Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I’d like to start by thanking all the materialistic, hipster, cutting edge, keeping upwardly mobile with the Jones’, nerdy d-bags for now carrying around a 9”x7” plastic iBadge to make them more easily identifiable. As much fun as it is to laugh at these consumer sheep, the fact of the matter is that we will all probably have Max iPads within a few years. It reminds me of a Weekend Update joke on Saturday Night Live from the mid 90’s. Norm MacDonald said that scientists had determined that cell phones can cause brain cancer, but that was OK because nobody cared if people with cell phones got cancer. Who could have guessed back then that the whole cell phone thing was going to catch on? Technology has really exploded in the past decade. It has become more incredible, portable, and invasive than ever before. If you have ever heard “deleted” e-mails or cell phone records used in court cases, you know that nothing is private, and everything is traceable. GPS chips are both revolutionary and terrifying. Even George Orwell couldn’t have predicted that level of surveillance.

One of my favorite authors and pop culture commentators, Chuck Klosterman, tells a funny story about finding out that Michael Jackson had died. When he overheard somebody say something about Jackson on the street, he texted a friend and asked what had happened. His friend was flabbergasted that Klosterman hadn’t heard yet. Michael Jackson had died 20 minutes ago! That’s the age we live in. Everything is instantaneous. News, food, shopping, and communication. With Twitter, Facebook and texts, we live in a real time bubble no matter where we are. Everybody seems to know everything that is going on instantly.

Another funny anecdote comes from Gabe Caplan when he was about to play Chris Ferguson heads up at poker. When asked about Ferguson’s legendary intelligence, Mr. Kotter responded “He has two PhD’s in math, can calculate odds instantly, and can recite Pi to 17 places. I have access to the internet, so we’re even.” It’s true that every person with a computer has the entire accumulated knowledge of humanity at their fingertips, and now increasingly more portable. A technological collective consciousness that neither Emile Durkheim nor the most wacked out acid head from the last century could have ever hallucinated. All of these developments have led me to only one conclusion:

We are becoming the Borg.

I suppose I should clarify who the Borg is, seeing as Star Trek: The Next Generation was on TV 20 years ago, which is like four nano-generations ago by today’s accelerated pop culture half lives. The Borg float around in a huge cube silently communicating to each other on their grid. When you are assimilated to the Borg, you turn over your entire self to the Borg and become part of the whole. Kinda like being on a massive reality show, starring everyone and airing constantly (and with cool mono-goggles too).

Our grid is the internet, and the more info you put into it on social networks and other websites, the more you are assimilated. With the silly Bluetooth headsets, people even look like the Borg! I saw four people sit at a booth in a restaurant the other day and not say one word to each other. They were furiously surfing, blipping, flittering, gaming, and texting on hand held devices. We are becoming one big cube of humanity. Everybody is equally famous, and separately insignificant. There are no secrets from the Borg. Any one is everybody and everybody is no one. Resistance is futile.

1 comment:

  1. The handheld devices get on my nerves and if I see someone text-walking I can't help but hope that they'll trip or walk into something. I always want to say "Did you see that?" to tease people in my back seat who are sucked into their devices. If they don't want to chat with their cab driver that's fine but if they're riding through a beautiful part of the state without having to pay attention to traffic they should at least glance out the goddamned window every once in awhile.