Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Loser Edit

The concept of the 'Loser Edit'- the compilation of evidence that a person deserves to be 'put off the island' - started on reality TV shows, from where it has spread to encompass the lives of the rest of us in this constantly monitored real world in which we now live: "The footage of your loser edit is out there...., waiting. Taken from the surveillance camera of the gas station where you bought a lottery ticket like a chump. From the A.T.M. that recorded you taking out money for the romantic evening that went bust. From inside the black domes on the ceiling of the train station, the lenses that captured your slow walk up the platform stairs after the doomed excursion. From all the cameras on all the street corners, entryways and strangers’ cellphones, building the digital dossier of your days. Maybe we can’t clearly make out your face in every shot, but everyone knows it’s you. We know you like to slump. Our entire lives as B-roll, shot and stored away to be re-cut and reviewed at a moment’s notice when the plot changes: the divorce, the layoff, the lawsuit."

"The loser edit is not just the narrative arc of a contestant about to be chopped, or voted off the island, whatever the catchphrase. It is the plausible argument of failure" to be used against us when the time comes. At the top of the pyramid of 'loser' content is the online oversight that our own country's spymasters now perform on us, farther down is all the things we say and 'like' on social media, and at the wide base is all the things our colleagues and acquaintances have heard us say or write that may come back to haunt us when circumstances are right.


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