140 Characters With Nothing To Say
140 CHARACTERS WITH NOTHING TO SAY
Muriel McCreedie is in her forties and makes her living as an author of controversial tweets, which are supposed to raise the number of viewers of selected web pages and thus also the sale of advertisements that are part of these. In the first scene Muriel is visited by her boyfriend Jay Jameson, who is - as opposed to Muriel – a fulltime employee of the company, for which Muriel writes her tweets. The management wants the company to act more unscrupulously in the upcoming year and so Muriel is also asked to toughen up. The good old “big Three” – puritan attitude to sex, adequately racist debates about immigration and the tongue-lashing of benefit exploitation – is not nearly as popular as in the past. What if Muriel wrote a tweet supporting the sterilization of handicapped people? Muriel is not sure (“I know I’ve said in the past I don’t mind being Hitler-y on occasion. But even he built up to this kind of territory slowly.”) and takes some time to think it over.
The second scene takes place during interrogation at a police station. Legal action was taken against Muriel because of a tweet about Dalai Lama (the wording of which we do not know) and detective Sergeant Gordon now has to interrogate her. Before the interrogation itself he and Muriel discuss the character and principles of her work. Gordon maintains the rather conservative or careful positions, whereas Muriel uses the debate as training in ironic astuteness. Gordon never simply condemns her. He could understand it, if it was only a pre-arranged game “You’re fake. You’re like wrestling. It’s all a grift, a con. /.../ It’s a mask, you’re a nice lady.” Muriel only cynically laughs him in the face. It is not really the job she has always dreamt of, but she makes a good living and is relatively well-known. When Gordon makes the bitter comment that “So you’re quite happy to be a monster for hire.” she retorts that he behaves just like the aggressors in the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo: “The liberal Fascists and the Muslim Fascists are united in attempting to clamp down our freedom of speech. «Je suis Charlie».”
The short third scene takes place in the bedroom of Muriel’s daughter Brie, who complains that she cannot sleep because she is afraid of ghosts. Muriel calms her by saying that ghosts exist only when we think of them. The same night - scene three - Muriel calls Jay. She is evidently very uncertain after the interrogation and the dialogue with her daughter. It becomes clear that her employer would get rid of her if it seemed that the potential trial could harm him. The even more cynical Jay brushes off her doubts: “So don’t bring me «I’ve been having a lot of conversations about monsters» /…/ We’re in the monster business. /…/ He’s a monster. I’m a monster. You’re a monster. But really we’re nice monsters. Like in the Pixar film. /…/ We are all mince in one grinder or another. You never thought you were the grinder did you?” Muriel finally decides to “upgrade” the tweet about the handicapped by proposing their euthanasia. Jay appreciates this kind of true “ruthlessness” but warns her that it could lead to scandal. Muriel replies: “I’m a grown woman, I don’t believe in monsters.”