The Earth will reach its maximum occupancy load (12 billion) when I am in my mid-fifities, meaning there’ll be more than twice as many gorging, shitting, shooting, complaining, and lying human beings than there were when I started, and perhaps Brian Taylor’s Mom and Dad is in fact a reasoned argument for a particular solution to our inevitable plight. I’m still not sure what a “cult” movie is, precisely, but I can’t imagine what sort of cult could possibly sustain itself around the ethos of this film alone, despite its concise, agitating, at once lighthearted, yet genuinely-disturbing trip. No, it is probably not propaganda. From the experts, you’ll get precisely the same review, varying only in length. The New York Times’ Glenn Kenny couldn’t be bothered with more than 250 words, but RogerEbert dot com’s Simon Abrams shelled out a whole 1000. They are suspiciously close to these big round numbers — perhaps each was written to respective quotas, and perhaps you could say all that could reasonably be said in 10, but I don’t care.
The tropes here are polished to a miraculous sheen — two emotionally-stunted, middleaged, overly preoccupied-with-their-lost-youth suburban parents (Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair) who’s existing envies & irritations regarding their own classically bratty teenage girl (Anne Winters) and her mischievous little brother (Zackary Arthur) is merely agitated by a sudden TV static-bound killer instinct into bloodlust, not originated. I’m not sure any pill dealer would actually flip off their customers after a fair buy — even in high school, but drugs, a black boyfriend, and a stinkbomb? in the old Trans Am!? I’m going to kill you!
Somebody, somewhere knew all the best sources on suburbia and how to put them to good use. The Camry, the golf bag, ping pong smashing, sweat-stained Big Sur tee, and Dr. Oz, for Christ’s sake! Granted, talking to your girlfriend/boyfriend on the phone at all is a bit dated — especially while riding a BMX — and I don’t think Froot Loops are generally accepted middle-class chow anymore. These are staples from my youth, and I am very old. Technically, the iMessage bubble graphics are more chronographically appropriate, but with great consequence, I fear — if we’re going to accept them once and for all as authentic mechanisms for telling stories set in the present, they are going to age faster than Nick’s new jowls (unless we’re all soon killed by our parents.) It’s been two years since I knew anything about music, but I seriously doubt even the gothest fifteen?-year-old girls are listening to Father-esque post-Memphis horrorcore in class — there’s something about SoundCloud that really clashes with chokers.
If there was ever a film in which to use grimy dubstep-influenced electronic slaps, buzzes, chirps, and great grating clanking, it’s this one. It’s a terrific disappointment that Hollywood feels so timidly about their use of the most intimate medium. One forgets its potential to control the nuances of an audience’s fear, anger, discomfort, and panic beyond cheap jump scares until they experience an irritating, distressing, ghastly gross, all-possessing feat of accentuating audio production such as that of Mom and Dad. If you want to judge Academically the effectiveness of a nominee’s work for an award with a title like Best Sound Editing (as opposed to whatever the hell criteria was met most fully by Skyfall,) you must give the little golden man to these folks, whoever they are.
When’s the last time you saw a truly, believably shitty modern parental pair on a big screen? I really can’t remember, myself. Brent and Kendall Ryan are masterpieces of character craft — both a perfect précis and thoroughly-defined exploration of miserable white suburbanites. They’re even namedunimprovably, which reflects a quality in care and attention to detail that I very much appreciate. They are vain, vulgar, impatient, selfishly afraid, and careless, freely feeling and saying it all directly in front of their children. I love being told explicitly which characters to hate (no joke,) and in this case it’s the whole damned lot. Brian Taylor and Nicolas Cage scream it over and over (as I’d like to imagine) a single afternoon of one-take filming, considering that the latter took it upon himself to first memorize the entire screenplay and its prose, vanilla to perfection, before photography began, and I hope it all stays with him forever, especially “my mom is such a penis.”
