Wednesday, February 17, 2010


More and more I'm convinced that we're plunging into the abyss. And, dammit, if that's the case, I'd rather not continue this chaotic Nestea Plunge. Rather, I'd just like to see the Etch-A-Sketch version - erase the thing and start over.
I'm not going to go off on a rant about all the things that irritate me these days: the fact that singers have resorted to horrid grammar to create hip rhymes ("it only matters who I is!" - really?), or the fact that crapfest movies win the box office over well thought out quasi-masterpieces, or that people like James Patterson and Dan Brown sit atop the bestsellers lists for rehashed books that are the literary merit of baby poop. I'll save those and many other topics for a later date.
What I'm fascinated with, though, is the Internet. More specifically, this wikireality.
Whether it's "The Matrix" or Tolkein's MiddleEarth, sci-fi and fantasy afficienados have been captivated by the idea of alternate realities. It's not surprising that the wet dreams of guys like Asimov and Dick would come to pass. Most of the conceptions of sci-fi have come to pass (granted, not quite in the same vein, but in concept. "Wall-E" may have hit the proverbial nail on the head, though, when they displayed what the cost for people would be, fat baby-like beings that are incapable of functioning for themselves...I shudder at the thought).
"The Sims" was the first zone. Second Life augmented that even further. But, now, the Internet seems to be an alternate reality of its own. And why the hell did this happen?
We've become a society that is incapable of original thought. I am talking about the majority, not the few of us who still do cultivate a little spark of creativity and have the capacity to imagine. This summer, for example, CNN received a tweet that Jeff Goldblum had died while climbing in New Zealand. The tweet came with a weblink. That was all the reporters at CNN needed to consider this valid information and a valid tip. So, they reported it as fact. This, of course, was a hoax, a fabricated lie, albeit doen very well. But what happened to the days when we looked at something and said, "Really? That doesn't seem right. Maybe I should investigate it a little." Nope. Nada. Say goodbye to those days. SMO (Social Media Outlets) have become the reality. If it didn't come across my facebook status page or my Twitter, then it damn sure didn't happen. (I'm judging CNN very harshly for not having an intern just pick up the phone and call Goldblum or a family member for a quote. I'm sure a call from CNN would garner a response from a B-list celebrity).
I can only assume that this is why so many people post so much (one as many as 42 times in an hour) online - if they don't post their day's activities, then they really have no value. I was eating lunch with someone who began talking about their insatiable desire to live on a farm. "I've never heard this from you before," I replied. They informed me that this was a new whim, created from their love of Farmville, a facebook game. Yeah, and courtesy of Mafia, I'm sure you'll want to live like Tony Soprano next.
I've eaten lunch with people, spoken to them on the phone, seen them in passing, and you'd think that if I were getting engaged they would know about this. An engagement isn't something that pops up out of the blue, randomly. It's something that's savored, salivated over, and enjoyed. You talk it up in passing. You mention it to your friends. You milk it for every ounce it's worth (which, with inflation factored in, is quite a lot more than it was in 1950). Yet, I change my status to "engaged" on facebook and the world seems come alive.
Within 30 minutes I'd received 4 text messages and 2 phone calls (don't even get me started on texting). By the hour mark, I'd received 3 facebook messages and 2 emails. It's fascinating. Of course, I'd respond with, "wouldn't I have told you?" And, people aren't sure what to respond to that with. Interesting.
Nobody bothered to think. Eric's engaged? That's odd. Very, very odd. Nobody bothered to investigate (and I'm talking in elementary education, not "elementary by dear Watson"). He's engaged to Christy Leigh? She's in California? How did that happen? How did they meet? When was he spending any amoutn of time in California? Nobody bothered to ration it out. That's impossible! I call shenanigans!
Christy is a fan. I like Christy. She gave me her dowry (which is a funny story involving an inheritance, postal exchange, and Jose Canseco...but it's a story for a different time). And we love each other, as much as two people can over the Internet. She's a good sport. And, dammit, I have tremendous respect for her. But we've never once physically met.
If I were engaged, wouldn't I have met, mentioned, or made-merry with her?
Nope. People see "engaged" as the relationship status and automatically assume that that's what happened.
Am I trying to "Punk" anyone? Not in the least. I would say that this is a sociological experiment.
In interesting news, I received more attention to this status than I have to any mention of my book. Christy has received more attention on this status than she did on her art. Fascinating.
It's food for thought, kids. I know I may have shattered the glass dome that we're all trapped in a bit. Sure, I frayed the thin veil. But, c'mon. We're steps away from losing the ability to think and ration for ourselves. Think about that today...oh wait, thoughlessness is contagion. Think about that today, if you still think.
Signing off...

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