Never share your Netflix password; everyone dies alone

by maddrunkgenius

I noticed my most recent ex unfriended me on Facebook, so I deleted her Netflix profile and changed the password less out of retaliation than a desire to no longer see her name show up when I wanted to binge watch TV.

And the worst thing about it is not that I miss her or that this will impact my life in any meaningful way, except for some angry drunken texts from her I expect in the next few days.

The worst thing is that this is a parody of how a modern relationship goes, and the last ties that get severed are not meaningful face-to-face conversations or closure but discrete events in superficial electronic consumption.

Facebook and Netflix know the exact trajectory of our relationship better than I do, because they have quantifiable data points and their silicon memories remember everything with perfect fidelity while I can barely remember what we ever saw in each other.

I thought about this when there were numerous stories about the recent ruling that meant it was illegal to share your password with anyone, and the joke was that your ex could go to jail. Months ago, Slate wrote about the dynamics of sharing a Netflix account, but it’s probably scarier than that. Even with anonymous data, Netflix probably can figure out when two people are seeing each other based solely on how two accounts flip back and forth between the West Wing episodes and seasons.

You’re not really special. You’re a data point, and a largely predictable one at that. One day they’ll have computers simulating the life of a typical consumer type to better advertise and sell products at them, and that simulated being’s life will be no less fulfilling or tragic for it.

Anyway, you get told as a kid you’re going to be a president or famous or somehow change the world. But really you’re just an individual snowflake on the mountain, and some of them fall on the top, others tumble down or melt, but none have control over the avalanches. The wind blows the just and the unjust alike and we lie where we lie and melt where we melt.

And we’re all mostly typical, accomplishing nothing a very similar person wouldn’t have any how if in our place.