First up, let me just say: I am a huge Black Mirror fan. Huge, ginormous, enormous, Riesenfan. Of course I am. I love Charlie Brooker, and I love Doctor Who, and Black Mirror is like Doctor Who but without the doctor which is surprisingly enjoyable (not that surprising, really, I’ve always loved the shows where the doctor doesn’t show up until 40 mins in). BLACK MIRROR IS BASICALLY MY IDEA OF TELEVISION HEAVEN! (By the way, I do feel I have to let everyone know now: I am a Doctor Who fan but am very much not a Whovian. I can never remember what numbers they all are, like is David Tennant ten or eleven? Is Christopher Eccleston Nine? And I have only watched about one episode per doctor prior to Sylvester McCoy, I don’t even think McCoy is that much of a bad doctor, and I also get slightly confused by all the Time War stuff. AND there’s quite a few Amy Pond episodes which I totally don’t understand either, I just watch them and let them swim all over me like when you go to the Volksbühne. BUT I STILL LOVE IT. One of the main reasons I am so glad I’ve had a new baby is because in 6.5 years‘ time, I will be able to start him on Doctor Who and I will be able to get him to sit with me and watch all the Christopher Eccleston ones, all the David Tennant ones, most of the Matt Smith ones and about half of the Peter Capaldi ones. PLUS JODI WHITTAKER! The thought of all the Doctor Who watching fun I have in front of me just fills my sad tired heart with pure unadulterated joy)
Oh, where was I? Sorry, Black Mirror. Yes. I love it, too. I think it’s clever, witty, entertaining. Well-made, well-written. It’s lovely how the episodes are so different and yet sometimes eerily the same. The bleaker episodes (White Bear, Shut up and Dance) leave you feeling empty and hollow inside, the romantic episodes (Hang the DJ, San Junipero) make you glad to be alive, not because you think you will ever find love like those people have, but just because at least you got to watch such a romantic show. And the episodes where the satire works are just so fucking perfect and satirical and gruesome that you literally think about them for days afterwards (the Waldo Moment, Men Against Fire). I seriously think they should just replace Ethikunterricht in Germany with watching Black Mirror one week and discussing the fuck out of it the next. And this is the great thing about BM: even the weakest episodes would be good episodes of another show. THAT’S how good it is. It’s black German bread from a bakery you have to queue up in in Prenzlauer Berg kinda good.
Na ja. Here’s the problem with Black Mirror: there’s no oppression. No real oppression. All the oppression that takes place is arbitrary, random. Think about Hot Shots or Men Against Fire. There’s nothing (that) concrete that separates the people who are being oppressed from their oppressors. Just total randomness in Hot Shots or a gene screening in Men Against Fire. What has happened? What’s happened to human beings? The human beings in Black Mirror do seem to be capable of hugely cruel acts of injustice – but why are they no longer committing crimes of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia or transphobia? What has happened?
I know white people might get upset at my saying this, but in order to live in a world as non-racist (or post-racial) as the futuristic world depicted in Black Mirror is, there would need to have been a race war (sorry, don’t cry) and there would need to be a lot less white people around. To be honest, I think there’s too many white people on Black Mirror anyways, even without a race war, but don’t tell and angry racists on Twitter I said that or they’ll start crying to their mummies about how all the kindergartens only let the kids play with Halal playdough now. Racism, or the lack of it, isn’t the only problem: what’s happened to sexism? Men have just decided to stop hating women for being weaker than them? I dunno, I think this is not realistic AT ALL! There might be less sexism than now but there won’t be none. And, to be fair, two of the best episodes of Black Mirror are ones where misogyny plays a role (Hot Shots and White Bear).
So, as far as I’m concerned, that’s the problem with Black Mirror: it’s unglaubwürdig. I mean, if Donald Trump, the AfD and most Brexiters get their way, in 10, 20, 60, 100 years‘ time people will look back at 2018 and say wow, I can’t believe there was ever that much racial harmony in the world, that is so weird, thinking about it like that. And don’t get me wrong: I am NOT saying I think white supremacists are going to win. They might win – they’re winning at the moment – a lot of the time I think they probably will win. But that’s not what I am saying here. All I am saying is: the world in which Black Mirror takes place isn’t OUR world, in the near future – it’s our world in a parallel universe, a universe where white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and ableism never existed.