Black Mirror : White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

I can understand why somebody in a heated argument might want to temporarily block the other person, but I don't understand how a universal block from everybody is supposed to work as a viable criminal punishment. Yes it's a terrible thing to do to somebody and it might work as a deterrent, but after it's applied and the person is released into society, any criminal tendencies they have would only be made worse.

One reason is pent up anger and frustration. Day-to-day practicalities aside; nevermind how the person is suposed to work and provide for him/herself. But if you take away a person's ability to communicate, they will eventually get frustrated and angry and lash out. Think of people with severe autism or other cognitive disabilities that limits their communication and understanding of the world around them; they find other ways to communicate, sometimes using violence. So why would you want to use that as a punishment for somebody who already has criminal tendencies?

A second reason why it's a terrible idea is it dehumanizes everybody else, making them an anonymous faceless mass. Any sense of compassion the criminal has would become greatly reduced when they stop seeing people as people - as individuals.

And the third reason, similar to the second, is if they do decide to hurt somebody, not only can they not see who their victim is, including any sense of fear or other emotion on their face, but the potential victim can't see them. They can't see the criminal's identity, his demeanor, his face and body language, all of which could be used to escape a situation before it begins.

I have read a few people saying that the blocking concept is a bad idea, but without any solid reasons why. So here are the main reasons as I see them.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

That mass block was the ONLY thing I thought was wrong with the episode. You might as well kill yourself at that point....you can't work, you can't buy things, and you can't talk to anybody. How is that not a death sentence? I would have walked to the top of the closest building and jumped off.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

I don't know. We don't know how long the block was to last, or how universal it was. Maybe people with a universal block can see and hear each other, in which case there might be a community where they can live a relatively normal life. Or there may be communities of people without the eye implants or where the implants don't work, where he could live. And even if they're compulsory in that country, there would almost certainly be other countries where they're not used and where they don't work, where he could escape to.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

People really do go crazy without any social contact. Not to mention that you can see the outside world but can't interact at all.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea


you can't work, you can't buy things, and you can't talk to anybody


I see people buying things all the time and they are busy on their phones. They don't look at the cashier or talk to the cashier. I mean, you can't exactly ask for help if you can't find what you want though. And I'm sure you could work a factory job just fine.



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Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

That kind of true. Still hard to do a job when you can't communicate. You would have to do something that is easy to read up on, and your boss wouldn't be able to communicate to you. I'm sure there are ways around it, but damn...I stand by what I said about jumping off a building.

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Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

Those were almost exactly my thoughts on that episode. Why not hand him a suicide cocktail and wish him luck...?

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

Horrible punishment! I think I would have rather served the jail term than have the Universal Block. He even appeared in "red" to those around him, so anyone that saw him knew he had some sort of legal "criminal" block. How is he supposed to live his life like that? Was the block indefinite? It seemed like the worse kind of punishment, to never be able have any social interaction.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

Not only the worst type of punishment, but it would make pretty much everything we need to do totally impossible. As I said, how is he supposed to work? And if he's not working, who is paying for his necessities? If nobody, then he's reduced to begging and stealing, which is probably not something the legal system would want.

As I said, there are so many reasons why this wouldn't work as a criminal punishment. It would either lead to the person's suicide or increased criminal behaviour.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

Yeah I would have preferred if they just blocked all females from him. Otherwise, it doesn't really seem like he could survive as a functioning member of society.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea


Yeah I would have preferred if they just blocked all females from him.


What did he ever do to a woman that would justify that?
I still don't know what Hamm did that was so bad. Seemed like he had a damn good business idea. Maybe it was because his buddies were watching without the client's consent, but that doesn't seem like it is all that bad. Its shady and a sleazy thing to do, but does not warrant such a harsh punishment.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

I thought the whole episode sucked.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

Let's see... Black Mirror is supposed to be a satirical show, right? It's supposed to show the dangers of technology and how they affect and bring out the worst of society, right?

So okay, having assumed that, why would any of you assume that the show is suggesting a thing such as "blocking", let alone "universal blocking", would be a good idea?

