“Did you know who Aaron Swartz is?” asks digital-rights attorney Dylan Stack. He answers his or her own concern: ” The pc activist whom committed committing suicide after an unrelenting campaign from federal prosecutors to imprison him. In their memory, i am trying to organize an action that is class prosecutorial overcharging.”
Now, remember, it was for a tv show—and perhaps maybe perhaps not some sober-minded PBS documentary about Swartz. It absolutely wasn’t also cable news or a sitcom that is geek-centered the top Bang Theory. It was, in reality, a sleek procedural that is legal on community tv: the nice Wife, a CBS show about an attorney, Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies), starting its 5th period this Sunday.
Though putatively in regards to the legislation (and Florrick’s transactions together with her Eliot Spitzer-like spouse), the nice Wife is now revered among geeks, as well as for valid reason: it includes the deftest depiction of technology on TV. In reality, it might be the force that is best for electronic literacy in pop tradition today.
Think about the episode stated earlier: It starts having a rape test for which a senior high school woman tweets angrily about the football player accused of assaulting her. She is jailed for contempt, additionally the situation falters until—in an echo of this real-world Steubenville rape case—the online activist collective Anonymous leakages a cellular phone video clip showing the accused rapist laughing at rape jokes of a blow-up doll. Anonymous people reveal up in court, creating a spectacle. Meanwhile, Florrick and her team wrestle with a few concerns: Can faceless, anarchic activists that are online trusted? Just how do phonecams alter a crime similar to this, since released videos run as both evidence and an act that is criminal on their own? What exactly is the legal standing of a viral image?
The plot had been ripped through the headlines, however the Good Wife went deeply to the weeds in thinking exactly exactly how technology transforms everyday activity. That isn’t the only instance.
Eike Schroter/Photofest: Due To Samsung
In one single episode, Florrick utilizes the transnational nature of Twitter to thwart Uk libel laws and regulations. In another, the show exposes an energy-drink business that employs shills to create remarks on anorexia-glorifying “pro-Ana” websites. The Good Wife lawyers once sued a Google-like s.e. for juking the ranks of the voice-recognition computer computer computer software business, within an episode en en en titled “Two Girls, One Code.” (most readily useful minute: The apparently senile, hard-of-hearing judge abruptly reveals angry technology skillz. “an link-analysis that is attribute-based perhaps perhaps not really a shut system,” he lectures during the defendant’s lawyer.)
One episode also mused Talmudically throughout the appropriate and governmental concept of Bitcoin.
Whenever this fall is returned by the show, plotlines should include telepresence robots as well as an episode encouraged by Redditors’ bungled tries to determine the Boston bombers. Television shows and movies, needless to say, have actually very long used electronic tools and real-life techie occasions as plot points—but seldom with much nuance.
television FREQUENTLY PORTRAYS TECH AS IMPLAUSIBLY SUPERPOWERED OR ALARMINGLY HAZARDOUS.
In many shows, technology is painted as either implausibly superpowered (“Wait—enhance that image!”) or alarmingly dangerous. Procedurals happen offenders that are particular. The Internet is mostly just a shadowy place where teens are lured to their death on law & Order. On individual of great interest, federal federal government agencies utilize pervasive surveillance technology to anticipate malintent with pinpoint mail order wives precision.
The Good Wife prevents this Manichaean trap. That is most most likely as a result of the proven fact that the show’s creators and showrunners, husband-and-wife group Robert and Michelle King, are curious nerds. “I’m just fascinated with just just how society is changing through social network together with impact of Silicon Valley on nearly every part of life,” claims Robert King. Their objective just isn’t to produce a polemical instance for or against technology, he adds. “The show does not make an effort to damn things, because I do not believe’s truth. The improvements being used in a totalitarian culture like Asia are used to prompt the spring that is arab. Social network had been managed extremely simplistically on television. We thought it could be made by us our personal.”
Much of how technology plays into the world that is real a concern of message acts—a normal topic for a good show about attorneys. “Words will be the tools on appropriate programs,” King claims. Plus, the show’s authors’ space is full of tech-curious kinds; writer Corinne Brinkerhoff conceived for the Bitcoin episode after becoming interested in the money system that is alternative.
For theoretically advanced viewers, it is enjoyable to own viewing that is sunday-night understands its means around Search Engine Optimization and crypto. It creates TV better. But we’d argue that the nice Wife’s impact is deeper than that. It possibly makes reality better.
Fictive depictions of technology are influential. television and films have long shaped exactly how people realize the world—and more essential, the way they misunderstand it.
As an example, the parade of wicked hackers in Hollywood films look much more effective compared to truth. But politicians have actually taken care of immediately the film version of blackhat programmers, passing legislation that clamp down on also innocuous computer task. The Reagan-era Congress was therefore frightened by the cartoonish hacker exploits in War Games so it passed sweeping computer-crime regulations nevertheless utilized being a bludgeon today that is legal. Recently, the prosecutors of Bradley Manning invoked these tired tropes. They stated making use of basic Unix commands—and white-on-black, DOS-style displays—was inherently nefarious, because hey: Isn’t that just just exactly how hackers look on TV? Into the ’30s we had “reefer madness” films; the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls this “hacker madness.”
That is why the Wife that is good is a blast of much-needed air. I would ike to think we could evaluate social modification calmly and dispassionately, that people can map the contours of y our electronic globe by parsing trenchant nonfiction and maintaining up-to-date with the headlines.
But we are narrative animals. tales matter; fiction matters. enjoy it or otherwise not, they may be where electronic literacy—and illiteracy—begins. If individuals are likely to sound right of exactly how technology changes culture, we desperately require smart tales and smart tale-tellers.
The great Wife is just a perfectly entertaining procedural, however if it manages to instruct individuals the definitions behind a technological culture, therefore much the higher.