31 votes

Bo Burnham - Welcome to the Internet (2021)

20 comments

  1. [6]
    cloud_loud
    (edited )
    Link
    I’ve been wanting to talk about Bo Burnham’s Inside for a while. Specifically, the extremely online element of it. People on twitter have been falling head over heels for it, but I think a large...

    I’ve been wanting to talk about Bo Burnham’s Inside for a while. Specifically, the extremely online element of it.

    People on twitter have been falling head over heels for it, but I think a large portion of them are missing a very important message Burnham is sending.

    Burnham has shown that he’s not that great of a fan of the internet and people being really online. Somewhere in this long-form interview he gets asked about twitter and trump and that whole mess. I’ll loosely paraphrase what he said: “What is the point of this? You’re not gonna fight Trump by tweeting nicer things. You’re not gonna out tweet trump. Tweeting isn’t doing anything, and you’re all just feeding into this cyclical thing.” And he says it with great passion. He clearly thinks being extremely online is worthless.

    Which brings me to the special, a lot of people keep sharing him with the sock puppet who repeats leftist talking points. The puppet points out somewhat accurate things so people keep sharing screenshots of it saying Burnham is “based.” What they don’t understand is that, while I’m sure Burnham agrees with a lot of the points, is that he’s making fun of this type of extreme person that you’d find on twitter. A twitter leftist who offers nothing but empty vague socialist platitudes and doesn’t actually do anything to help and is actually kind of annoying. He’s poking fun at the person who thinks tweeting about workers owning the means of production is doing anything meaningful.

    There’s also more obvious examples of Burnham criticizing the extremely online like the song posted here. But it seems like the extremely online aren’t getting the message.

    18 votes
    1. [2]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      You assume they’re actually watching it instead of drawing conclusions based on memes and hearsay. But memes and hearsay is all they do. If they ever bothered directly engaging with anything for...

      But it seems like the extremely online aren’t getting the message.

      You assume they’re actually watching it instead of drawing conclusions based on memes and hearsay. But memes and hearsay is all they do. If they ever bothered directly engaging with anything for themselves instead of floating into the current they wouldn’t be so annoying.

      7 votes
      1. cloud_loud
        Link Parent
        That explains why they kept sharing the same four screenshots. You know, I’ve been extremely online and it does not feel good. It doesn’t feel good to have the attention span of a goldfish, and it...

        That explains why they kept sharing the same four screenshots.

        You know, I’ve been extremely online and it does not feel good. It doesn’t feel good to have the attention span of a goldfish, and it doesn’t feel good looking at memes all day.

        4 votes
    2. umbrae
      Link Parent
      I totally agree. You clearly know since you linked to an interview surrounding it, but for those who don’t, Bo Burnham also directed Eighth Grade which also deals with the same themes and how...

      I totally agree. You clearly know since you linked to an interview surrounding it, but for those who don’t, Bo Burnham also directed Eighth Grade which also deals with the same themes and how social media is hard on kids growing up.

      I haven’t listened to the interview yet, but I think there’s another layer here too around how Bo became huge based on social media. I think he is completely worthy of the accolades, but I know many folks who make it have huge impostor syndrome and can feel like their success was largely driven by luck. He mentions this a bit in Inside as well. I could see that dovetailing with criticism of social media very well: “why me?”

      That’s not to say his criticism isn’t valid FWIW, it just may fuel his fire a little.

      6 votes
    3. somewaffles
      Link Parent
      Thanks for posting this interview, really good stuff. That last 10 minutes he spends ranting about the idea of our emotions and wellbeing being streamlined was pretty amazing and sums up my...

      Thanks for posting this interview, really good stuff. That last 10 minutes he spends ranting about the idea of our emotions and wellbeing being streamlined was pretty amazing and sums up my thought on the downsides of social media. I'd love to see an interview of similar length where he discusses similar topics (rather than his movie, which was great too.)

      4 votes
    4. thundergolfer
      Link Parent
      Boy he's fired up at the end. Good interview.

      "It's the mediums. It's the mediums..."

      Boy he's fired up at the end. Good interview.