Mom and Dad could conceivably be Nicolas Cage’s I Am Legend if for no other reason than the total lack of possible stand-ins for Brent Ryan — even the standard by which all white suburban Dad performances have been measured in the 21st century, Jason Bateman. Nick himself described it as “punk rock, rebellious, irreverent, original, badass,” and the “number one” movie he’s made in the past ten years (disqualifying National Treasure, in case you were worried.) No surprise, I must agree — this one is a wonderfully raucous and feral thing, but the scene involving the attempted murder of a newborn by her mother (Kendall’s sister) came very close to crossing the line. However, I am old and the intensity of my paternal instincts has probably outpaced my understanding of them. You could also argue, of course, that pushing such boundaries is a core function of a film like Mom and Dad. Nobody ended up vomiting or anything.
This fun thing shouldn’t feel as foreign as it does in cinema, but you already knew that. With all its implicit grapples with overpopulation, kids and gun violence, class, and racism — truly, this is a film charged electrically with current issues. Or maybe not. Ultimately, I can at least tell you for certain that Brian Taylor made exponentially better use of his resources (I couldn’t find a solid number for its production budget) than the Fucking Spierig Brothers did with Winchester (just so you know what a disaster looks like,) and managed to be refreshingly original (astonishing that nobody’s had this specific idea before.) A spectacular riot, Mom and Dad does all you could possibly want it to do. With just eighty-three minutes to lose, it’s worth the commitment just to hear Nicolas Cage whimper and say “anal beads.”
Today, after positing on whether or not a pastry was in fact the namesake of the battleship Bismarck, I was told by its owner — a local woman of a far-from-excusable age — that “[I] should be on that big bang show.” Upon such fuckery, I looked her in her eyes and informed her that she’d just changed my plans for the night: I was now going to go home, wrap my lips around the barrel of my Beretta, and blow my brains out. I should’ve known better than to so jest with a boomer immediately after receiving such glaring indicators of minimal intellectual function, but I fell for the hope — as I often do, to no avail — that such a jarring reaction would encourage reflection on her foul, tragically misled sentiments regarding the general state of youth, and perhaps even spare a peer or two from future tribulation.
Instead, she called the police.
Three round cops found me, an hour later, approaching hesitantly. Strangely enough, they were chuckling — maybe to a little joke about all the recent hubbub on the radio covering a recent wave of blatantly negligent medical care in American prisons, though I hope nervous laughter is just SOP when responding to a suicide threat. As all Columbia cops always are toward me, they were aggravatingly genuine and hilariously understanding. I began by simply recreating my interaction with their summoner, quoting her word-for-word, and — I swear to my new Lord — all three immediately released a choral “ohhhhh” in unison. I’ll never know for sure if they actually assimilated the reality of the situation so quickly, but it’d certainly seem that way.
Clearly, I should’ve threatened her life.
Despite the day-to-day expression of our recurring wisdoms, habits, instincts, patterns and cycles of cultural metamorphosis in the discourse, the stream of “well, you know they were sayin’ the world was going to end when I was in elementary school” to my ear has fallen abruptly silent since the inauguration. Our parents and grandparents are both impossibly fortunate and unfortunate, having to duck out as the most multiplicative (read: sickest) cerebral orgy in the history of mankind will just’ve begun nibbling on the slope to its climax. We’ll be lucky if we’ll still be able to articulate our goodbyes by the time they reach the door. Nonsense does a fuckin number on perceived wisdom, but the gaps are widening at a dangerous pace. Tectonic or domestic, we are all straddling expanding space, and the chill of its draft is now stealing too much of our heat to ignore.
Though it is entertaining in the moment (and otherwise redundant,) it would not be well-to-do of me now — nor was it, then — to leave the conversation in edgy absurdity. Though a part of me would like to campaign for Sheldon to be reclassified as an expletive, in disgust, I must — as an adult in all-out sprint to make up for stalled emotional development — note that such a display of concern should’ve been at least reciprocated with a bit of explanation, if not appreciation, though I won’t condone wasting public employee time for a misunderstood retort from a complete stranger.
It’s not news — the Theory is providing some ghoulishly skewed portrayal of less-than-forty pseudointellectuals. Though my savior’s time is obviously worth very little to her, the fact that she spent any quantity of anything at all engaging with even a decidedly mainstream generationally ambassadorial bridge could be regarded — if stretched — as the result of a curious seed, which has skyrocketed in human value, as of late. It is undiscouragable. Read the trail a bit, and you’ll find that your frustration is simply an expression of the terror that’s ignited by the stagnancy of their pace.
