A verbose tapestry of communication.... 2:06 long.
Twenty-six years ago  Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park was released. It took very little time for Hollywood to jump on it. Less than three years after the book hit shelves, back when there were shelves in bookstores, Jurassic Park, the Steven Spielberg film, debuted.
The book was instantly a favorite of mine. The surface text was compelling, the subtext was enthralling, albeit at times a bit “on the nose.” When the movie came out, I remember finally understanding when people would complain about the book being so much better than the movie.  Still, once I could put my love of the book aside from the movie, the film was appealing.
Designer Mike Hill at the “Trojan Horse was a Unicorn” conference in Berlin recently did an impressive job of deconstructing the subtext of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. He compares it to the recent Jurassic World film which I didn’t see. According to Hill, Jurassic World has all of the subtext that one assumes it has based on the trailer.
The High Concept, Allegories, and Symbols
According to Hill, both movies take the same high concept, “What if we could clone dinosaurs?” and run in completely different directions.
In Jurassic World it is taken literally, “How many dinosaurs can we have onscreen?”
Jurassic Park makes the high concept secondary to a human story and makes the dinosaurs a symbolic tool.
Jurassic World simply has characters that do stuff randomly around visual effects dinosaurs. In Jurassic Park the visual effects dinosaurs are specifically doing things to support the narrative of the allegory which is becoming parents.
If you look at the high concept about cloning dinosaurs then the big questions are what kind of responsibilities are involved in creating life. The same questions are being played in the allegorical thread which is creating children. “Can we be responsible for life?”
And when the T-rex escapes from his fence when the power goes out:
[Dr. Grant’s] psychological fear of commitment just escaped from his cage. And now he has to face up to real commitment to the children.
Given a recent addition to my family this dissection of a film I remember well – but at the time didn’t remotely see the depth of the subtext – comes at a fortuitous time for the text and subtext of my life.
There are no real spoilers for Jurassic World in this video though plenty for Jurassic Park. It took me three days to get through Hill’s presentation due to its length, sneaking a few minutes here and there, but I’m glad I did.
28:41 long. Unfortunately poor audio quality at times. (Paradoxically for a presentation about parenting, inappropriate language used make it not suitable for all audiences.)
Yes, really, 26 years ago. ↩
Though nothing, as I recall, in the book, was “on the nose” as much as the lawyer Gennaro being eaten by the T-rex while sitting on a toilet. ↩
The John Hammond of the book was a capitalistic jerk whose motivations were squarely with the bottom line. They landed him at the bottom of a hill eaten by compys, as opposed to the altruistic, stereotypical grandfather visionary of the film. But Lex is still annoying in the book, too. ↩
I’d never heard of it either. The most telling description I could find was a cross between a TED conference and Burning Man. ↩
They will remember
The inevitable sequel where the robot gets up and punches the bearded guy in the face will be coming sooner than you think. 2:41 long.
Visions of the Future
I spent six months living about ten feet from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. While I was there they were running the Mars Sojourner mission. You never knew when, at random times throughout the day, a rocket would go off in the hills, a helicopter would land, or deafening siren would go off.
JPL has commissioned a series of free posters designed by Invisible Creature, made to inspire "generations of innovators and explorers." A laudable idea with some mixed results. The serif/sans-serif dichotomy is "interesting." I wish the Kepler-16b and Earth posters didn't have that weird descender on the "r." Without the distracting "r" the Kepler-16b poster would be my favorite.
The Titan poster is gorgeous. Europa's foreground silhouette on the right is distracting and if it's a reference I don't get it.
Be sure to click on the posters to read about the places.
The BBC is dissolving their television and radio divisions. It sounds like the shake up is prompted more because of internal politics and, quite possibly, graft than a re-jiggering based on the changing landscape of media. Regardless, this is interesting to think that a major media outlet may actually be restructuring to take into account how people are now consuming media.
How I Consume Media
I have never had access to cable or satellite television in the home. Furthermore, for the last quarter century terrestrial television has not been in the house either. All of the limited visual media our household consumes has been coming through our internet connection. Netflix and iTunes store downloads are our two main, and nearly only, methods of viewing video content.
The Rise of the Hammer
Simultaneously knocking down the old and building the new, video over the internet is to old media as the telegraph was to the carrier pigeon. Some interesting stats on YouTube alone, emphasis mine:
YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18–34 and 18–49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
The Writing on the Wall
Large entities are slow to change, users are slow to change. But the demographic most open to change, the youngest, is the only demographic one really needs to go after if you’re in it for the long haul. Trying to stay ahead of the curve is a far more enviable position than staving off irrelevance.
In my household we haven’t missed television at all in its more traditional form. Anecdotally the majority of video content that kids today, the next generation, enjoy comes through YouTube.
Hopefully the shake up at the BBC is a success and paves the way for other media outlets to follow suit. No one wants to be the first to bet the farm. The means by which the media organizations of today can stay relevant are the very means by which they have seen their prominence diminish.
It took Apple, whose juggernaut iTunes inaugurated successful internet distributed music, years to shift to a streaming subscription plan with their huge Beats music acquisition to later come out with Apple Music. ↩
I still buy music through iTunes and don’t use or subscribe to any music streaming service. ↩
About a year ago Google released the YouTube Kids app. They saw the writing on the wall too. ↩
Bye-bye newspapers. ↩