      3 votes
  2. vegai
    (edited )
    Link
    I would suggest watching Inside (https://www.netflix.com/title/81289483) as a whole and not just this one piece from the middle of it. I mean, you're not gonna ruin your life by watching this...

    I would suggest watching Inside (https://www.netflix.com/title/81289483) as a whole and not just this one piece from the middle of it. I mean, you're not gonna ruin your life by watching this first and the special afterwards, but it seems to me that the different parts tie together so well that the first time experience will be better if you just go for the whole piece.

    13 votes
  3. elcuello
    (edited )
    Link
    I have watched A LOT of stand up through the years and although this specials might be pushing the genre I've never experienced anyone come close to affecting me like this. He really is one of the...

    I have watched A LOT of stand up through the years and although this specials might be pushing the genre I've never experienced anyone come close to affecting me like this. He really is one of the greats.

    10 votes
  4. [2]
    moocow1452
    Link
    From Bo Burnham's recent special, Inside.

    From Bo Burnham's recent special, Inside.

    9 votes
    1. UniquelyGeneric
      Link Parent
      Regarding Inside, it's definitely a certain kind of mood, but it's extremely well executed for what it is. The songs are all well produced, and the cinematography makes so much out of such little...

      Regarding Inside, it's definitely a certain kind of mood, but it's extremely well executed for what it is. The songs are all well produced, and the cinematography makes so much out of such little space.

      While the "comedy" special is certainly rife with existential dread and dark humor, it was also an insightful reflection on quarantine that feels very poignant with the US re-emerging from our collective homes. The lyrics cut deep and capture the bizarre reality we've all been living through, but the experience may not be for the faint of heart.

      It certainly put a weight on my mind afterwards that I thought I had gotten over from a year ago, so be prepared to be in a funk if you choose to see it. That being said, I am glad I did witness this magnum opus of Bo's.

      9 votes
  5. [2]
    thundergolfer
    Link
    I was definitely creeped out a little, and wanted to stay away from the Internet after listening. I think that was the intended effect?

    I was definitely creeped out a little, and wanted to stay away from the Internet after listening. I think that was the intended effect?

    8 votes
    1. dubteedub
      Link Parent
      Yes, that is definitely the intent of the song, and lots of the special overall. My favorite song in the special is Hands Up (All Eyes on Me) that comes as the second to last song in the special....

      Yes, that is definitely the intent of the song, and lots of the special overall.

      My favorite song in the special is Hands Up (All Eyes on Me) that comes as the second to last song in the special. One of the opening lines is:

      Are you feeling nervous? Are you having fun?
      It's almost over, it's just begun
      Don't overthink this, look in my eye
      Don't be scared, don't be shy
      Come on in, the water's fine
      

      I think this whole song can be interpreted in many ways, on dealing with mental illness (which is a huge theme throughout the special), on the existential dread of living in the year 2021, but is also somewhat of a meta commentary on the special itself.

      He is asking if you are feeling nervous watching his special because its meant to make you uncomfortable. He has constant extremely sharp and jarring transitions and cuts throughout the special that leave you uneasy. These cuts often come right at the end of a comedy segment that prevent you from taking that last moment or two to appreciate the content of what is being discussed before jumping right into the next bit. This is also what the whiplash of the internet can feel like. We often just jump right from one piece of content to another without taking the time for reflection and understanding.

      I really loved this special. It was dark, crushing, and really beautiful. I have not watched Bo's work before, but I was really blown away.

      6 votes
  6. [8]
    Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    This is great. I can picture 'meme' images like this, this, this or all the statistics about young people's mental health slump flashing in the background when he says "now look at you." And, as...

    This is great. I can picture 'meme' images like this, this, this or all the statistics about young people's mental health slump flashing in the background when he says "now look at you." And, as someone who rarely uses my phone less than 10 hours in any day, it's amazing how literally the phrase "anything and everything all of the time" can be interpreted.

    My only question is when he talks about the internet "circa '99", he transitions to people waiting for you. Is this just where he transitions to critiquing poor/unknowing parenting practices or is there some extra context I'm missing?

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      TemulentTeatotaler
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      A guess would be that it is pointing to the time Google (beta in '98, moved to Palo Alto in '99) blew up. Google was a bit of a paradigm shift into what the modern internet is, where "engagement"...