It’s great that you’ve managed to inch over to modern-ish sitcoms from Judge Judy and Independence Day, mom, but you’re gonna have to really pick up the pace and work on following a few body modification communities on the darknet.
If an absence of solutions are the crux of the blog, here I’m now gloating.
To whom does the commoner look to for such solutions when they’d prefer not to terrorize their kooky middle age parents into a half century of brutal fasting under vows of silence?
The Big Thinkers! The Men of the Hour.
Yes, men. All Big Bumbling Billionaire Imbeciles.
Elon Musk cannot be the Nicola Tesla of the 21st century, or even the 20th, for that matter, because literally every mechanically-minded professional I’ve ever heard talk about battery technology has condemned it in some manner as an inescapable dead end, developmentally. Perhaps, then, the champion of electrochemical storage is the* False Prophet.
No, I’m not capable of citing research or conjuring Mars-capable spacecraft, but I’ve been a bit too preoccupied with my country’s class war and its 10% adult illiteracy rate. It’s all well and good to be privy to romanticism, but it’s not the 1960s anymore. Even Howard Hughes would be more concerned for the wellness of the species than our continued reach for the stars, were he still alive.
Well. Maybe not… Charles Lindbergh would be, though.
We spent the 1990s preparing to rid ourselves of history because the smartest among us foresaw some facsimile of the renaissance we are currently experiencing. If they’dT been shown a glimpse of some statistics on the volume of media we consume, they’d exclaim of their pride — no doubt — in their species’ capability to progress, and perhaps even their own contribution to it. However, extended observation of an average American’s day-to-day life would be lamented, in disgust, and a huge portion of the blame can be placed on one t-shirt-touting cyberyokel: Mark Zuckerberg. His name is stupid, his spawn is ruining my life, and he continues to insist upon saying shit that frightens the bejesus out of me. Zuckbrain is fucking scary. “Wiring the globe” is fucking scary. Jarvis is fucking scary. But Fuck, himself wouldn’t be at all intimidating without his money. The scariest bit is the lack of class in the criticisms of his intellectual influence. Farhad Manjoo’s attention has been diligent and premium as a Timeser’s should be, but the same occupation bars him from authoring with the color of unsubstantiated claims. Mine does not.
Elon Musk is not an apologetic genius. He’s willing to joke about his intellectual distance from the planet and its populace on Twitter. Apparently, his mind’s even surpassed the need to punctuate. Crazy.
Google is well on it’s way to becoming the neo-Vatican… yada yada yada, but they’re too far gone — I do not have the expertise to address them. Fuck, though, is a singular short-sleeved, Even Stevens-haired young man without so much as private office space (even though his sentiments on breathing room at home are obviously inverse.)
Clearly, it’s all just to protect him from the truth:
The Apostle John’s Book of Revelation is about Facebook.
Fuck’s cyberchild is the horseman, the beasts, and the plagues, stuffed into one tyrannical website.
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
If I can repeatedly trigger accidental voice calls on Fuckbook Messenger, don’t tell me it’s not possible to inadvertently live stream myself on the pot.
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Of course, it’s unlikely that Mark’s essence was bred entirely of evil, but — like Tump, in many ways — he is an excruciatingly wealthy idiot. Though he is spending 2017 touring the United States, he doesn’t seem to be all that interested in actually closing the gap between himself and the rest of us, which suggests that he only wants us to throw us off his extra-terrestrial, xenophobic scent. I can’t imagine what The Mothership would really want with my Amazon browsing history, though.
And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
Just to be clear, he is not The Antikhristos. He’d better not be, anyway. I’d be absolutely Livid with Lucifer if his choice of a figurehead for his Big Plan was such a Fucking dork .
I mean… if Fuck wanted to spend his time crafting 6000-word essays, why the Fuck didn’t he just build a Fucking CMS back in his Jesse Eisenberg era instead of the actual weekly-updated tower of digital Babylon? Surely, Satan would know better than to waste resources and pulverize creativity by ordering his Demonic Dev team to release regular builds for build’s sake rather than on a per-need basis, but that’d be because The Tempter is an authority on incentives as thoroughly as Fuck isn’t.
