The Customer’s Attitude

or the paradox of knowledge, your call.

Ok, and what if I really — I mean, really wanted to back-up the Hillary Clinton PAC? I just can’t. Why? Well, because I am not a US citizen, for a start. Is that a problem? Yes, apparently.

I don’t obviously underestimate the complex paradigm which is ruling something as huge as the election of the President of the United States, nor the knotty path to any election whatsoever. Not only would it be stupid, but as long as I don’t have any of the required linguistic and legal skills to do so, that’s not my aim. So what am I aiming for? The paradox of knowledge, I think -therefore the useless and misleading concept of «legit citizenship».

Think about it, what is “citizenship” again? Oh yes: like being an American, or being an Italian (I am the latter -yes, I know, move on), being whatever you are. Oh, wait: are we really defined, as in “what we are”, by the country where we were born? Is that what borders, countries and eventually citizenships are all about? If so, in my humble opinion, I swear to God, this is as so fucking wrong as possible. If you pardon the pun (I know there’s no pun, play along).

Since day one, the internet has blessed us with the knowledge of what’s going on around the corner, we finally managed to leave our backyards stuffed with rights and reasons and arguments, and reach for a greater knowledge, for a greater understanding of the world — and here is where you need to read: the people. We understood, or at the very least we gave it a go. The internet was to me the greatest rule book I’ve ever handled, it made me sympathetic with other cultures, comprehensive (well, yes. Oh, come on, give me a break), reasonably aware that I am not the centre of the universe anymore, but suddenly, the very same concept of “internet” was and still is to human being the-once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to look at ourselves as the growing community we are, a liquid one, a very young one, and not just as the choosy and frankly unbearable, bored, grown-kid we were. Is it a problem, again? Yes it is.

So I am not an insupportable kid anymore, what’s wrong with that? What’s now? Let’s say that now it’s a mess, you wish I’d roll back to the annoying scruffy teen I used to be. Because now I know and now that I know, what’s surrounding me doesn’t even start to cover my expectations. I was told about the globalisation once, ok then, let’s globalise.

All I want for Christmas is you to deregulate almost everything, I mean: why not? Everything is convention, isn’t it? There’s nothing natural in borders, limitation of my human-rights, lack of acknowledgement of me pursuing my own happiness and satisfaction; but let me sail off-shore. There is no such thing as natural-way, attitude, right, to subscribe to HBO or to The New Yorker, and -yes- not even casting a vote is. It is a matter of conventions, agreements, standards, blah blah blah. More than anything I would bet on blah blah blah. Why on earth can’t I subscribe to HBO? I mean, really. Yes, royalties and syndication related stuff, copyrights management, “we have no business in your country”, you name it, ok, I can understand that. Who cares, who’s talking about “my country” again? You stay wherever it pleases you, I just want to pay for your service, your product; this is not a “my country your country” argument, it’s not about others, it’s about me. I want this, I want that. I, me, mine (it’s a cliché, please excuse me, I must quote some Beatles, every time, otherwise it wouldn’t be me).

I, for one, have subscribed to both, the brand-new streaming service HBO Now and The New Yorker, the digital & paper edition. While the latter has no problem at all accepting my money, I can definitely tell you that the road to HBO, and Netflix of course, is kinda long and winding (shut up). And it’s not like there are no competitors of The New Yorker in Italy (oh well, there are not, actually), nor the problem is that there ain’t no Condé Nast (its publisher) here in Milan, where I live, or lack of other publishers altogether. No, there’s no logical train of thought here. The studios and main digital stream service players in the market (like Hulu and Sling) are constantly playing against the globalised market paradigm, and my point is: it’s not their fault.

And the “globalised market paradigm” here is: we, the customers, just don’t care where you are, where we are, because “where” is at least nonsensical at the moment. Their failure, on the other hand, is not hidden in their business models (I mean, why wouldn’t they accept my money? It would be stupid not to), the point is that so far, while they’re struggling trying to cope with an overwhelming demand of their services and products, they must still bow to an anachronistic set of rules and “good morning sir, well done sir!” we designed several years ago for another kind of marketplace, another kind of marketing, another kind of customer and, eventually, another kind of society. Those days are so gone they don’t even mind, and gave up on suing people because of copyright infringement. They just don’t care anymore. Do you want to know who does care about it? The middle-men whose business is going to be disrupted in the upcoming years. They’re not wrong, they just can’t cope with it. Their fight is pointless, can you even recall Blockbuster? Somebody would say that the future is ineluctable. I don’t; I hate the “future”.

No question in my mind, it’s not something related to “the future”, the innovation, start-ups and start-uppers. I am really fed up with all those kind of things, to me is more like a social issue. A cultural one. We are in the middle of a dramatic change and for the very first time in human history we are writing it, shooting it and filming it as it happens. It’s messy and we know it.

Let me ask you something. Being an honest man, no felonies, pay my taxes, you get the picture, why can’t I live in Canada? Or Mexico. India. Massachusetts. UK. What’s the point? Why do I need to belong to some country? I don’t want to. I didn’t ask to. You might say: well, that’s the way it is. You know what? Things change. Really. Think about it. It’s just a convention. If they decide so, you’re no longer allowed to cross internal borders in less than a minute. Five minutes earlier you would have been 100% shot climbing and crossing the Berlin Wall, five minutes later it’s ok. People have been relying on these metrics since forever. My point is: customers don’t. I feel globalised enough, what do you think? I feel like I’m ready, my wishes are ready too, but neither nations nor markets are. And I know where I started all this, so: what about voters?

Ok, I just don’t know, this is simply too much. Too complicated and obviously insane and unpredictable, but somewhere, inside of me, and only because of (or thanks to) this new-me living in this very changing, on-going, society I am in, I have this understanding: as long as the President of the United States and US politics affects me and a lot of other people all around the world (and they have and they’re going to)(which I think is cool, but, you know…) there is room for me to picture myself as a registered voter. I mean: hypothetically I should be allowed to cast my vote, I should be allowed to have a say on my destiny. Like to donate 5 bucks to Hillary Clinton? Yes, why not. I know why not, I’m not that naïve, but you know, Netflix customer’s attitude “why not”. How far away is that society? Far. But are you getting it? Do you feel what I feel? Somewhere in the middle of these two positions, I know there’s something bigger than our rules and conventional standings. I know for sure.

Because the next question is: am I still Italian? You know, it’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just that I don’t care. Nobody will, eventually.