Are You Still Watching?

February 8th, 2023

Let’s talk about Netflix.

I’m going to take a break from my topics this month to address the announcement that they will no longer allow people to share their passwords.

The reactions are what you would expect: people claim it’s a bad move, and Netflix itself will be hurt after they implement the new guidelines.

But here’s what I see: most, if not all, of the people complaining, who think this is a terrible play, are the same people who are using somebody else’s Netflix account.

So, what exactly are they going to do? How will they boycott?

Will they just… continue to not pay for Netflix?

Oh, no.

I wanted to think of an analogy to help people understand this. I work in a restaurant, so framing things in that context comes naturally.

Imagine you are a server, and you are waiting on four people. At the end of their meal, they ask you to split the check evenly.

You run two credit cards. You look at the first slip, and there is a tip added relative to their half of the bill. You look at the second slip, and they have left you nothing.

“Wtf?” you ask.

“Well,” the second patron says, “my friend here already tipped you, so that’s good enough for the whole table.”

You fume. How dare they? Four people utilized your service, so you should be compensated accordingly. That is so obvious.

And you would go home and vent to your partner about these cheapskates and then log into your second cousin’s Netflix account that half of your extended family uses and not for one second realize the cognitive dissonance of your existence.

“Bro,” you say, “why are you sticking up for a billionaire company?”

I’m not. I’m standing up for the artists and craftspeople who are always the first to be stolen from.

I want to be clear: I believe people have rights. We need to eat, to have shelter, to feel safe. Exactly zero people on this planet have a “right” to watch the new season of Stranger Things.

People create these things. They work for it. And in a capitalistic society, they deserve to be compensated for it. And if Americans love anything, it’s capitalism; our idiotic obsession we’ve been brainwashed into over countless generations.

When it comes to what AMC is doing, by charging higher prices for better seats in their movie theaters, I side with Elijah Wood: it rewards people with more money, and punishes people who have less.

But that is the pinnacle of capitalism, living its best life, doing exactly what it was made to do.

Maybe our hyper-capitalism isn’t the flex we think it is.

Piracy is bad. Stealing is bad. No matter what kind of society we have, this seems obvious.

The fact that so many people can have strong feelings towards their own theft as a positive force just reinforces why we can’t have any nice things.

And when it comes to considering what we can steal, art is always the first thing we take; for some people, they genuinely, inexplicably feel like it’s a victimless crime.

And maybe it is, like when someone is paid for half their work, whatever that work might be. They still got paid, a little.

And who among us isn’t broke?

Who actually suffers when we’re all a victim of the society we hold up?

Netflix should do a show about that. Except, at this rate, there may be no subscribers left to watch it.

Published by dennisvogen

I'm me, of course. Or am I?

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