If you’re equipped with the privilege of literacy, you’ve been reading a lot about Fuckbook’s political consequences, recently. Frankly, it’s about Fucking time, but I’m compelled to emphasize that the most significant motor driving the politik is fueled by the eldest, fossilized portions of our thought meat. According to Manjoo, “the News Feed team’s ultimate mission is to figure out what users want,” dipping in Fuckbook’s ocean of action data, searching for a soul.
Yet another Fuckism that suggests he’s an alien: everybody knows that nobody knows what they want.
There’s a central mechanic of our brains that by nature wreaks a whole helluva lot of contradiction. If you’ve ever mentioned ADHD with your doctor, or know a hypochondriac/adderall fiend who has, you may have heard it described as “the lizard brain.” Simply put, it’s the brain stem, and it’s responsible for the most basal and primitively emotional instincts and habits; an anti-intellectual agitant, arguing at all times for the course of action with the most immediate gratification. The Great Clickbait War of 2013 was a startling demonstration that revealed the strength of the hold Fuckbook had (and still has) on these reptilian bits — the true location of its power.
“In surveys, people kept telling Facebook that they hated teasing headlines. But if that was true, why were they clicking on them?”
Volition is the Word of the Day.
Here, we must once again invoke an ancient parable from the wise foretellings of the Disney film, Smart House: when dealing with human beings, boundless compliance quickly leads to abject misery for all parties involved.
Mindlessly, habitually , endlessly clicking … this is how we die.
Something about Fuck’s direction is fundamentally poisonous to the human mind. Yes, he is assuredly too Fucking democratic, but misinformation is far from the only form of evil his creation has assumed. If you can jog your memory back a bit, you’ll remember a much wider variety of brain-rotting filth.
In lapses of their existences’ finitude, the 40-something second cousins of the world may still send you the occasional Can Crunch Saga invite, jarring you back to Jr. High in 2009, and forever associating themselves in your mind with the horrors of mortality and
f u c k b o o k g a m e s .
More than one sixth of all living eyes see Fuckbook every single day, placing its consumption behind only eating and drinking as the most universally human activity. Mr. Fuck achieved his vision and became perhaps the greatest purveyor of words who’s ever lived. He’s taught (or… is teaching) us a few very profound things about ourselves.
Capability is not the whole of the equation. Ability on its own cannot guarantee growth, but it can often result in decay. Discussion does not inherently lead to connection. Population is not a cure for isolation.
That said, I must begrudgingly admit to you that I, myself am one of the 100 million users who’ve depended upon a “very meaningful” Facebook group for a “physical support structure” for which I have Fuck to thank.
I’ve spent half of my existence watching cheesy barnstorming movies, whirling around die-cast biplanes, seeking out stories from old pilots — military and commercial, and eventually trained to become one myself. As regular activities at young ages do, aviation became deeply ingrained into my identity, but my local community is very sparse — it’s not exactly cool, these days. On Fuckbook, an unofficial group for members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has allowed me to stay connected to the rest of the world’s Soaring Nerds, which is no small deal. It’s the only forum which I am compelled to participate in with 100% sincerity and emotional effect.
Photos of members standing proudly next to their first airplane, or of adolescent students in a similar pose after their first solo, or of three old white rubes on a hangar picnic, laughing around a fold-up table full of rudimentary ham sandwiches in front of two gleaming Stearmans…
They tug around on my heart like nothing else in life can.
I stopped flying lessons at 16 because I began to see behind the naivety of my childhood perception of what it meant to fly commercially and realized that I was unequipped for- and uninterested in the sort of challenges it presented. I haven’t flown in seven years, but the community will always have a tremendous dividend of my core being.
These days, not a single person in my day-to-day life knows or cares about aviation, which wouldn’t be laudable whatsoever were it not so emotionally necessary for me.
A few days ago, a member shared a photo with the group of Charles Lindbergh’s modified Ryan cockpit, captioned “what airplane am I?”
