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We Live In Public, A documentary regarding Josh Harris


Jun 20 2010, 11:33 AM (Post #1)
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Just when I thought I had learned everything regarding early internet/dot-com boom/cyberpunk culture/reality television, along comes this documentary that reminded me of one very crazy, influential, wealthy and flawed man - Mr Josh Harris (wikipedia).

Josh was a wealthy man thanks to pioneering early web version of what we now take for granted - chat rooms, video streams, etc. In 1999 he opened the floodgates for reality TV shows (such as Big Brother) by created a commune wherein everyone lived, ate and "went poo-poo time" entirely in public, with their peers watching over every single move. And they were watching back.

After this pseudo-psychotic stunt, Harris moved on to his next project - installing several real-time webcams in his home and inviting his girlfriend to live with him, under the omnipresent eye of the internet. While in today's terms, the number of viewers he pulled in are less than the average TinyChat room, at the time it seemed incredible that over 1,000 (yes, Vegeta) people would wish to watch another simply live.

This proved to be the beginning of the end for Harris - with the bad publicity from his various stunts, parties and shenanigans, his girlfriend leaving him over his increasingly erratic behaviour, his finances going downhill and even Harris himself admitting that he had become (or already was) mentally unstable, he fled, first to try living out life as a lonely apple farmer, then to foreign countries to teach kids basketball.

This documentary is eye-opening, mind-blowing and a good stepping stone into the seedy roots of the internet. If you are bored by hearing of how Hackers started forums which then spawned social networks, or how Matthew Broderick used his bauds to avert World War III, here is a different take on early 'net usage - geeks who had money and knew how to throw a raging party while dissecting the psychology behind humanity and the desire to view and be viewed.

Some scenes can be a bit hard-to-swallow, but on the whole I think most people over the age of around 12-14 will find something very interesting in this documentary.

So now, have any of you seen it? If so, thoughts?

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Jun 20 2010, 07:29 PM (Post #2)
Here for the cute boys ;)
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This movie is sitting on my Netflix Queue. thanks for the review!
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