step up 2: the tweet

Oh what a time to be a user of Twitter dot com!

While listening to the Blank Check Podcast episode on Mad Max: Fury Road, noted Cool Person Emily Yoshida put forward her take that the film is literally just a representation of what it is like to be on Twitter post 2013–noise, carnage, insanity, and people screaming all the time. After these past few weeks, I’m inclined to agree.

This is to say: I’ve really enjoyed BCM 325 live tweeting sessions as a reprieve from all that noise. Having a nice Twitter-sphere to go to once a week, where discussion are constructive and polite has been a real saviour for my already tenuous sanity. I know in the tutorial people were advocating for less screenings, which I understand, but I’m firmly in the “this amount is just right” camp and want that to be known. Also I know you were looking for suggestions for future screenings and I have one at the end of this blog post.

Anyway. To recap from last time. I set myself four goals each week:

  1. One tweet with crossover to the 11:30 class per week.
  2. One question tweet with high response.
  3. Engage in at least three thorough discussions with other students.
  4. One futurism tweet for every literature/fine art tweet, balance of concepts and original ideas!

The first three were to improve how I was engaging with others, shaping Twitter into a platform for discussion. The last was to hold myself accountable about actually engaging with the course content.

I feel that I achieved each of these goals (although it took a moment to get there) and I’ll be showcasing tweets that demonstrate that, plus any other noteworthy tweets that

Week 6 – Ghost in the Shell (aka. the one with some growing pains)

Ghost in the Shell is, objectively speaking, the only movie. I love it SO MUCH. It’s cool. It’s swanky. It’s integration of plot and ideas is seamless. It shares these qualities with Blade Runner, the other film we’ve studied in this class that’s in my top 100 films ever, perhaps I gravitate to less-is-more storytelling?

That narrative sublimity presented some interesting challenges in terms of tweeting, however. Trying to apply a new set of goals to my tweets, when the subject at hand is a very focused, precise piece of media created a situation where I floundered and flew in equal measure.

My second tweet of the day managed to garner crossover with the 11:30 class and a high-ish response. I had two other successful tweets that day (outlined below) but also a slew of less than successful tweets (also outlined below).

Finally, I managed a question-tweet that garnered some engagement. This one I chalk up to having an uncle who studied philosophy while I was 8-12 years old, and him explaining cool philosophy concepts to me, and those concepts sticking, so I just reused them.

Other questions tweets… did not do so well. This I attribute to being “too lost in the sauce”–aka. I was getting stuck in rabbit holes of narrative and theme (Ghost in the Shell is good for that) and not articulating myself as well as I could have. The result of this was that some of my output difficult to engage with.

I did, however, engage in some good discussion on other people’s tweets, got my self-prescribed three in, so that’s something. Although my “know it all”-ness crept through in a few places.

Overall, while I had tweets that did much better than my Minority Report tweets, I struggled to translate likes and retweets into replies and discussion. There’s a strange, almost imperceptible, quality to tweets that generate discussion, and I was trying to figure it out.

tweet 1 – crossover and high response and an interaction with chris, oh my!

tweet 2 – i managed to merge fine art into futurism, no way!

tweet 3 – an example of me being ok at asking questions

tweet 4 – an example of me being terrible at asking questions

reply 1 – i literally rewatched that episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion the night before, where shinji has that dream in which Rei is like “there are many you’s. the you in shinji’s mind, in Asuka’s mind, in Misato’s mind etc etc”. anyway that showed up here

reply 2 – i was being a know-it-all but also i was right

reply 3 – let’s talk about Social Construct’s

week 7 – The Matrix (aka. the one where i tried and failed not to fan over the Wachowski Sister’s)

If Ghost in the Shell is the only film, then the Wachowski Sister’s are the only directors. Does that analogy track? They are so smart; everything they make is like… 10-years ahead of it’s time (stream *checks notes* Cloud Atlas, Speed Racer, and Sense8 now!). They are in fierce competition with Hayao Miyazaki and Brad Bird for title of “Josh’s fav director(s)”.

I say this as a way to prelude that I, in all honestly, got so caught up drinking my Respect The Wachowski’s Juice that I completely forgot to engage with futurism in any meaningful way this week. At 8:30 in the morning, I’m pretty much tweeting in a state of total delirium, and my mind gets real wonky sometimes. And this is one of those times! Another missed mark was asking questions, I forgot to ask any, whoops.

In regards to my other two goals, however, this week was a real smash. I engaged in a really slew of discussions, got crossover with the 11:30 class, and the outside world too; I had a discussion with some dude about the philosophy of choice which was wild.

