Thursday, 24 September

Zelensky, Michael Jackson and Cyber-Realism

What can be common between Volodymyr Zelensky and Michael Jackson? The thing is that they both live in the post-truth times, Facebook and cyber-realism era. I haven’t lost my mind – Jackson also lives even though he passed away 10 years ago. 

Let’s start with the King. Everybody heard about a long and boring documentary film Leaving Neverland which is fully based on the evidence of two 40-year-old boys who decided to arrange a demonstration session of psychotherapy, to close their gestalts, to dig the grave of uncle Michael and to bring the legend if not to responsibility but at least to the public shame. Moved American TV spectators deleted albums from play-lists, demolished an idol statue at the entrance of the art museum, and eternal Oprah gathered the whole studio of victims of abuse. Media experts predict absolute oblivion to the most powerful artist of the XX century in the recent decade.

While America is still bearing grudge and talk-showing, Ukraine makes its political choice which strikes the world no less than an informational exhumation of poor Jackson. It’s worth noting that we have overtaken the whole world in the number of free Wi-Fi per capita. This can be proven by any tourist who tried to find Internet in the cafes of Berlin or to catch the Wi-Fi in the hotels of Budapest. Internet in Ukraine is affordable, cheap, often just complimentary. Perhaps, that’s why the citizens of Ukraine were first to perish on the virtual frontline.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word “post-truth” was trendy in summer-winter of 2016. For three years already, as we should get used to realizing that now discussions are more important than the subject itself, judgments and evaluations are more interesting than the facts, and the truth is a subject matter of Socrates and Plato in the textbooks of logic.

Everything tangled up in the lives of Ukrainians: electronic bills for used water, electronic queues to living doctors, weather forecast in the phone instead of thermometer on the window, beaten children’s behinds for the marks in the electronic journals, online books which don’t smell but have the price, coming around via Skype. Moreover, TV channels: “Inter”, “5”, “Ukraine”, “Priamyi”, “Suspilne”, and, of course, “1+1”.

No-no, we don’t watch TV. Only in the kitchen on the background.

Uh-huh, on the background. Radioactive.

Scientists write, lament, sound the alarm: human brain fails to process unbelievable informational flows, the body doesn’t have so many filters to sort out media poison. If we had an organ like informational liver we would have died from Cirrhosis.

“What name to give to our era?” I ask my son. There was Renaissance, wonderful as heaven, humanistic and tolerant. Enlightenment, wise like a white-bearded bandurist. Modernism, cheeky and angry like youth. Then postmodernism – a distorted mirror of everything. And here, they say, postmodernism is also over. And we live in some incredible times of endless dreams where molecules are tightly mixed with bits and pixels where you can believe a word, a sound, a picture in Google, where you sometimes doubt yourself – what if I am a hologram?

“Cyber-realism,” my student answered, “our era is called cyber-realism.”

Tetyana Monakhova

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