      A guess would be that it is pointing to the time Google (beta in '98, moved to Palo Alto in '99) blew up.

      Google was a bit of a paradigm shift into what the modern internet is, where "engagement" is optimized through various signals being fed into an algorithm with the goal of sucking you in to their platform. The old paradigm (through rose-colored glasses) might be thought of as more human-curated.

      The 2 year-old in 1999 would grow up having some of the biggest companies with the brightest people engineering ways of addicting or manipulating them.

      *Which would make the "we" the Googles/Facebooks/Baidus of the world, the data/surveillance capitalists.

      The criticism from Bo would be directed at the increasing sophistication of technology that can understand and undermine our squishy human parts.

      Cambridge Analytica can figure out how best to appeal to the 80k voters in the U.S. that other models say are the relevant swing voters and everyone is worse off for it. Without that technology you'd have to guess at what is desirable to a lot of people instead of persuasive to an individual.

      Similarly, Facebook can figure out exactly how annoying they can be with ads without having you leave, and they may realize that getting you angry is actually increasing your engagement.

      7 votes
      1. Kuromantis
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Ah, that makes sense. So not saying "your parents made the stupid decision of letting you use the internet at 2 and paid for it" (probably because people likely didn't know better then but I don't...

        Ah, that makes sense. So not saying "your parents made the stupid decision of letting you use the internet at 2 and paid for it" (probably because people likely didn't know better then but I don't know and can only guess) and more "your parents [probably unknowingly] left you to be used by massive tech companies by letting you use the internet as a child and those companies have made you into what they wanted".

        4 votes
    2. [5]
      PapaNachos
      Link Parent
      I interpreted it as him referencing how much slower the old internet was. And I don't mean in terms of bandwidth. I mean it was a lot of small communities that you really had to stumble upon....

      I interpreted it as him referencing how much slower the old internet was. And I don't mean in terms of bandwidth. I mean it was a lot of small communities that you really had to stumble upon. Conversations moved slowly and communities consisted of maybe a few dozen people in most cases

      Everything wasn't hyper optimized to maximize engagement (mostly via rage) and there weren't crypto fascists, bots, and sock puppets everywhere.

      It was much more welcoming back then. At least that's how I remember it.

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        Yes, but I feels like your comment describes the "catalogs, travel blogs" part of the song. Eventually, the lyrics turn to "we set our sights and spent our nights waiting... for you!" My question...

        Yes, but I feels like your comment describes the "catalogs, travel blogs" part of the song. Eventually, the lyrics turn to "we set our sights and spent our nights waiting... for you!" My question is: "Who was waiting for who here?" Because I can't tell.

        2 votes
        1. PapaNachos
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I felt like it was a continuation of the same idea. The smaller communities meant that whenever someone did find their way to you, it felt like a new friend. So at least for me 'we' refers to the...

          I felt like it was a continuation of the same idea. The smaller communities meant that whenever someone did find their way to you, it felt like a new friend. So at least for me 'we' refers to the few people who were relatively early adopters of the internet.

          A few people have brought up the 'mommy let you use her ipad, you were only 2' line, but the first ipad didn't come out until 2010, so that one is definitely directed at a younger audience. Folks born around 2008 at the earliest.

          2 votes
        2. [2]
          Nivlak
          Link Parent
          He follows that up with something like “mommy gave you an iPad at 2”. Maybe he’s taking about gen z kids who have only ever been online their whole lives? And they were made to feel like they can...

          He follows that up with something like “mommy gave you an iPad at 2”. Maybe he’s taking about gen z kids who have only ever been online their whole lives? And they were made to feel like they can be insta famous without ever having to “work a real job”?
          Now I’m just reaching….

          1 vote
          1. Kuromantis
            Link Parent
            I think so, but part of me feels the "we" referred to "people who used the internet back then" rather than 2 (hopefully, albeit the date of 1999 probably makes this a certainly) clueless parents...

            I think so, but part of me feels the "we" referred to "people who used the internet back then" rather than 2 (hopefully, albeit the date of 1999 probably makes this a certainly) clueless parents waiting for a child.

            1 vote