So, while, yes, there was some real blindspots–in my defence though, the Wachowski’s a real inspiration of mine in terms of their queerness and creativity, so I was bound to get lost on tangents–this was not a week devoid of successes either.

tweet 1 – the big crossover tweet of the week

tweet 2 – another crossover tweet, this one was the obligatory “it’s platos cave” tweet, but in my defence i at least bought in nozick’s experience machine

tweet 3 – this discussion with some guy?

tweet 4 – i shall soapbox a moment, should it please the jury

reply 1 & 2 & 3 – this is all one thread

week 8 – Robot & Frank (aka. the week where i just straight up bombed)

Chris, listen. I know Robot & Frank is one of your favourite movies, and like, it’s cool. The film-critic-in-training in me had some issues with it, but it’s intellectually compelling. From a “I have to live-tweet” about this perspective, however, I hate it.

This week is unequivocally my worst week of tweeting. My engagement was through the floor. In terms of my “four goals” the only one I had any success with is the third, engaging with other peoples tweets. I attempted to ask questions. No success. I attempted to generate any real traction on a tweet, get that sweet sweet crossover with the 11:30 class. No success. I don’t feel I did a good job interrogating futures thinking OR my fallback fine art content. This week was just bad.

I thought a lot about why this was, I didn’t want to replicate this week after all. I identified a few key issues:

  1. PrewatchingRobot & Frank was the only film in the second half of live-tweeting that I hadn’t seen before. Initially, I had planned to prewatch, but I had two essays due that week and, well, things don’t happen sometimes. I justified it saying that I went ok with the Minority Report free-style watch, so I thought I’d be ok here, but uh, no.
  2. Notes – I stupidly did not go through my lecture notes for that week. That’s really on me. Oh well.
  3. Research – I did not research adequately for this week. I couldn’t find much in the way of discussion in any of my go-to research places (New York Times, WIRED, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Bright Lights Film Journal, Roger Ebert, The Atlantic, Bright Wall/Dark Room) which…

The long short of it was that I pretty much, through my lack of work, ensured that I would flounder this week, and flounder I did. The result, I have no tweets of my own to spotlight, so here’s some replies.

Reply 1 & 2 – another mega thread

reply 3 – that got dark quickly

Week 9 – Blade Runner 2049 (aka. the one where i was, like, back on track)

Good. Movie.

I mean it’s no Blade Runner, but then again what is? Anyway, I have a lot of love for this particular flick, I listen to Sea Wall at least once a week. Also, I agree with your general point that Joi is the most interesting part of this flick.

She’s also kinda hilarious, because she’s a commentary on the way that a certain subset of sci-fi fans relate to women, and they completely miss that she’s a commentary about them? But I’m getting sidetracked (me? sidetracked? not possible).

Anyway, this week was a real return to form for me. The first week where I can confidently say I hit all four of my goals. A few things that went right: I’d seen the movie before (good start), thought about it a lot (how could I not?), read about it a lot (how could I not???), and gone through last years tweet roundups to see what people had responded to then (I, a dumb dumb, did not think to do this until now).

The result, a good good week. Like I said, first time hitting all my goals, I’ll outline that not.

tweet 1 – the tweet that had crossover with the 11:30 class

tweet 2 – while not a question, it did generate the kinds of replies i was looking for so… it works

tweet 3 & 4 – a futures thinking and fine art tweet for the road

reply 1 – me, in jo march voice: “women–“

reply 2 – me, also in a jo march voice: “techno-orientalism–“

reply 3 – me, in a jo march voice: “memes–“

week 10 – Ready Player One (aka. the one where i was like “this is a bad movie”)

This is a bad movie. I remember at the start of this live-tweeting session everyone was being saying “omg we’re going to watch my favourite movie ever, haha, keen” and I just got real mad. Like, whatever, people can like what they want. But also they entire time I was just like: “I am begging you to develop critical thinking skills.”

Anyway, now that I am done being condescending and rude–sorry to any classmates who might read this, you’re fine, really; this is very much a me problem not a you problem (the me problem being I need to get over myself)–let’s look at my tweets from this week.

And… it’s another good week for me. Once again I managed to hit all four of my goals. The rapid swing from total failure in the Robot & Frank week to the big time success of the Blade Runner 2049 week helped me identify the elements of live tweeting that would help me get traction on my content.

The first, obviously, is preparation. In this case I was positively charmed: I’d seen the movie twice before, read the book, watched this fun youtube video by Jenny Nicholson (the queen of deadpan), and read the pretty much every article written during the pop-up of the 2018 ReadyPlayerOne-Thinkpiece-Industrial-Complex.

