Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Why Watch Movies on an iPod?

I have a video iPod, and I have some movies on it. I have even watched movies on my iPod, especially when I'm traveling. But David Lynch said something about the subject that, I admit, resonates (please note that Mr. Lynch's language is NSFW):

So, ahem, that's rather pointed. But, the language aside, I can't say I disagree. After listening to that, I got to thinking about why we would want to watch movies on such a small screen. Sure, convenience is a factor, but it got me thinking about the issue of ownership. I don't mean "ownership" in terms of owning a copy of the movie.

Rather, I think people like to have movies on their iPods (or other digital media players) in part because it gives them a way to possess those movies. Movies we like or love often represent an experience we would like to continually recapture, and having that movie on an iPod gives you the chance to always have access to that experience right there with you, at all times.

I was thinking about this in part because I had been planning to buy the DVD for my latest favorite movie, Sweeney Todd, and I thought that I would probably like to rip the DVD to my computer so I could put the movie on my iPod. Would that small screen be able to capture the splendor of the look of the film? Hardly. But I'd be able to watch it (or pieces of it) any old time I liked. I could recapture the feeling of enjoying the film at the dentist's office, if I wanted to (but I like my dentist, so that would be rude, wouldn't it?).

I'm not claiming this is the only reason people watch movies on iPods and iPhones and all the other devices out there. But I really do think people want to possess a movie (or a video or something else) in this way.

I also think, insofar as our digital media players and what we have on them represent US as people, that having a certain movie on there serves as a way to define ourselves as people. It's kind of like what my generation did as kids with Star Wars t-shirts. If you wore a Star Wars shirt, you define yourself as a true fan. Now, you have to have it on your media player. So you're not displaying your fandom through representations of the thing, but through possession of the actual thing.

Just some random musings that I had while trying to fall asleep last night...


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