by Silas Valentino
I’ll be honest. While standing in line at a Las Vegas Airport shop, awaiting to pay for my well overpriced (but well required) water; I made eye contact with Beyonce Knowles. She was standing there sequestered between Jimmy Fallon and the Harbaugh brothers. Even though it was only a magazine cover for GQ’s recent issue, I felt we shared something literary. After 47-pages of mostly advertisements, I came across an article by Nancy Hass describing the untouchable Netflix. I’ve been raving about Netflix ever since I watched both Breaking Bad and Mad Men back-to-back via streaming. Since then, I’ve been acting as a sidewalk prophet to my roommates, predicting and never shutting up about how the company will reinvent how we obtain entertainment. Hass’ article not only verified my feeble theories but she brought the story to life.
The article is a profile piece on someone who doesn’t exist. Hass paints her picture through interviews with Netflix’s genial leader Reed Hastings, the true Kaiser Söze Kevin Spacey and America’s favorite brother, Will Arnett. Through these interviews and research, Hass streams together a fantastic piece about Netflix’s potential monopoly on home entertainment.
The best part of the article, a part that showed shades of profile master Gay Talese, was the end in which Hass describes the business party between Arrested Development and Netflix. Arnett talks about how every person who works on the show, not just the key players, are present. Later Hass showcases Reed’s charismatic personality when he is jostled by a low level employee, only to respond with a “Oops-sorry man” response. But the blow that killed me was the last section. Hass perfectly captures a moment, not only in this party but in the reality of entertainment. Hastings cheerfully speaks with Fox’s head of digital distribution Peter Levinsohn about how excited he is that Arrested Development will return, on Netflix. Levinsohn is somber but hides it. Hastings and Hass’ journalistic ability work together, in a truly brilliant sociopathic fashion:
“‘Isn’t this great?’ Hastings says, gently guiding Levinsohn past a replica red carpet where giddy engineers pose in front of a wall plastered with the Netflix logo. Instantly their photos are projected on a huge screen above the crowd.”
It was like reading the script out of a David Fincher movie. Hastings, the successor, leads Levinsohn, the representative of the dying past, around computer programers taking instant photos on a faux red carpet. As I read it, I saw a huge allegory. Hollywood leads the same fate as Rome and Hastings is one of many leading Vandals. They pass by the Millennials, a generation raised online, who are taking instant photos. Not waiting for he film to develop because they have created the new technology. Netflix and other streaming suppliers are on the path to completely changing how we digest entertainment and through her pen, Hass has shouted it without saying anything at all.