PORTRAIT OF DIETERLE

Above is a ten-minute ‘doc’ about director William Dieterle, whose film ‘Jewel Robbery’ I posted about yesterday. Actually the above isn’t a doc so much as it is Dieterle’s Wikipedia entry as recited by a robot-voice. (The giveaway is when Mr. Robot says ‘David O. Selznick’ but puts a full stop after ‘O.’ and begins the next sentence with ‘Selznick’). Why are things done this way now–why are fake-voices like this in existence? Wouldn’t it be easier to have somebody real come in and record a little ten minute voiceover? Just that little bit of extra warmth and humanity could make some listener a better and happier person. Right? It’s like having too many things that can be done with your phone–letting people into your building, turning on your car, turning the a.c. on and off…I fear that the phone will overload and soon we’ll be happily back to using nice, separate things–devices, keys, buttons–that each have their own purpose. This is a bit like the ‘over-streaming’ effect that suddenly is on people’s minds–how many Goddam streaming services do I need in my life? How often do I need to cancel and resubscribe? Wasn’t it easier to just have cable? Or thirteen channels on a nice old circular dial built into the TV itself that one rotated using one’s own wrist? I miss that dial, I miss the intercom phone, I miss the car keys and I miss the human voice…and it’s only Saturday morning.

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