The good Wife Is the Most Tech-Savvy Show on TV from Anonymous to Bitcoin
“Do you realize whom Aaron Swartz is?” asks lawyer that is digital-rights Stack. He answers their own concern: ” The pc activist whom committed committing committing suicide after a campaign that is unrelenting federal prosecutors to imprison him. In the memory, i am wanting to organize an action that is class prosecutorial overcharging.”
Now, bear in mind, this is on a tv show—and perhaps perhaps not some sober-minded PBS documentary about Swartz. It had beenn’t also cable news or perhaps a geek-centered sitcom like the major Bang Theory. This is, in reality, a sleek legal procedural drama on community tv: the nice Wife, a CBS show about legal counsel, Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies), starting its 5th period this Sunday.
Though putatively in regards to the legislation (and Florrick’s dealings along with her Eliot Spitzer-like spouse), the great Wife is becoming revered among geeks, as well as for valid reason: it provides the deftest depiction of technology on television. In reality, it may possibly be the most readily useful force for digital literacy in pop tradition at this time.
Look at the episode stated earlier: It starts with a rape test by which a school that is high tweets angrily in regards to the football player accused of assaulting her. She actually is jailed for contempt, therefore the instance falters until—in an echo of this real-world Steubenville rape case—the activist that is online Anonymous leakages a cellular phone video clip showing the accused rapist laughing at rape jokes in regards to a blow-up doll. Anonymous people reveal up in court, making a spectacle. Meanwhile, Florrick and her team wrestle with a number of concerns: Can faceless, anarchic activists that are online trusted? Just how do phonecams alter a criminal activity similar to this, since released videos run as both proof and a unlawful work in by themselves? What’s the legal standing of the image that is viral?
The plot ended up being ripped through the headlines, however the Good Wife went deeply to the weeds in thinking how technology transforms life that is everyday. That is not the example that is only.
Eike Schroter/Photofest: Due To Samsung
Within one episode, Florrick utilizes the transnational nature of Twitter to thwart Uk libel legislation. An additional, the show reveals an energy-drink business that employs shills to create feedback on anorexia-glorifying “pro-Ana” websites. The wife that is good once sued a Google-like internet search engine for juking the positions of the voice-recognition pc computer software business, within an episode en en titled “Two Girls, One Code.” (most useful minute: The apparently senile, hard-of-hearing judge instantly reveals angry technology skillz. “An attribute-based link-analysis is perhaps maybe not a shut system,” he lectures during the defendant’s lawyer.)
One episode also mused Talmudically on the appropriate and governmental concept of Bitcoin.
Whenever the show comes back this autumn, plotlines includes telepresence robots as well as an episode motivated by Redditors’ bungled tries to determine the Boston bombers. TV shows and films, needless to say, have actually very long utilized electronic tools and real-life techie occasions as plot points—but seldom with much nuance.
television USUALLY PORTRAYS TECH AS IMPLAUSIBLY SUPERPOWERED OR ALARMINGLY HAZARDOUS.
Generally in most programs, technology is painted as either implausibly superpowered (“Wait—enhance that image!”) or alarmingly dangerous. Procedurals have already been specific offenders. On legislation & Order, the web is certainly caused by only a shadowy spot where teenagers are lured with their death. On individual of great interest, government agencies utilize pervasive surveillance technology to anticipate malintent with pinpoint precision.
The Good Wife prevents this Manichaean trap. This can be likely as a result of the undeniable fact that the show’s creators and showrunners, husband-and-wife group Robert and Michelle King, are curious nerds. “I’m simply interested in exactly just how culture is evolving through social network therefore the impact of Silicon Valley on nearly every element of life,” claims Robert King. Their objective is certainly not in order to make a polemical instance for or against technology, he adds. “The show does not you will need to damn things, because I do not believe that’s truth. The improvements getting used in a totalitarian culture like Asia may also be used to prompt the spring that is arab foreign brides. Social media had been managed really simplistically on television. We thought it could be made by us our personal.”
Most of exactly exactly how technology plays into the real life is a question of message acts—a normal topic for a good show about solicitors. “Words would be the tools on appropriate shows,” King says. Plus, the show’s authors’ space is filled up with tech-curious kinds; author Corinne Brinkerhoff conceived associated with the Bitcoin episode after becoming interested in the money system that is alternative.
For theoretically advanced people, it is enjoyable to possess viewing that is sunday-night knows its method around Search Engine Optimization and crypto. It will make TV better. But we’d argue that the great Wife’s effect is much deeper than that. It possibly makes reality better.
Fictive depictions of technology are influential. television and films have traditionally shaped just just how people realize the world—and more crucial, the way they misunderstand it.
For example, the parade of wicked hackers in Hollywood movies look a lot more effective compared to truth. But politicians have actually taken care of immediately the film form of blackhat programmers, passing regulations that clamp down on also innocuous computer task. The Reagan-era Congress had been therefore frightened by the cartoonish hacker exploits in War Games so it passed sweeping computer-crime laws and regulations nevertheless utilized being a bludgeon today that is legal. Recently, the prosecutors of Bradley Manning invoked these tropes that are tired. They stated the usage of basic Unix commands—and white-on-black, DOS-style displays—was inherently nefarious, because hey: Isn’t that just just how hackers look on TV? When you look at the ’30s we had “reefer madness” films; the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls this “hacker madness.”
This is exactly why the Wife that is good is a blast of much-needed air. I would ike to think we are able to evaluate social modification calmly and dispassionately, that individuals can map the contours of y our digital globe by parsing trenchant nonfiction and maintaining up-to-date with the headlines.
But we are narrative animals. Tales matter; fiction matters. enjoy it or otherwise not, they are where literacy—and that is digital. If individuals are planning to add up of exactly just just how technology changes culture, we desperately require smart tales and smart tale-tellers.
The great Wife is really a perfectly entertaining procedural, however if it manages to show individuals the meanings behind a technical culture, therefore much the higher.