Last night my fiance had to listen to a drawn-out, passionate, window-shattering living room screed from Yours Truly because the sentence that is the title of this post, appeared on the teevee screen when I pressed “top menu.”
What…the…hell. It is twenty-twelve Anno Domini and you’d better believe the technology exists to serve up that menu. The disc is spun up and the right track has been located.
The wireless netbook was on the couch, ready to record my notes about 3D graphics rendering pipelines and assist me in my frantic browsing to Internet Movie Database to find out “where have I seen him/her before?” like usual…so yes, there was a Hello Kitty of Blogging post about it. Mostly an exercise of yelling into a rain barrel. (About four out of five of my Facebook tweets pass by into the ether with no replies at all — call it “the wall that nobody reads,” I s’pose.) But I was genuinely surprised at the response. Reminds me of when I was twelve, and found out WD-40 is actually flammable. Boom! Big ol’ stream of comments, except, contrary to historical trend, nobody uttered so much as a syllable of disagreement. Everybody “got it.” It’s our fucking teevee sets, DVD players, living rooms, batteries in the remote…we paid full price for all of it…how dare they.
All dudes, too. Hmmm…that is interesting. The gals don’t get pissed off when machines respond to the will of the manufacturer as opposed to the will of the user/customer, they see nothing amiss with that?
I think it’s more a case of, choosing the hill ya wanna die on. But the fellas — be fair to us — we are not confused about priorities, not in the least, not even a little bit. Line up a hundred people who are pissed off the DVD player is telling them no just because it’s been programmed to tell them no…from all sorts of economic situations, income brackets, geographic regions, educational profiles, ninety to ninety-five of them will be dudes…but all one hundred will be able to explain, coherently, why they’re pissed.
It’s got to do with what’s coming. I think men are like dogs who can hear a high-pitched whistle.
And it’s not fear of an imminent Terminator future in which the machines become self-aware and start eliminating humans.
It’s fear that our world is becoming a world of pussies. An Idiocracy. Who the hell pays top-dollar for a machine and builds his sacred lair around said machine…it’s like the heart of the heart of the heart of some James Bond villain’s inner sanctum or something, except comfier and more sacred, since there’s a coaster for the beverage by the command chair…and then acquiesces, meekly, as the machine, owned lock, stock & barrel by that person, proceeds to tell him, HAL-style, “Sorry Dave, I can’t do that” knowing full well that it can. Who tolerates this?
I’m reminded of someone else who had a high-tech inner sanctum with a command chair: Captain Kirk. Remember when The Riddler took control of the USS Enterprise and started flying it in the wrong direction? It was the first appearance of the self-destruct routine in Star Trek. What did “need a wheelbarrow for my balls” Captain Kirk say about that? Huh? Anybody? Bueller? What was the famous line?
In the Picard era, the self-destruct device was used to illustrate the willingness with which the individuals would sacrifice their lives for the greater good. See, this is why Kirk beats Picard. Kirk was all about the triumph of the human will, ultimately, the triumph of the individual against chaos, misery, strife, insurmountable situations and impossible odds; Picard was all about subordination of that individual to the nebulous calling of the greater good.
We’re becoming a Picard society. Our Starship is Galaxy-class and it has a holodeck. We’ve spent a bit too much time in the holodeck, and in so doing we’ve diminished the experience. There are more channels from which we can choose, but we’re not doing the choosing anymore.
The irony is, that by placing a greater emphasis on our entertainment than previous generations did — than they were ever able to — we have, essentially, lost that medium. It’s no longer ours. I suspect this has always been true of recreation, of pleasant and idle diversions; as long as they remain in the periphery of a man’s life, of a society’s existence, they work well. Once they’re shoved into the limelight they become all about distraction, control and deceit, and lose the functionality they once had for their designated purpose.
Other than the foregoing, I don’t have too much of an opinion about it though.