The second, when live-tweeting be sure to have a good amount of engagement. I’ve decided the magic number is a 1:1 ratio between how much I tweet and how much I reply. That number makes for better discussions on other people’s tweets and encourages those people to engage with I’ve found. The other thing is that not every tweet has to be “here’s my intellectual articulation of why X thing is Y theory”. It’s ok to get a little rowdy (not too rowdy, though). And as already outlined above, Ready Player One get’s me Rowdy. Anyway, to the tweeting.

tweet 1 – the crossover with the 11:30 class (just, one person liked, but that counts)

tweet 2 – a question with engagement

tweet 3 & 4 – some futures thinking and fine art sir? (video games count as fine art, im not classist if i can help it)

reply 1 – can you tell i dislike this movie?

reply 2 – can you tell i disliked this movie???

reply 3 – we stan elana

week 11 – Alita: Battle Angel (aka. moon war moon war moon war)

Part of me wonders whether I should have warned people about the #alitaarmy. Like, I’m a part of Film Twitter on my non-university account. I was there when the #alitaarmy first formed, it was a mess. They’re a wild bunch, and I’ve seen what they can do. I knew what was coming, but then again I figured Chris probably did too, so, hell.

Well. The #alitaarmy hit, it was wild. Because of them this was easily my best week; my likes, retweets, and replies were all through the roof. I engaged many members of the #alitaarmy in Discourse, which I think is what Chris wanted from this whole subject–broaden our horizons, learn how to get interaction from people outside of the course, that sort of thing.

In that vein, this week I feel I moved beyond the need for my four goal rubric. This isn’t to say I didn’t hit my goals, I did! Rather, I think I reached a place where I had become confident in my ability to analyse and discuss the film in real time, and then disseminate my thoughts in a clear way. While my engagement was through the roof, I also don’t think it was particularly relevant as a reflection of what I was actually achieving, it was more a reflection of the presence of a niche fanbase.

What I mean to say is this was the first week where I was consistently engaging with the key ideas–social structures, cyborgs, technology–through MY lens–intertextuality, post-colonialism, class, and queer politics/theory.

Right back at the start of the subject I tried to narrativise my own live-tweeting experience, with the dreams/puzzles format, but gave up on it because it was trite. Well, I think I managed to succeed in narrativising this semester anyway, just instead of Leitwort arc, it was a Bildungsroman. So it goes.

tweet 1 – intertextuality!

tweet 2 – post-colonialism

tweet 3 – class

tweet 4 – queerness

reply 1 – my class reading made sense, i tell you!

reply 2 – i actually know nothing about sport–like the only sport i watch is tennis, and that’s only for the drama and homoerotic undertones–i hope this was right

reply 3 – please please please consider my screening suggestion for next year (see the end of this blog post)

week 12 – 2040 (aka. the one where i was like “capitalism bad”)

Honest to god I was just gonna be lazy and skip this week because, like, I could. But in the Discord chat (what part I was able to attend before my Internet died for the better part of two hours) Chris said “Josh you had good discussion this week, you might want to include it”, and I was like.

Anyway… I feel like already reached the end of my nice little arc in Alita: Battle Angel recap. So I’m treating this as more of a denouement, not a full recap, just highlighting more of what I outlined above, that I’m really addressing Futures Thinking from a Josh Perspective now. I feel like in my tweeting I came across as really “this movie bad”. I don’t dislike it, I like positivity, Paddington is my favourite fictional character. More just that it didn’t address the how of its suggestions very well, and the how is the most important part. Anyway.

tweet 1 – cognitive dissonance is a dangerous thing

tweet 2 – some anti-capitalism for the road

A Suggestion:

Ok, so I know you’re always open to new movies for the screenings, and I have one for you that I really think should be considered…

Strange Days

Director: Kathryn Bigalow

Writers: James Cameron, Jay Cocks

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Basett (queen), Juliette Lewis, Tom Sezemore, and Vincent D’Onofrio

Ok ok, let me lay out my case now. So this one works well as a comparison (or honestly, replacement) for Minority Report and Ready Player One. The basic overview: it’s a film about a guy called Lenny, ex-cop, who deals SQUIDS–illegal devices that record records someone’s memories, including their physical sensations, kind of memory VR but with the ability to replicate all sense’s, no just sight.

The plot is a conspiracy surrounding the murder of a radical black rapper, and deals with ideas of policy brutality, corruption, riots, voyeurism, and the impact of technology on gender relations. You may be saying… hold on that sounds a lot like current technology just slightly different. You’re right, it is. The main tension comes down to a recording someone has of the murder of said black rapper and the police trying to cover it up, for fears that it may cause a race war/riot. It is literally about what is happening right now.

I don’t want to say any more about the plot because you should really really really see it, but trust me when I say it’s Robot & Frank levels of “relevant to right now”.

On top of everything else it is directed by a woman, Kathryn Bigalow, features people of colour and social issues surrounding race, and it’s written by James Cameron so it parallel’s well with Alita: Battle Angel in that way. I will do anything to convince you, message me about it, I don’t care, just give it a look.

It was fun tweeting. Bye.

One thought on “step up 2: the tweet

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