Joe Bob's America

The Loneliness of the Cord Cutter

July 12, 2018

In other words, they believe not just that drive-ins are dead, or movie theaters are dead, or live performance spaces are dead—they believe the animus behind Epidaurus itself is no longer needed by our inner psyches. Analysts who follow the stock are constantly talking about “cord cutters,” meaning people who abandon traditional television in order to have menu-based services like Netflix. The future, they say, is one person at a time, one device at a time, one singular piece of “content” at a time. (Not movies, not films, not plays, not stories—they always call it content as though all media are the same, all forms of expression the same, all of it just parts of one big digital grab in the basket called content.)

I don’t think so.

This weekend, thanks to the Shudder TV streaming service, we’re going to try something insane. We’re going to ask people to show up at a particular time for a 24-hour horror marathon that can’t be streamed or downloaded. We’re going to ask people to join with us on social media as we watch the movies together, as a group, in real time. We’re even going to interrupt the movies, put them on pause, so we can talk about them. If you consult the Bible of streaming, which says that the whole appeal to the cord cutter is that he can download anything at any time and watch, alone, on any device, on his own idiosyncratic schedule, then this is heresy and madness. That’s because the Bible of streaming focuses on only one side of the entertainment equation—the “content.” I’m gonna focus on the other side—the audience hungry for shared experience—and I’ll probably lose, but in the meantime, please call me Joe “Polykleitos the Younger” Bob.

Polykleitos is the guy who built Epidaurus. He knew it wasn’t just about content.

Join Joe Bob as he hosts The Last Drive-In With Joe Bob Briggs, a 24-hour movie marathon streaming on Shudder starting at 9 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. PDT this July 13, 2018.


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