23rd Oct2017

Culture Dump #14: Has social media turned us all into Larry David?

by Simon Bland


2017 is a weird place to live. Pretty, pretty weird. Just look at what it’s done to ace telly show Curb Your Enthusiasm. Back when it debuted in October 2000, us fresh-faced nice folk were completely different people. Larry David’s fictionalised version of Larry David was a breath of fresh air. Here was a guy who was unafraid to say everything we wanted to say but were just a little too polite and bounded by social graces to actually blurt it out. His awkwardly accurate encounters in coffee shops, waiting rooms and carparks became a weird form of therapy. Larry David was a vent through which all of us could exhale a nice big chorus of ‘Fucking yes, right?!’.

Cut to today and things are very different. Larry’s back on our screens for a so-far stellar ninth season and is as abrasive as ever but his shrewd attitude and brutal honesty seem to have lost some of their shock impact. It’s not his fault though. As the ad campaign for this new slew of episodes rightly points out, Larry’s not changed at all since we last saw him. It’s us. We’re the ones that have changed – or more accurately have been changed over time by social media.

It seems we no longer need that loud mouth advocate for saying whatever the hell you want regardless of the consequences because we all carry around with us the power to do just that every day in our pockets. Notice something you don’t agree with but has nothing at all to do with you? Send a tweet. Catch someone out in an online lie? Those 140 characters are just waiting to be filled. Fancy getting into a heated debate with a complete stranger that’ll quickly turn into a vicious shouting match? Easy, just whip out your phone! You really don’t have to look far to see the shift of power.

Social media, most notably Twitter, has turned us all into angry little Larry Davids, all eager to fire our opinions at others regardless of whether or not we were ever asked for them in the first place. Sadly, our Larry-ness ends there. If you’re looking for some Curb-like humour or morals to tie up these ugly online excursions into a nice neat bow you’re going to be scrolling for a long time. Like some Black Mirror B-Side episode, in reality we don’t come across a fraction as endearing as the real Larry David and as for making it to nine seasons? Forget about it. Perhaps we’d be better returning this power to its rightful owner because it’s a bad situation to be in. Pretty, pretty bad.

Do you think social media has made us better or worse? Let me know in the comments below!


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