"Something else we’ve lost is the Slacker ability to slack. The internet presents itself as quasi-entertainment, all the time, even if what you’re doing is monetized, tracked, and encouraging of further quantifiable interaction. Simply put, it is no longer a giant, free hub of interaction. Instead, it’s the most efficient way business has to colonize our attention and monetize our daily lives. As Jonathan Crary writes in his fantastic book 24/7, “Billions of dollars are spent every year researching how to reduce decision-making time, how to reduce the useless time of reflection and contemplation. This is the form of contemporary progress—the relentless capture and control of time and experience.” He continues, “An attention economy dissolves the separation between the personal and the professional, between entertainment and information, all overridden by a compulsory functionality of communication that is inherently and inescapably 24/7.”
Having so much of our experiences forced online means that most of our lives are inescapably subject to the quantify/monetize logos. Could one wander, unnoticed, along the fringes of society if one wanted to? Is it even possible to work half-ass at a McJob in order to spend your free time reading Maldoror out of the line of sight of someone trying to make a buck off of you? And most importantly, are young people even interested in that sort of autonomy anymore? Perhaps the most disturbing thing about my generation is how we’ve defined rebellion down, blurring its edges and oversimplifying it so it somehow still collates with online exposure. Millions of preening young people, posturing for one another, with no gesture unquantifiable and nothing learned that the algorithm hasn’t taught them.
For me, Slacker is a melancholy artifact of what we’ve lost over the last 30 years. It’s still recognizable in many ways. People continue to fret over climate change and analyze pop culture to death like the characters in the film do. Watching it now, though, you can’t help but feel that we’ve traded older, deeper notions of freedom for a frenzied simulacrum of autonomy and monetized attention spans."