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Hila Harary
Zeitgeist at your service

Top Gun implies Meta is wrong, here’s why

Last week Meta announced it wants to make it clear it’s not giving up on high-end VR experiences yet. So, in a rare move, the company is spilling the beans on several VR headset prototypes at once. The goal, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is to eventually craft something where virtual reality is practically indistinguishable from the real world.
The film “Top Gun” starring Tom Cruise “Took Our Breath Away” (as “Berlin” sang in the theme song), in 1984. The sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” was scheduled for release on December 23, 2020, but was postponed several times due to Covid.
The timing of the film is very important for understanding its success. We are in an ongoing period of uncertainty that raises the level of anxiety (adding to Covid Putin’s war in Ukraine, which this week has threatened to attack England, the lack of wheat that threatens the food security of many people on the globe, rising inflation, and impending recession), And in such periods, as I have mentioned several times before, we tend to indulge in the past (in the last two and a half years it is in the 80s and 90s) and in addition, the tendency to escapism is growing.
It was reported this week that the film “Top Gun: Maverick” has already grossed over $1 billion in one month. This is the first time Tom Cruise has crossed this milestone in a 40-year career. What is even more impressive about the film and its performance so far is that the revenue does not include China and Russia.

The acclaimed pilot, Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise), is called back to the Top Gun to train a group of outstanding Navy pilots, he must select the four outstanding members of his trainees for a particularly complex assault mission, In which they will be required to destroy a uranium nuclear reactor that will become “hot”, which will complicate and risk future attacks, in an enemy state whose name is not mentioned in the film. (Wikipedia).
If we go back for a moment to 1984, Bonnie Tyler explained to us exactly what kind of hero we long for, and he is needed now as much as before, if not more:
Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the streetwise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure, and it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
Racing on the thunder
And rising with the heat
It’s gonna take a Superman to sweep me off my feet
There is no doubt that Tom Cruise is doing a great job sweeping us off our feet (as the figures at the box office suggest). Apart from the entertainment world, we see nostalgia in a wide range of companies that use it in their products- from food and clothing to computer games and tourism. Thus far the indulgence in the past.
So where is the escapism you ask?!
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former Google data scientist and author of the book “Everybody Lies”, writes in his book that one of the ways to learn about people’s behaviors is through correlations between different searches. For example, it has been found that unemployment rates in a country can be predicted from the searches of people in different countries. A question that is on the rise as unemployment rises is “how to get cannabis”. Cannabis searches suggest that when people have lost their jobs, they look for ways to escape reality through Psychoactive drugs; but more than that, unemployment causes people who have not smoked in the past to start smoking because the assumption is that someone who has already smoked before losing his job – should not ask Google – “how to get cannabis”.
With so many people simply not interested in looking in reality’s eye, it might be worthwhile for Mark Zuckerberg to consider returning to the original purpose of VR, which allows people to escape to an alternative reality that can be distinguished from their real lives, and create the world of Metaverse as it is originally was supposed to be – Virtual.
About the Author
Hila is a trendologist (future forecaster) @ Tectonic Shift & a social entrepreneur. In parallel to building her own venture, she's helping b2b companies, governments, and organizations with their biz dev and creative marketing strategies, using trends and content, and has a great specialization on the German market.

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