What: An uncanny comedic impression of a very specific burgeoning archetype.
Who: The Tonight Show writer Rachel Wenitsky.
Why we care: It’s been a full decade since a narrative film about the creation of Facebook earned universal praise from critics and viewers (but somehow lost Best Picture at the Academy Awards to The King’s Speech, a movie that barely still exists). At the time, the general sentiment around social media was much, much different than it is today. Facebook was highly addictive, annoyingly ever-changing, and it made users feel bad sometimes for a laundry list of reasons. It was not yet, however, the perfect tool for dismantling privacy, traditional media, and democracy itself.
Now that social media has destroyed both society and media, we’ve moved on from creation myth movies to chronicles about what went wrong. Documentaries like The Great Hack and Netflix’s new The Social Dilemma lay bare many of the inherent problems with social media, using statistics, dramatizations, and wide-ranging interviews. Such films are quickly starting to become so familiar that certain cliches have begun to emerge, one of which has just been crystalized in amber by a comedian’s hilarious impression.
Tonight Show writer Rachel Wenitsky released a front-facing video on Twitter earlier this week, deftly capturing the feigned naiveté of former tech employees accounting for their actions. For some reason, it never seems to occur to them that they are eagerly participating in the corrosion of civilization. Not only does Wenitsky have down cold this archetype’s hard-to-believe confessions, she also uses the kind of overly dramatic phrasing that gives these documentaries unearned gravity at times.
Have a look below at the video that is destined to make the editors on these documentaries cringe in recognition and perhaps curb the performance of future interviewees.
A former tech employee in a documentary about why social media is bad (social media is bad) pic.twitter.com/yeB3MbRLii
— Rachel Wenitsky (@RachelWenitsky) September 22, 2020