Intro: Pounding bass note and a stirring fanfare of horns. Welcome to another edition of Things to Think about. Here's Stacy. The horns continue with a keyboard note held.
Relaxing piano music is in the background. Welcome to the Things To Think About Podcast where we use fables and fairy tales to come to deeper truths about our subconscious world. I’m Stacy Casson and today’s story explores the spectacle of modern life. We are inundated with information and shiny objects that trigger our fear of missing out. We will dive into this topic in a tale I call, “Viral.” And now, get comfortable and relax. Take a Deep Breathe in and exhale. A Deep Breath in, and exhale. A Deep breath in and exhale. And if you'd like, you can slowly...close...your eyes.
Once upon a time, Dani received a text from a friend. “Hey Dani, have you seen this video?” Dani texted back, “I know you, what is it about?” Their friend responded, “you have to see it to believe it! It’s a train wreck and you can’t look away.” “Not interested, thanks.” Dani had watched one of those viral videos years ago and they still remembered it. The footage was awful and they never wanted to see anything like it again. Delete. Ding! Beep! and the sound of twinkling bells alerted Dani to a cacophony of notifications. Their feed was post after post about this darn video. Dani admitted being curious but definitely thought better of it after the visceral response that the other video drew.
Dani decided to do some research. Typing in what tidbits they could piece together from the comments, they found some recaps about what had transpired from a few credible sources. It sounded even worse than the other video if that were possible. “I’m definitely not gonna to watch it,” Dani resolved. “Hello?” Dani said answering the phone. It was an unrecognized number and they steeled themselves for a round of Troll the Telemarketer. “Hello, I’m with VRL, have you seen the video?” “The one that everyone is talking about?” Dani asked? “Yes! Powerful footage, I’m sure you agree that those loonies are besmirching that poor man.” Dani was confused. “Are you talking about the same video?” and went on to recap what she had read. “Yes! The voice on the other end responded. “We need to act quickly to protect him.” “I’m sorry, I don’t think we are on the same page. From what I read, it was heinous and unnecessary. Good day.” Cellphones just do not give you that satisfying “thunk” when you hang up on somebody.
“Hey Ma, hey Clarice, I’m here,” Dani yelled turning the key and stepping inside. Efficiently placing some takeout food on the counter, Dani grabbed some plates and silverware and then went to see her parents. “Dani, thank goodness you’re here.” “Mom aren’t you being a little melodramatic, it only took fifteen minutes to pick up the food. “No silly! Clarice and I have been so worried. Didn’t you see that video?” “Ma, not you too. From what I read it’s pretty bad and it looks like they are going to get away with it.” Dani shared some of the analysis with their parents and was met with distrustful looks. “Surely you can’t think they are innocent,” Dani sputtered. “They are patriots,” mom retorted. “What was going on,” Dani thought. Her friends, that weird caller, and now both her parents.
Back at home, Dani fired up the old laptop. The news had been reporting that the video was a deep fake and that he and his followers were innocent. This made no sense. Dani had been sure to find credible sources with first-hand accounts. None of this made sense. Social media was nothing but talk about the video. Dani read the comments and DM’d a few people that seemed to hold the opinion that it was a heinous crime. “Hey, I didn’t watch the video based on what I read, but I too think it was awful. How did you reach your conclusion?” None of the dissenters had watched the video. Curiouser and curiouser. Ding dong! The door camera popped up on the laptop. It was a man in a uniform holding some kind of portable monitor and across the street were more of them. Thankfully the blinds were closed so Dani stayed quiet until he left. Turning the news back on, Dani felt the first tendrils of true fear. They had declared martial law and put him in charge. Without warning a video started playing. It was surreal and unsettling. Dani’s finger hovered on the remote.
Would you watch the video? Humans are very curious beings. We want to be in the know and make connections. We should also be cautious about what we consume. And now, you can take a deep breath in and exhale. A deep breath in and exhale. Deep breath in, and exhale. And when you’re ready, wiggle your toes, wiggle your fingers, and slowly open your eyes. If you are enjoying this podcast, help me go viral. Just kidding, but seriously, please subscribe and never miss an episode.
Closing: Closing jazzy keyboard and thrumming bass. Hope you enjoyed today's segment. Tell a friend. See you next time. Music fades.