Are you lost in the world like me?
October 18, 2021 9:22 PM   Subscribe

Are you lost in the world like me? CW: Images of Suicide

Steampunk Smartphone Alienation Futuro, perhaps... Either it's a bit of WWUID? as What would Ub Iwerks Do? or WWMFD? as in what would Max Fleischer do?

An animation made by Steve Cutts.
posted by y2karl (30 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yikes! Wrong 1st link -- please stand by.
posted by y2karl at 9:39 PM on October 18, 2021


I'd prefer WWCJD? What Would Chuck Jones Do?
posted by someothercraig at 10:03 PM on October 18, 2021 [1 favorite]


Well, it's been nearly an hour since I made my plea re the 1st link, so... in the meantime for context while we wait, here is

Are you lost in the world like me?
posted by y2karl at 10:25 PM on October 18, 2021


See also

Happiness by Steve Cutts
posted by y2karl at 10:37 PM on October 18, 2021


Mod note: Link fixed!
posted by taz (staff) at 11:03 PM on October 18, 2021 [1 favorite]


Thank you so much.
posted by y2karl at 3:12 AM on October 19, 2021


Both very good. Thanks for the stress required to get that working.
posted by hwestiii at 4:01 AM on October 19, 2021


Thanks y2karl!
posted by nofundy at 4:35 AM on October 19, 2021


It felt a little weird to watch this on my phone
posted by MtDewd at 5:23 AM on October 19, 2021 [6 favorites]


Yes, I am.
posted by hypnogogue at 6:25 AM on October 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is the one you want?
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:36 AM on October 19, 2021


One of the issues I have with the Moby and the Cutts video (and increasingly with kids books I'm reading from the post WW2 era) is that they really demonize the urban form as part of their larger critique of society.

Why is this a problem? Sure, an aspect of alienation is feeling like a small piece of a large volume puzzle. But that was the reality of human life well before cell phones. It's not like the suburban life ended up in a fulfilling sense of meaning either and it's much less sustainable.

And we know who's moving out to the hinterlands; they're not any less toxic or more welcoming.

If it's just a technological critique then it seems like they've added unnecessary baggage.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:52 AM on October 19, 2021 [12 favorites]


It felt a little weird to watch this on my phone

That's nothing. Imagine how foolish they must have felt making this on a bunch of high end digital animation platforms in a little computer editing suite somewhere and then distributing it over the Internet to be consumed by people on their various digital devices for three minutes and twenty seconds before moving on with their lives.

I'm assuming Steve Cutts lost a bet or something.
posted by Naberius at 7:06 AM on October 19, 2021 [6 favorites]



my dog, though not tiny, looks enough like a teddy bear to register as zero threat to most small children. The other day, while out walking, we came upon a mom and dad and toddler in a little park area. Mom and dad were about ten feet apart with the toddler between them, both on their devices. Toddler was safe, mom and dad both had half an eye on her, but toddler was more or less ignored ... until my dog walked up and gave her a sniff. She was so delighted, and so beautiful in this delight. Mom and dad never really took notice. They really missed something.
posted by philip-random at 7:59 AM on October 19, 2021 [6 favorites]


Everyone thinks they always have the FRESHEST TAKE on how SOCIETY TODAY is ADDICTED TO THEIR PHONES and every time it's the same durr hburr technology is bad fire is scary and thomas edison was a witch.
posted by KChasm at 8:12 AM on October 19, 2021 [5 favorites]


there's a lot more than *phones* going on here.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:26 AM on October 19, 2021 [5 favorites]


If it's not "fresh" enough for you, perhaps it's sufficient to not watch and not comment?

I mean, we re-tell the same bunch of stories over and over. What exactly is fresh? I don't see what your comment adds to this whole thing, other than: we get it, "me no like."
posted by elkevelvet at 8:37 AM on October 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


Well, that was subtle.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 10:49 AM on October 19, 2021 [5 favorites]


One of the issues I have with the Moby and the Cutts video (and increasingly with kids books I'm reading from the post WW2 era) is that they really demonize the urban form as part of their larger critique of society.