In my youth, Lindbergh fulfilled my closest equivalent to the ‘childhood hero’ role. My grandmother bought me a first-edition copy of The Spirit of St.Louis from a small town bookshop when I was six or seven, and I carried it literally everywhere with me until middle school. I watched the Jimmy Stewart film tens and tens of times, and I cried when I saw the Spirit in the flesh at the Smithsonian, yet I’ve never had an informed conversation about any of it with another human being. It really warmed me to see how many of the comments were correct answers.
Breaking news: it’s nice to know that there are other people on Earth who give a shit about the same things you do.
Again — aspiration should always be encouraged. This is Fuck’s vision for his creation, and it is feasible, even for myself. At least his public persona — however valid or invalid it may be — is making a huge effort to have positive consequence, even if his idiocy is imbuing itself in all of humanity. Fuck is too powerful to be exempted from responsibility for what Fuckbook’s done to the Western psyche over the past decade, but — like the Christian god — perhaps all we need require is his repentance.
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
The meteorological complaints you’ve been hearing from mid-Missouri since Friday aren’t inappropriate this time — the middlefolk faced one of their most fatal enemies — a well-laid minefield of black ice. It slowed our timid, ABS-oblivious society to ten percent or less of its already near-postmortem pace. (For God’s sake, at least learn why you needn’t pump your brakes before you opt for infotainment extras or… get your driver’s license.)I woke up with the same debt and imminent expenses as I did the day before and without any more intention of buying a premium laptop than I’ve had for the two years I’ve gone without one.
Without the concept of mobile computing in its entirety, actually. I knew I’d lost my desire to carry a loose bluetooth keyboard around everywhere in case some insight were to fall upon me heavy enough to justify reaching for it over my 6S Plus in a public venue, hunched and squinting. There’s still nothing better at cranking out copy than the Lap Top Computer, I suppose. I was holding out for a truly-substantial alternative to Windows 10 and macOS, wanting to be enchanted by lite delights like Acer’s cheeky Chromebook R11, but had decided in self-pity that I’d probably never be able to stand a new operating system ever again.
My mom graciously decided to take me mall shopping for Christmas, which is comforting in its tradition of vapid routine. The state of a given midwestern metropolis’s mall is a keen indicator of the culture’s soul, I’ve found, and ours is mostly crewed by destitute alcoholics, who are my closest kin, and therefore my most appropriate company for the holidays.
Even now, when the somber corners are not quite so desolate. The acoustic sensation cannot be experienced anywhere else — the battlecries of the Me Generation’s pop reproduced by hateful diaphragms behind their white plastic ceiling facades and absorbed again by palletloads of mass-manufactured stonewashed denim, seemingly coming from a far-off wholesale nether no matter where in the store you’ve been buried. Ours is a few decades old, now — weathered and alone, which accentuates the whole dystopia with a resolute air of infinity, as if it’s certain it will outlast me. It probably will.
The last time I was in the market for a laptop, there was little room for aesthetics in the equation. We have been taught this past decade that beautiful devices come in fruit form, only. Somehow, I allowed myself to integrate the ridiculous sentiment that MacBooks were the only option for anyone with any reverence for tactile experience. As I expect you’re aware of to at least some degree by now, Apple’s diligent study of desirability over the years is the singular force behind their lordship, and it’s the token MO of tech opinion to confuse it with sex appeal, resulting in expressions like “[apple hardware device] is sexy,” which is a pityingly desperate delusion. Do you actually find brushed aluminum appealing in any bodily sense?
We did once, of course. Your infatuation with the stuff probably peaked the moment you first grazed it, and — if you’re anything like me — you could be harboring more aesthetic frustration with their longstanding occupation than you think. Infatuation must be starved to survive, and we’ve been eating up Apples by the bushel for a decade.
But really, though — by the billion.
I saw images in that Spectre review which I was completely satisfied with. I watched that new HP logo as it traveled through the frames, stupefied. Out of precious ignorance, I experienced real desire in that undesirable place. (Which could actually represent some sort of defeat on my part, but I’m not too bothered.)
And in the midst of those desolate people in their fortress of mediocrity, my mom and I hatched a plan to indulge upon the best part of desolation — impulsive, subsidized gluttony. We’d stop by the pharmacy to fill my anti-depressant script before renavigating Bourgeois Bumper Cars to get to Best Buy, where she’d let me use her credit line to purchase my final choice in the segment.
