Film-maker Herzog calls social media a forum of stupidity

Werner Herzog.

PARK CITY, UTAH • German film-maker Werner Herzog on Monday blasted social media as a forum for "stupidity" as he presented his new documentary on the Internet at the Sundance Film Festival.

"What does impress you about 100,000 tweets, 100,000 times stupidities in 140 characters?" the legendary director told reporters when asked about the importance of Twitter and other social media in today's society.

"What is so phenomenal about it?" he asked. "I have never seen a single tweet that I found interesting at all."

He said he hoped Lo And Behold: Reveries Of The Connected World, a 10-part essay that explores the birth of the Internet and its repercussions, would spur people to re-examine their addiction to the Internet and "pay attention to what is going on".

"The Internet is an event that science-fiction writers had not foreseen," he said. "Flying cars and colonies in space - but nobody had the Internet on the radar."

He said he developed an aversion to social media and other forms of new technology and, at one point, did not switch on his mobile phone for a year.

"What scares me the most? Stupidity," he said, adding that a simple overview of comments on the Internet will uncover "this massive, naked onslaught of stupidity".

He said he had endeavoured through the years to maintain his privacy, refusing to attend film events or parties. "My social media is my kitchen table," he said. "My wife and I cook and we have four guests maximum because the table doesn't hold more than six."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'Film-maker Herzog calls social media a forum of stupidity'. Print Edition | Subscribe