I have been trying to be on a news fast this year. I am doing more of an intermittent fasting, mind you. But I feel that my mind is less cluttered by not watching what passes for news these days. Also, I believe I feel less stress and anxiety than many others who watch the news hour upon hour. With that said, I have been eating up documentaries this year. And, that is usually not my thing. Give me a good action movie or science fiction. Documentary? Eh? They can certainly be hit or miss. But I suppose that is so with nearly everything in life.
This past weekend, I watched The Inventor. I was very intrigued by what had happened in Silicon valley in terms of the company Theranos. However, I had never really bothered to dig deeper into that news story. Thankfully, there is a documentary for that. And, I hear that there will also be a commercial movie starring Jennifer Lawrence. What is the Inventor about? It is about Theranos, the company that was going to reinvent how blood tests are done and bring you much more quickly (and for cheaper) 100s of results so that you can protect your health more readily. Actually, the movie was more about Elizabeth Holmes -the founder and CEO of said company- and how she bamboozled 100s of very wealthy, powerful, and famous people to believe in a blood test that didn’t do what it was supposed to. She didn’t bamboozle, per se. She developed a cult of personality that even managed to turn a powerful grandfather against his whistleblower grandson. And for me, that was the worse part of this whole bit. But I won’t give away the who.
Elizabeth Holmes wanted to be Steve jobs so badly that she only wore black turtlenecks and black slacks. Her whole being was a sham. An affected persona. At one point she was able to get $900 million to keep the company going and $300 million of that went to legal fees. As we know when someone is willing to spend a lot of money to cover something up, believe there is something there. Throughout the film many people starting asking of the technology (a small box that can run 200 tests from just one drop of blood) she claimed to have invented worked. Does it work? That was a simple question for which there should be a simple answer. Yet, for many interviewed throughout the film, they often noted that there is more than one side of a story. Well, is there really? It either works or it doesn’t. A professor is quoted early on as saying technology doesn’t lie. Yet, as we saw in the film it can be made to.
The documentary wasn’t great. But it does give some insight into the insanity permeating society where people are desperate to invest in the new thing, create the new thing or be the new thing. But maybe we can do without that insight. Maybe it is time to go on that type of fast as well.