2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival:
• Mark Watson in The Information

Posted on 23 April 2012

Companies such as Internode or iiNet should be putting sponsorship money into comedy. So many comedians are helping to popularise networking tools. Twitter is used live in numerous shows including #ShitMickNevenSays and Mark Watson in The Information. Watson also plays around with Facebook and Q codes.

The Information is a fun evening of light entertainment. Watson is an affable performer with a great sense of play. The journey on which he takes his audience concerning the daily ways in which information is collected and used is important. He makes very real the consequences of our cajole and control society. Companies jolly you into saying too much about yourself, then use those details to make significant decisions affecting your life, such as whether or not you get a bankloan.

The points Watson makes are so important that I wish he provided a few moments for people to really consider what it means to them. I loved his story about calling an information line for luncheon meat. The story almost makes the whole information exchange thing seem harmless, but by the end a sinister edge takes over.

I know young people who feel we should let our lives hang out, because we should learn how to accept our differences and our humanity. Certainly, some wisdom can be found in this attitude. The problem is we don’t live in an ideal world and people need to be able to get a job, acquire living quarters, and generally be treated fairly.

Free access to a broad range of information about people means people can be discriminated against in more and more subtle ways than they have before. Also ominous are companies using information to track our vulnerabilities in order to exploit them for profit. If you have a problem with drinking, they can use it to sell you more drink. You’re an easy target for this form of money-making. In the meantime you have a difficult time becoming sober and recovering your life.

Mark Watson has opened up a significant subject. I hope it opens up conversations amongst his audience. People need to think about how they can change the nature of our information society, rather than with a laugh sadly accepting what they feel is inevitable. You do have a choice. Thank you Mark.

Peace and kindness,



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