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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: I'll have a blue-pilled Christmas

matrix wreath.jpg
Cornfreak, Southerngal

It looks like this year is going to be a blue pill Christmas as the Matrix expands from a trilogy to a tetralogy.

It has been 18 years since the last episode and fans seem more than ready to jack-in for another round of mind-bending plot points, minimalist dialogue, and heart-pounding fight scenes. All of this got me thinking, and about three things in particular.

First, I have been making reference to the Matrix since 1999. But as every university educator knows, you need to continually update your pop culture references to stay current with students. Not so with the Matrix. No matter what generation — gen-x, millennials, gen-z — everyone knows the Matrix. And not just that, it’s international. When I have worked with students in Europe, South America, or Asia; they all know and immediately connect with these films. There are few texts that have this kind of universal appeal.

Second, the story behind the Matrix taps into a fundamental idea that is seemingly timeless. The suspicion that we are somehow living in an artificial simulation cut-off from what is really real has been one of the defining conditions of the human condition from Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” to current debates in the physical sciences.

And finally, let’s face it; the Matrix is just good cinematic storytelling. The Wachowskis not only know what makes a good film, they know how to push the medium to its limits and beyond. So all I want for Christmas is to jack-into the Matrix.