Do you think having the ability to record your entire life is a good technological advance? Having the ability to create a clon of yourself that works as your slave is a good idea? Paying for a service that allows you to keep in touch with your late beloved ones is a good idea? You see where I'm getting at?

Penal systems as they are have already been extensively criticised. One notable example is that of Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish. I don't think the idea behind the universal blocking was supposed to be portrayed in an attractive way. We're not supposed to perceive it as a good idea. It's supposed to show the despise the legal system felt for criminal subjects like Matt, and how cruel the punishment is in the first place. It's supposed to make us reflect whether we'd rather be universally blocked or just be killed once and for all, and judging by all the previous posts, it did succeed on that.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

I understand what you mean, however I believe any alternative form of punishment should have some logic behind it and an idea of how it's supposed to work. A good example is White Bear. Although most people seem to agree the method of punishment there is completely sadistic and barbaric, there is a certain logic behind it. It's 'appropriate' for the crime committed in a very literal way, it gives the public a sense of justice, it's financially lucrative for the people administering the punishment, and it keeps the public safe from the criminal.

Blocking somebody has no logic behind it. It doesn't benefit anybody. It doesn't keep the public safe, in fact it puts them at more risk because a criminal among them is going to be more desperate and unpredictable than before.

It's like a dystopian world where people have to walk backwards and are instantly killed if they walk forwards. Yes it's original, but it also makes no sense.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea


Blocking somebody has no logic behind it. It doesn't benefit anybody. It doesn't keep the public safe, in fact it puts them at more risk because a criminal among them is going to be more desperate and unpredictable than before.


Oh, yes. I forgot about that part.

Well, again, penal systems as they are are rarely supposed to benefit anybody. I mean, if anything, having people in jail does more harm than good; sustaining jails and its inmates takes a lot of money, and in a lot of cases, they leave jail having learned more ways to commit crimes. So again, I don't think the idea behind universal blocking is supposed to do any good to anybody. It's just supposed to be cruel, and sort of ironic: the person found guilty gets to remain free, but in a horrid type of freedom in which you can't interact with anybody.

There's some truth about the fact that a blocked person may commit more crimes because: a) they may lose their temper because of the cruelty of the punishment in the first place and b) because they can't see the faces of those they're harming, therefore losing touch with emotions such as compassion. However, you need to consider that when you're universally blocked, if someone else sees you they would immediately assume you're a criminal. Therefore, nobody would want to be even remotely close to you (in a way, this felt like a metaphor of the mark of Cain to me). So even if you could approach someone in an attempt to hurt them, if someone else saw a red blurry figure attacking a human being, they wouldn't hesitate to attack you, and once the police gets you, you could bet the punishment after that would be incredibly bad.

So in a way (in a twisted Black Mirror-type-of-thing), if you think about it, it is benefitial to society having a way to know who has commited horrible crimes. It's like forcing pedophiles and rapists to always wear a sign that says "pedo" or "rapist". The irony here is that Matt's crime, from my perspective, does not deserve such type of punishment. Hell, one could even argue if anyone deserves such a type of punishment in the first place (kinda like the debate about capital punishment).

I don't know, that's the way I feel about it.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

You're right, people would be very wary of somebody with a criminal block.


It's like forcing pedophiles and rapists to always wear a sign that says "pedo" or "rapist".

That reminded me of this sketch from the American comedy Mr Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKE9W0O8bX8

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

White Christmas is the only episode in the series where my suspension of disbelief completely failed. it's not my least favorite episode, some are just boring to me so i felt they were worse but i just could not buy the concept of blocking people in the physical world.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

And just saying but having a universal block for, running a dating website/service that may of gotten someone killed seems a little harsh. Its not like he was intentionally leading the guy into his death.

Re: White Christmas - Why 'blocking' a criminal is a terrible idea

I think it was more the fact that him and a bunch of other guys were watching his clients have sex. It's really no different than setting up a hidden video camera to watch someone have sex.
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