YouTube Killed the Movie Star: From Laces Out to Get Out

23 years ago, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective took hold of 90s tween humor and signaled the millennial media schism clearer than most measurements. If Ace was the collective reality of the time, he was limited by the media of the 20th century to be a spectacle for audiences. 13 years later the man behind the character, Jim Carrey starred in a Joel Schumacher specular pelicula: The Number 23.

This 2007 psychological thriller/horror film filled a few narcissistic niches and was easily discarded by pop culture of the time due to the preoccupation of new media killing the competition. In a strongly McLuhanian mindset, one sees the millennial media schism as moving from moving pictures to mindless meme mining. YouTube had been honored as the personification of the best of humankind, as distinguished by Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” title in 2006. Pop culture was already easily distracted by the “Internet” by the time Jim Carrey decided to further show his range in remaking a distroted and surreal Ace Ventura into a zen koan of vaudevillian fright.

Obsession then in 94 and then in 07 romanticized the typewriter and the newspaper and the gumshoe detective. To read and to write were activities associated with sub-cultures of intelligence spanning many diverse worlds, yet the emotional experience was always more visceral in imagining a reality conjured from text: namely, the book is better than the movie. The movie is open to group enjoyment and detachment from the playing agency.

Mindless meme mining involves active management and voyeurism. While Jim Carrey acted out his fantasy on the big screen the public did their own performance, post-Truman Show; the new media of Web 2.0, smartphone enabled, wireless connectivity delivered the obsession customized, personalized. Viewers can learn from these stories morals of love for all, especially animals, and admonitions on paranoia. Conspiracy theories should not be encouraged, and volatility or instability is not in the public’s best interest; fear is a poor motivator.

Like Pavlov’s dog conditioning shifted from publishing literature in authoritarian worlds to literally publishing your own authoritarian world. Our echo chambers are more than fortified in the year 2017 and conspiracy talk is of the order when it comes to civil discourse. We can choose to (re)watch The Number 23 or reenact it. Now, viewers can suspend their disbelief completely all while completing their own looped confessional biopic, the final piece of evidence sentencing yourself to a Kafkaesque torture chamber of one’s own choosing, a room 101 that we return to willingly for reeducation.

The Number 23

So it goes with the rise of animal rights, chiefly dog nurturing, the rise of obsessive narrative indulgence goes too. Beethoven the charming Saint Bernard was as much of a movie star as any human of the 90s blockbuster scene. You could possibly even account for, economically, the rise of expenditures on pets as a direct tradeoff of declines in actual human child rearing. Raising pets has inflated absurdly since Ace Ventura, the patron saint of animals, first started indoctrinating youth in the ways of reverence for the Albatross. Pets are pampered better than most humans nowadays, including diet and medical treatment.

What concerns me academically is the future forward trend of old media not satisfying the next generation’s desire to dream through text. The literate and literature are just another sub-culture that pales in comparison to the virtual reality of tomorrow’s media. Somehow life and desire will be captured in ways more real than now. If YouTube killed the movie star, then in his defense, he was simply standing his ground.

Stand Your Ground