I could’ve sworn it made good sense to me, once — in Middle School, when my friend and I were spending most of our free time emulating the first generation of tech-reviewing YouTubers — but now, it reminds me of a darkwood restaurant with its closing fluorescents on, shining in the inverse frequency of a bug zapper — casting a more effectively-repelling ambiance for the human psyche than anything else I’m capable of dreaming up, at least.
I used to fucking visit that store for no purpose but to see and experience the diluted bit of the handset renaissance with enough momentum to coast its way here. I probably spent a full sixty minutes wandering around by my own volition on a handful of occasions. But these days, I am perturbed from the onset in a big way. There are too many blue vape enthusiasts on the sales floor at any given time, and they all want me to leave. They loaf around the carcass of consumer technology’s passion, not realizing, I guess, that I already know it ’twas they who killed it. (The stench is strongest by the wearables.) It’s eerie how little the Big Box itself has changed, considering the decade their goods have traveled.
Under a fittingly-gray sky, I wash my pill down with La Croix and a Kind bar to preempt the appropriate rumination in my mouth as we inch toward my Final Financial Doom with the spooked sliders. Though we never exceed 5mph, there are abandoned vehicles littering the shoulders and medians in varyingly absurd orientations. But I do not jest — today, I am silent, for I am one of them.
By the time we reach the store, my medicine has once again placed my soul in Safe Mode, so we shuffle into the grotesque thing. There are four employees in sight — no one else — and they all send their beady eyes my way. I have too much purpose in my consumerist jowls to pause, though, so I rush to the laptops near the opposite wall in an attempt to get an early estimate on my current level of personal computing idiocy. Naturally, my Mom snags one of another four associates immediately. In this work, I shall refer to him as Zoroaster.
Despite having never seen 80% of the displayed devices in person before, I am able to spot the Spectres quickly, which is a good sign. I am immediately elated by the contrast to the depressing mushbooks I remember HP making in the oughts. The bezel… the brilliance of the display… the details of the visible body. I open Extratone. I open The Verge. I am hoping that Windows 10 will not be as much of a kicker as I’ve expected.
I’m not a minute before Mom and Zoroaster have found the new MacBook Pros. Nobody remembers the password to the 13-inch, but the 15 is showing off its “deep blacks” and “Space Gray” mood. The Verge looks phenomenal, and its icon in the touchbar catches my eye. I manage to use it to switch tabs, the less-attuned degenerate in me noting the extra spanning required over CMD-TAB.
“Have you tried the new keyboard?” asks Zoroaster.
I hadn’t. It’s as indescribable as you’ve heard, but suggests legitimacy is Apple’s effort to bridge the transition from physical keyboards to their touch replacement. Terrifying legitimacy.
“You get used to it,” he says.
I open Pages and click out something ridiculous. Yeah… click. I’m sure there’s a better onomatopoeia available by way of just about any technology website, but I didn’t bother to study the sensation after realizing that it’s a con for my number one use of a Portable Computer: clacking.
It’s not as if the thing isn’t gorgeous, though, in its way. After years of usership, I can tell you that it is undoubtedly a superb execution of the MacBook marque. It’s polished. It’s The New One. But it is also bleak and slateish. Some might even say dystopian.
Do I want to carry such a thing around with me everywhere? Do I even want to carry it out of the store? What will I tell my friends?
What will I tell my staff?
$2,000 of my future spent on what is now a piece of distinctly establishment design… I return to the x360 to see what can be done about Windows’ appearance these days.
Purple-gray taskbars… Hm.
It’s a sale.
Let me be honest with you — I spent some ninety minutes going between the two. Even if I’d endured the shame and self-disappointment of choosing the MacBook Pro, the simple grunt of the challenge the Spectre presents to it is no small milestone. As Zoroaster scrambles to remove my new machine from The Hanging Jail, I am drained from the decision, but aware that my perspective on the world has changed. I’ve been working on an editorial for the past few weeks that’s mostly alarmed howling about the industry’s utter lack of passion, as of late, but seeing the Windows-running department’s devices and their matured design — finally beautiful without obvious Apple influence — had truly revived some little flame of hope within me.
