show does not make an effort to damn things, because I do not genuinely believe that’s truth. The improvements getting used in a totalitarian culture like Asia will also be used to prompt the Arab springtime. Social investigate this site media had been managed really simplistically on television. We thought we’re able to allow it to be our very own.”
A lot of exactly exactly exactly how technology plays within the real-world is a concern of message acts—a normal topic for an intelligent show about attorneys. “Words will be the tools on appropriate programs,” King claims. Plus, the show’s article writers’ space is filled up with tech-curious kinds; writer Corinne Brinkerhoff conceived for the Bitcoin episode after becoming interested in the alternative cash system.
For theoretically advanced watchers, it is enjoyable to possess viewing that is sunday-night understands its means around Search Engine Optimization and crypto. It generates TV better. But I would argue that the nice Wife’s effect is much deeper than that. It potentially makes reality better.
Fictive depictions of technology are influential. television and films have long shaped exactly just how people comprehend the world—and more essential, the way they misunderstand it.
For instance, the parade of wicked hackers in Hollywood films look much more effective compared to reality. But politicians have actually taken care of immediately the film form of blackhat programmers, passing legislation that clamp down on also computer activity that is innocuous. The Reagan-era Congress had been so frightened by the cartoonish hacker exploits in War Games so it passed sweeping computer-crime regulations still utilized as a appropriate bludgeon today. Now, the prosecutors of Bradley Manning invoked these tropes that are tired. They stated the application of basic Unix commands—and white-on-black, DOS-style displays—was inherently nefarious, because hey: Isn’t that exactly how hackers look on TV? In the ’30s we had “reefer madness” films; this”hacker is called by the Electronic Frontier Foundation madness.”
This is exactly why the nice Wife is such a blast of much-needed oxygen. I would ike to think we are able to evaluate social modification calmly and dispassionately, that people can map the contours of y our electronic globe by parsing trenchant nonfiction and maintaining up-to-date with the headlines.
But we are narrative creatures. tales matter; fiction things. enjoy it or otherwise not, they truly are where electronic literacy—and illiteracy—begins. If individuals are planning to seem sensible of just how technology changes culture, we desperately require smart tales and tale-tellers that are smart.
The great Wife is really a perfectly entertaining procedural, however, if it manages to instruct individuals the definitions behind a technical culture, therefore much the greater.