‘Patriot Act’ Is Not Afraid of Silicon Valley

Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix show goes further than even John Oliver in skewering technology.

On a recent episode of Patriot Act, “Content Moderation and Free Speech,” Hasan Minhaj walks onstage, framed by graphics flipping through images of Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, floppy disks, and the Facebook thumbs-up. He soon asks the audience—and the viewers watching online—to think back to a time when we were excited to connect to the entire world through the internet.

Today, Minhaj explains, we’d prefer to log off. But social media is unavoidable:

Bandersnatch? Bird Box? I’d rather scroll through Netflix till the end of time

Sex Education? Nope. House of Cards? No thanks. Russian Doll? Maybe I’ll add it to my list and literally never watch it.

Is it the sheer volume? The sea of garbage? The fact that services once loaded with high-quality flagship shows are trending toward mediocrity? Is it the pressure? The endless social media vortex that swallows all matter and light? Are our attention spans so battered and bruised we can’t even convince our frazzled neurons to fire in the right direction?

Breaking Down the Wall – Run-D.M.C., Aerosmith, and MTV

“Walk This Way” felt like the best chance Run-D.M.C. had to take a leap, to become rap’s first superstars. And to do that, Profile Records co-owner Steve Plotnicki knew they would have to crack MTV, and not just for an occasional play after midnight. They were going to need to find a slot in the music network’s regular rotation. And that, for a rap song, wasn’t just rare in 1986. It was unprecedented.