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                       |_|    ...2023-12-02 |___/ 

On watching Hackers (1995) for the n'th time

I've watched this movie countless times since I first obtained a grainy pirated copy (how's a pirated copy not the most appropriate way to watch this movie?) some time around the turn of the century.. It's been an eternity, 24 years. There's a whole new batch of young adults who know nothing and have never seen this movie, but I digress.. I get sidetracked. What I wanted to say was, this time, watching the movie, I recalled an earlier experience of watching it, I was probably around 14 years old back then, I remember watching it then and feeling this wave of deep sadness rush over me. This heavy realization, that what I was looking at, what I adored, would never be again.. See, at that time, the movie was already 5 years old, the world had mostly moved away from floppy discs, internet was largely high-speed adsl or cable, and computers were morphing from apex of technological achievement into household appliance. The magic was fading, back then, 24 years ago, and I felt it, I understood it, that the time where computers were this really special thing, was waning, and I.. I had missed it. I'd never be as cool as anyone in that movie, I'd not even be Joey who hacked into a bank by accident and got caught.. I've still never hacked into a bank! What a failure! Huh ? It struck me, this time, watching that beautiful piece of history, how much we've lost, and it still pains me that we could have had this awesome techno-culture and we traded it in, someone traded it in, even before it started. Yes, lots can be said about the technical correctness of the movie (there is not really any) but it's not a movie about specific computing, it's a movie about spirit, about ideas and about _STYLE_ and oh fuck YES it does have that! It's almost pure style, pure surface, and it's so lovely for it, because it conveys the concept, the idea, the sensation and spirit, not the particulars of whatever language syntax. It shows symbolic mainframes, not actual machines, we see projected onto their faces not the actual computer screen image, but how it _FEELS_ to use the computer, when all those colorful abstract symbols fold into fractals in 3D space, it's showing the sensation of beauty from logic not some actual piece of code. And that makes the idea it conveys even more timeless, and yet, the idea itself, is what is stuck in the past, or rather what the future ignored, lost potential. It is interesting, how Dade in this movie quotes Allen Ginsbergs "Howl", on the blackboard he writes "angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night," This is beautiful in and of itself, from the first part of the poem, and the second part is about Moloch, and the part about Moloch refers to the dynamo once again, back to exactly this part that is in the movie. And Moloch is what took that future, the Moloch in software development, that has been so well explained by others.. I was not going anyplace in particular with this rant, only, to say, that part of me still feels like tearing up when I realize I will never live in that grimy cyberpunkesque world, where there were still beauty in bauds.