Lithe Zoroaster was confused by UPCs a bit, as is understandable, and began juggling three Spectre boxes atop the prison lift, screaming the numbers — one at a time from each device — to his bewildered disciple, below.Throughout the later half of the whole ordeal, I’d had company — some sort of blonde working man who’d also braved the frictionless waste to calm himself with debt. I’d been elated at the opportunity for companionship, at first, but he’d found himself unable to escape the store’s bespoke Apple Hole. I did my best to help him, but failed hoist his girth from the 15’s benchmark suction. I’d left him there, bound. May my dreams n’er be haunted by the fading portrait of his tortured, middle class face.
As the Best Boys did their dance, he somberly came to my side. The grimace he’d worn in the struggle had fallen away. I knew what was coming before he formed the defeated words: “go ahead and grab me the 500 while you’re up there.” As one should when they stumble upon a stranger’s funeral, I bowed my head.
Here begins the part that sorta makes me look like an idiot… After signing my mother’s lengthy loan agreement, Zoroaster — the little devil — asked if I wanted the Special Edition, just behind me. I’d stopped by last year’s Big Boy Spectre — the ballsy-ass copper-toned masterpiece — and had wished for a moment that the look could’ve carried to the fresher x360. The monospace Hewlett-Packard logo blinded me, and the unlit display (it hadn’t been set up yet) concealed the wider bezel of… The older Spectre 13t, with which I write, now. I didn’t notice my blunder until after our treacherous return, and could not care less.
My favorite short story of all time was published by the Southern Literary Messenger in the summer of 1835. It compiles all of my favorite story elements into one painfully tedious body: absurd proper nouns, completely unbelievable premises, lighter-than-air craft, exploratory context, and an utterly unsatisfactory aftertaste. Technically, it’s a hoax, and could only have been spawned by the most frustrating comic of them all — Edgar Allan Poe. If you find yourself one day reading his collected works cover-to-cover, The Unparalleled Adventures of One Hans Pfaall is how you’ll be introduced. I’m sure the ‘ole sadist would be pleased at the thought of you crawling your way through his exhausting thirty-page-long description of the bellow-mender’s space balloon and its bizarre journey.
Originally, I’d remembered incorrectly — a bit of light research says Pfall was a bit too absurd to be overwhelmingly believed, but it was believed — that an indebted laborer obsessively constructed a DIY dirigible which he flew to the moon before managing to convince a lunarian to use it to deliver his surgically-detailed chronicle of the journey to be read publicly in front of his township’s civic leaders, only to have the scoop exclusively broken by a small arts periodical. In fact, it caused enough hubbub to inspire an entire subera of similarly-styled hoaxes, many from the originator, himself.
It’s no secret that Poe was as bitter as he was brilliant, so I’ve found myself again and again wondering, lately, what/if he would have spoken amidst his country’s 2016 election for President. As I’ve known him — much more intimately than most; much less than a few — I would posit that his brilliant, suffering mind would’ve been locked in the most productive year-long mania of his career. He was the sort of extraordinary man who was disgusted by the existence of anything less. I think he would’ve played the tricks of Search Engine Optimization, engagement, and news aggregation with a veracity that could’ve swung an election, if we accept the recent verdict against some good-humored Macedonian adolescents.
His laughter would be abruptly stayed, though, if you told him that ten percent of the adult population is illiterate, two centuries later and twenty years into the single most profound renaissance in the history of human communication. Though a nearly-equivalent upset could probably be had by informing him that his best-known work by a vast margin has since been The Raven, but I’ll spare you that subject for a less-topical dissertation.
How do I begin an argument about intellectual disparity in America? You got the President you deserve…
“Deserve” is no less ignorant of a concept as “truth,” so that’d be awfully hypocritical. Not that hypocrisy gives me any sort of pause, whatsoever, as a purveyor of fake news. Perhaps I should begin with an overview of Extratone’s bias on advertising.
Total advertising revenue we have received to date: $0.
Total number of advertisements that have appeared on extratone dot com to date: 3.