I am trying to imagine how you could make the same point--that people cease paying attention to the world around them, that virality is doing bad things to us--in a suburban or exurban setting, because in those settings, you don't get the same sense of mass...there are just fewer people. You'd always be having to zoom out, to try to capture the large numbers, but then you don't get to see their faces (and certainly don't get to use a POV character like the little guy here, or the girl whose dance goes viral). I think there's definitely something to be criticized about the fear of the city--that it turns us into a faceless mass with none of our own identities, oh no, individuality is only to be found in the simple pleasures of owning a house with a lawn--but it seemed clear, in this story at least, that it wasn't the city doing it to people? (Although now you've got me thinking about kids' books, that Virginia Lee Burton thing...vs Richard Scarry, say!)
posted by mittens at 11:27 AM on October 19, 2021


Usually I don't want to come in and criticise things that other people are obviously enjoying, but Naberius's comment hits this directly on the head. Added to that the criticism implicit in the cartoon is very much a recycling of standard right-wing tropes for the early 21st century, up to and including the scene where a woman chooses a handsome 'chad' figure, a quintessential part of the 'redpilling' of many young men. This is a very small-c conservative message masquerading as radical entertainment.
posted by The River Ivel at 12:56 PM on October 19, 2021 [6 favorites]


I don't see what your comment adds to this whole thing, other than: we get it, "me no like."

The video is a lavishly animated "me no like" about my very online life. As The River Ivel points out, behaviour being criticized here is "filming police brutality", "gluttony", "vanity
of women" and the aforementioned red pill subtext. Not only does the perspective condemn seeking an attractive partner, but it considers the fantasy of saving a slender woman from a threatening dude and getting her admiration.

Yes, it shows people walking into manholes/off cliffs, but it's making the explicit argument that phone amusements are blinding us to somehow interacting with problems in the world.

Maybe it's a criticism of our protagonist who is doing as much obsessive staring at horror as the people being condemned for phone oggling, but the quality of the animation, from a technical perspective, doesn't negate blaming social media for the world's ills isn't really supported.
posted by Phalene at 2:07 PM on October 19, 2021 [4 favorites]


See also

Fear of the Deer
posted by y2karl at 5:12 PM on October 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


I am trying to imagine how you could make the same point--that people cease paying attention to the world around them, that virality is doing bad things to us--in a suburban or exurban setting

Yeah? How about either having someone in a beautiful natural setting ignoring it all while they doomscroll?...What about a person ignoring their family/engaged child at home and screening instead?

Seems easy enough to me.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:51 PM on October 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Well, at least it has a happy ending!
posted by kozad at 7:19 PM on October 19, 2021


I liked the visual inspiration of the early 20th-century animation, but the graphics were too smooth to follow through. The old animations where hand-drawn and jumpy, with occasional changes in brightness from frame to frame. This was too computery-smooth.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:56 AM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]


Happiness by Steve Cutts

Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage. Also, something something rat race.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:58 AM on October 20, 2021


One of the issues I have with the Moby and the Cutts video (and increasingly with kids books I'm reading from the post WW2 era) is that they really demonize the urban form as part of their larger critique of society.

I'm not sure of your country of origin, but in my country (Canada), over 80% of the population lives in urbanized or heavily urbanized areas, and primarily along a narrow band of the southern border (Ontario and Quebec). I see the video not so much as a demonization of the urban. The video depicts an environment that most of us happen to share to some degree.

In speaking with family and friends raising children, and in the behaviours I encounter everyday and pretty much always, the ubiquity of the handheld device is beyond the norm. It's like noticing the two-armedness of people, it's just there. It's not that I think this video is exceptional in its realization--I happen to think it's fine--I guess I am curious if people wish to share works that they think do the same sort of thing, but better?
posted by elkevelvet at 2:40 PM on October 20, 2021


See also

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

tl/dr
posted by y2karl at 8:36 AM on October 21, 2021 [2 favorites]


^Archive link
posted by y2karl at 8:50 AM on October 21, 2021


This question of isolation and alienation is closely related to the question of 'boredom' in our social lives. This episode of CBC's Ideas is a good capture of these questions.

Edit to add: at about the 13:30 mark, the segment on teenagers going without their mobile phone is informative.
posted by elkevelvet at 12:08 PM on October 21, 2021


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