Mr. Robot letters to a media-gullible generation

Artwork by Priyanka Selvar

Hello friend. Yes, you. I see you.

I see how you are plugged into those headphones on the morning commute to work. How you attempt to hide your social awkwardness with the pages of a book, or even social media. Is anything even real? Or have we been indoctrinated to buy into the fallacy of digital affiliation?

The humdrum of 21st-century living; interconnected and more amalgamated than ever, yet so distant. Elliot Alderson, the stone-face square-jawed protagonist of the hit cyber-vigilante TV series Mr. Robot played by the suave Rami Malek; the perfect motif for the modern-day anti-hero, Batman of the current age, always hiding behind a mask, lurking in the shadows.


“For how long can we continue hiding behind our computers, masking our identities with false visual imageries and digital identities? Are we truly who we present on the internet? Who are we really?”

I confess – I had a bit of a crush the moment I laid eyes on Elliot. His monotonous speech patterns, that signature black hoodie… I especially revere beats in scenes where Elliot’s inner thoughts are contrasted against his verbal responses, and how he questions our moral and civic systems and rebuts the words from his perturbed therapist with nonchalant expressions.

Never has the truth of modern society been blatantly questioned and listed in a visually enticing experience, almost putting off audiences towards an uncomfortable trajectory, leaving you with twisted guts and infinite questions about the system. Since when did television delve deep into themes related to mental health, a rising topic of interest amongst millennials and youths of this generation?

Have we truly been beguiled by the media and financial conglomerates of the world? Have we bought into payrolls and idealism? Who is truly in control? These are the questions I reflect on at the end of every episode.

Mr. Robot heralds a shift in home entertainment, exploring psychological issues such as social anxiety, dissociative identity disorder, and clinical depression. For how long can we continue hiding behind our computers, masking our identities with false visual imageries and digital identities? Are we truly who we present on the internet? Who are we really?

Also, praise for its ability to inculcate spirited characters who deal with singular events differently with various defense and coping mechanisms. For Angela Moss, it is repetitive confession. For Joanna Wellick, sadomasochism. And for the beloved Elliot Alderson, delusions, drugs and a myriad of therapy sessions. The beauty of it all is watching a group of vigilantes attain power and struggle to handle the pressure.

I love Mr. Robot’s refreshing honesty and candid reflection of the current state of our society, a natatorium of caged animals with struggling identities. The shows catechises viewers to rethink and recalculate the value systems and beliefs we have been brought up in, to question the daily habits of commercialism we have bought into.

Mr. Robot essentially comes down to this: never believe entirely in society’s man-made systems and question the media and materials we so facilely consume. Choose the lens from which you view things, for it is from it that you see clearly. Question everything.

 

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