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As of this moment, advertising is Google, more or less, which means they are one of the few companies on Earth with the sort of cash flow to even consider attempting to craft a standard of maliciousness (the only useful spectrum I could come up with that could accomplish the goal of “eliminating financial incentives that appear to have driven the production of much fake news.”) I suppose the first authority on intent would be the Church, but I — a fake news writer — have been unable to arrive upon the method Jesus Christ would choose to go about eliminating communion.
But The Lord has forsaken this place — we have only Google, now, and — as the resident omnipotence, it is They alone who can stay what They have made. So perhaps that smelly gentlemen wondering aloud about the “second coming” on the bus stop bench is actually smarter than you, but unable to foresee the digital setting of his apocalypse. If Google is our neo-God, surely Walt Mossberg is now the pope. Yesterday morning, he addressed Facebook (neo-Hell,) commanding them to behave like the “media company” he believes they are. I would like to imagine that Mark Zuckerberg is hissing, currently.
He cites a Pew Research Center study that was conducted this past Spring, which found that “44 percent of the U.S. adult population got at least some of its news from Facebook.” I’d like to point all 2000 of my greasy, thumping, slanderous fingers at the beginning sentence of the next paragraph, though: “but that puts a heavy responsibility on Facebook…”
Who exactly is placing this burden on Facebook? Have we actually reached the point of social media as a public service? Perhaps their influence on the country’s psychology is enormous enough to exempt from all of the cheques that guarantee freedom of information exchange.
Thank God… perhaps FarmVille shall finally face its Day of Judgement. All the requests from one acquaintance of mine are stressing me out, and federal employees have not forcibly changed their foul-ass color scheme yet, so I cannot navigate deep enough to block her without becoming physically ill. Don’t get me wrong — hanging Mark Zuckerberg by the Neck Until Dead for treason would make for quite a spectacle, but I cannot help but wonder if you have forgotten one of your most irritating expressions: don’t blame the messenger. I hate to be rude, but POTUS Tumper is the definite sign: you are responsible for your choices and your ignorance. Volition in informed media consumption is the only effective weapon with which one should combat deception.
For some perspective, know that I came shamefully close to falling for a fucking phone scam a few days ago. I didn’t end up costing my company, but I came within inches of doing so. I hadn’t experienced such all-consuming embarrassment in a decade. But — as life experiences tend to be — it was humbling, and preparatory — I’m sure — for the next time I must identify dishonesty.
I appreciate the sentiment of personalities like Mossberg and the effort they expend in the name of my protection as a user, but I must be allowed to discern the nature of content for myself, especially when using a service who’s CEO is publicly crying “we do not want to be arbiters of truth ourselves.” Whether or not Facebook has the cash to deliberate on, design, or redesign algorithms and/or other software to combat inauthentic content sources is irrelevant. Max Read’s account of the process as it relates to the election is the sharpest one-take I’ve seen thus far. In it, he suggests that the sheer size of Facebook’s audience “would seem to demand some kind of civic responsibility.” And — while it is now undeniable that it is “the most efficient distributor of misinformation in human history,” I must speak for the general readership and note that when we are “misled,” it is out of our own failing diligence, intellect, and/or education as ballot-eligible adults.
As far as myself and my editorial course are concerned, it is tremendously disrespectful to remove a reader’s volition in their consumption. If there is “blame” for the votes in this election, the single polite course of action is to leave it on the voters, indefinitely. Any alternative is what we’d brand an acute theft of will. Volition in informed media consumption is the only effective weapon with which one should combat deception. It’s not a contentious sentiment — assuming competence from all participants when legislation or demand are concerned. If it were, the safteynet wouldn’t be focused on such a small portion of digital disinformation as misaggregated news represents, but instead on the highly-potent culture of Google AdWords cons, or the longstanding institution of email phishing. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not the biggest fan of Zuckerberg’s Culturesuck. I founded our flagship podcast around reprehending it, and see plenty of evidence that it’s profoundly effected Western psychology in a startling way, but attacking the issue in an ethical context is tremendously inefficient, if nothing else.
Yes, it would make for an entertaining story, watching Google and Facebook hurl their masses of cash at the 9th commandment, but it’d be much better spent remaking the critical readership in American society. A federal program to confront the ~10% adult illiteracy rate might be a better place to start.