I watched this film (12:23) three times. There is so much in such a short period of time, it is packed with intensity! With regards to students’ lives, the piece is particularly poignant. I see students and friends glued to their phones. I tend to lose misplace mine, often forgetting to turn off the silent or the vibrate features. I just don’t have an affinity for texting and have only started doing it with increasing regularity relatively recently. I will give you one anecdote pre-smart phone era for you to get to know me better. I once dated a guy from Boston and he constantly IM’d me and I’d IM back (begrudgingly). We had met in person in MA and then decided to do the long-distance thing for a while. Two weeks into the relationship, I simply got tired of IM’ng so in one of my IM’s I asked him to refer to Blondie’s Greatest Hits, No. ___ on a CD we both had (I don’t recall the song # now). He looked at it and realized that I was creatively trying to tell him to “Call Me” (YouTube it, you’ll thank me later). He immediately called and I insisted that we talk n the phone when we were apart. I needed to hear his voice. There is so much that gets lost in translation in words on a screen. I still feel this way. I need to hear people’s voices, preferably see their faces.
However, I’m an outlier and I recognize it. Don’t get me wrong, I send emails and Tweet (the Tweeting is in its infancy, I only started using it last semester) like there is no tomorrow. However, I can’t commit to the text bandwagon wholeheartedly. I question why does everyone feel the need to text? I would much rather hear you laugh than see the laughing emoji. People have fantastic laughs, everyone’s is so different. It brings me joy.
Ok, let’s get to Jai’s story. Everything was on her phone, even an app entitled “WellBreathe,” which was a pretty cool tool for managing her anxiety. It was wrenching to see her delete that app when the screen goes black in the movie.
I have several thoughts about students’ culture that were sparked by the film. I wonder if phones make students feel more stressful? We are all so over-scheduled and our phones are reminding us to do everything. Now certainly, there are outliers like me who still have a paper planner or resort to my favorite method of reminders, emails to myself! Most of the time, I check these directly from my laptop or iPad. Jai got very stressed when she received notifications re: finals and towards the end when, when she had multiple appointments.
I could also relate to Jai’s anxiety. I used to get very nervous in college before a test, but not to the extent that Jai did in this film (thankfully). I even had ritualized garments on finals’ days: olive Army jacket, black sweatpants, black boots, miscellaneous T-shirt, red Nike baseball cap. I literally carried on with this same routine until I took the bar exams for New York and New Jersey. Rituals make us feel safe sometimes.
What struck me most in this film was the level of monitoring done by her doctors’ office. How could they have possibly checked her blood levels with the wrist band? I guess anything is possible. I would not be surprised if more people start using genetic sequencing to select for attributes such as heights and eye color. This is petrifying. Does anyone remember Hitler? If Germany would have won the war, many would not be here today. I remember reading the Book Thief by Markus Zusack and a father in Germany gets mad at his son and tells him to be thankful for having “safe, big blue eyes” (Sidenote: This novel is stunning, buy it, you will reread it many times).
Something that I could not understand is why the credits cited Blaxites’ characters. What was Blaxites, was it he secret clinic that Carl took Jai to in order for her to get black market anti-anxiety medication? There are a lot of people re: the clinic in the credits. I did not see them. What did I miss?
The title of the film is very provoking. What does it mean? Is it entitled that because the screens fade to black when previously they had been lit? I need to know!
I would like to leave this blog with my sincere thoughts & prayers for each one of you. Please stay healthy and take good care of yourselves. I miss you all. However, I am still glad to see you on screen. Please let Patricia and me know what we can do to help anyone. Do you guys want to set up a cell phone chain? I’m still planning on doing a group hangout. We didn’t do it last week because of our extensive work in Research Methodologies. This week is Passover and Easter. I am thinking of the week after this one? If anyone has any suggestions, please let us know. Be well!