Winter is coming, and lockdown has already been here for a while, so many of us are finding ourselves shut up at home with a lot of reflection time on our hands. Brno Daily’s Joe Emerson shares his thoughts about time well spent in isolation, with some time-killing recommendations for anyone who has too much of it.
So the lockdown is afoot, there’s a crisis on our hands, and the rest of the body is more than likely on the sofa! Although dawdling away the winter days playing “Is it a cold or is it the plague?” can be a lot of fun, I think it’s important to try and find some glimmers of sunshine through the current covid-induced cloud of despair. Finding new ways to entertain ourselves whilst locked in our isolation booths can certainly be tough…
So, to skill up or to procrastinate? That is the age-old question that has been plaguing lazy boys and girls since the dawn of… most mornings! And until I find the energy to finally stand up and join “Sofa-Loafers Anonymous”, I will most likely remain here as a “Lounge Lizard Lobbyist”. After all, it’s not a hard job and everybody’s doing it. Of course, there’s always some time allotted for drifting into the meaningless meme stream, but I’m a little worried about drowning in it. Obtaining knowledge via books, online courses, documentaries and so on, seems like the wiser choice, even though I still often fail and fall headfirst into the perpetual procrastination pit!
For those of you who may have had your fill of the usual popcorn blockbuster movies, binge-friendly series and B-movie throwbacks, here are a few documentary alternatives that I’ve stumbled upon when dull-skull scrolling through the latest offerings on Netflix…
1. Knock Down the House
Follow four courageous and optimistic Democrat women on the campaign trail, out to take on the “Skeksis” of Congress! (Dark Crystal reference)
We get a fly-on-the-wall insight into the day-to-day running of these progressive, non-conformist, grassroots campaigns. A more meaningful real dialogue is observed throughout, via intimate conversations with constituents, rather than big show rallies with boatloads of scripted buzzwords.
The majority of the doc charts the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), an activist who previously worked as a waitress and bartender before running for US Congress in 2018
AOC is a true inspiration, calmly speaking out for the values of decency, democracy, equality and fairness that this world so desperately needs. She speaks bluntly and passionately about world issues such as climate change and economic inequality. She is uncowed by the establishment and is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise polluted political atmos-fear.
2. The Social Dilemma
What’s your personal algorithm? This doc features interviews with current and former employees of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others, shedding terrifying light on the tactics used by our Big (friendly) Brothers in social media, who are harvesting our data for their own nefarious purposes. Yes, we all kind of know what’s happening, but this documentary presents the situation in enormous scary detail.
Favourite Scary Quotes:
“If you’re not paying for the product, then you’re the product.”
“There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.”
“Social media is a marketplace that trades exclusively in human futures”
Brief 30-minute documentaries that combine interviews, infographics and music to explain a wide range of topics, such as “The Future of Meat”, “Cults”, “The Next Pandemic” and so on. Sometimes the pace makes it hard to catch every fact, but I appreciate the concise bite-size information they serve up. Even if they don’t go to “Mariana Trench” depths, it’s still relatively informative.
4. The Last Dance
The story of Michael Jordan’s rise and last season with the Chicago Bulls. This is really well put together, jumping back and forth from Jordan’s early seasons to the last hurrah, with interviews from all of the big names. Addictive and enthralling. Absolutely no need to be a basketball fan to enjoy. Highly recommended!
Favourite Moment: Michael Jordan traveling to Vegas to drag Dennis Rodman out of bed for the finals. This man is pure entertainment! Yeah, he was often late…but always delivered something special on the court, hence being given special “Rodman Privileges” by the coach. A “play hard, play harder” motto seems to reign supreme for Rodman!
5. A Life on this Planet
Billed as “David Attenborough’s witness statement”, the message of this documentary hones in on the severity of climate change for future generations, as we watch the waves rise and start to feel a flood of regret! If anything is going to make me take climate change even more seriously, it’s David Attenborough telling me that we’re in trouble!!
As you can imagine, this is not the jolliest of documentary outings, with lost species, uninhabitable lands, irreversible damage, all supported by terrifying facts and figures. If I could measure the importance of the message conveyed in this documentary, I would score it around 7 billion on the “Lifeometer” scale. Must watch!
I would love to hear other recommendations, educate me, please! I have a lot to learn and also nothing else to watch!