Book Sale

Monday 4 December 2023

Physical Media Is A Must


Do you have a favourite book, video game, movie or T.V. show that you would like to come back to in the future? Then buy a physical copy before your digital copy is stolen from your library,

“In a move that will rightfully have people questioning the advent of an all-digital future, Sony has confirmed that hundreds of Discovery TV shows will soon be completely removed from PlayStation platforms — even if you've purchased them through the PS Store.

"As of 31 December 2023, due to our content licensing arrangements with content providers, you will no longer be able to watch any of your previously purchased Discovery content and the content will be removed from your video library," reads the rather sudden announcement. That same page includes a full list of all the Discovery shows that are being wiped — and it's a long one.”[1]

Many years ago the idea of moving all of our bulky cd’s, dvd’s, books and games over to virtual libraries seemed like a good idea. I remember some time ago culling my library down because I had moved a few times, but several years ago I realized that my Kindle Library was far more fragile than I had previously thought, books can be edited and changed with an update, and the possibility of them being changed for nefarious reasons is too strong. Or they can be completely deleted. It is becoming increasingly clear that making everything virtual just sets up the conditions for us to completely lose those stories and games that we love at some point in the future. Even if you have purchased them.

Of course, not only could you lose the things you purchased, but entire shows, episodes or parts of episodes might end up being memory-holed,

“A Season 9 episode of The Office, "Dwight Christmas," is being edited for streaming to remove a scene in which a character appears in blackface.

According to Variety, the scene will be taken out of the episode while the series streams on Netflix and remain out when The Office switches streaming homes, over to NBCUniversal’s platform Peacock, in 2021.

The show’s creator Greg Daniels issued the following statement:

“The Office is about a group of people trying to work together with mutual respect despite the inappropriate actions of their boss and assistant manager,” said Daniels. “The show employed satire to expose unacceptable behavior and deliver a message of inclusion. Today we cut a shot of an actor wearing blackface that was used to criticize a specific racist European practice. Blackface is unacceptable and making the point so graphically is hurtful and wrong. I am sorry for the pain that caused.”[2]

This same article notes that another show, Community, had an entire episode canned because an Asian actor in that episode dressed up like a dark elf from a fantasy lore. The effect of Americanised globalisation is that very specific American offences are now being exported to foreign and even fictional characters that have nothing to do with the same cultural issues. But that is not the key point.

The key point is digital media is easily “updated” and changed to be made to suit modern sensibilities and ideologies. This means that old books which teach uncomfortable truths can be deleted or edited, shows can be deleted or edited, stories which offend and capture important aspects of our history and traditions can be deleted or edited. Virtual media is therefore unsecure. And just because you bought it, does not mean that you own it, or that it is not vulnerable.

Big Brother is not a future potential, it is a present reality. It is encapsulated in modern cancel culture and the amount of things which are said to “offend” modern sensibilities are increasing. Shows even a decade old are now looked at as being “insensitive” by modern media organizations and their ever shifting standards. Book burning is now as simple as pressing delete on a server somewhere.

That person with the physical DVD or Book collection doesn’t seem so eccentric now, do they?

List of references

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