December 29, 2012
Ulysses S Grant died of a severe case of throat cancer no doubt brought on by his incessant cigar smoking. He lit a cigar the moment he woke up and kept going through the day until he put the last one out before going to bed at night. Then he woke up and lit up again. That's how you die of a severe case of throat cancer. Duh. But the thing is I understand the urge only too well.
If I didn't have to have people over to the house from time to time, and if it was okay to do in public (which, thank God, it isn't), and if there weren't any rules about it at all I'd probably have a good maduro stuck in my mug from morning to night too.
I recognize that maybe 99% of the folks reading this are now making fake retching noises and sticking their tongue out and hacking and shit (what is it about people who want to tell you they don't like something? Why do they have to go through all these enactments? Why can't they just say "I don't like that" instead of making all these goofy sounds?), and I'd be fighting an uphill battle trying to explain the glories of a good, rich, black cigar. So I won't attempt that. But I'm telling you, if society allowed it (and I could afford it) I'd go like Ulysses and have fun doing it. But oh well, not to be. Guess I'll stay alive longer after all. Damn it.
So what is it with all these ridiculous reminders being shot at us here and there across the internet? Trying to set up my iPad to coincide with this computer so that I can - I guess - be disconnected from the people in the room anywhere I go, I tried very valiantly to plug in all the sites I visit and everywhere I go I get these screens that are reminding me to do this and that and asking if I want to go here or there, and all I want to do is put in my web sites. Let me do what I want to do and leave me alone, for God's sake. Stop reminding me of shit I don't want to do with shit I don't need.
It all goes back to just how automated do we want things to be. I hate to keep harping on it but I have this feeling of impending doom. If ever somebody gets a hold of the whole maze of connections and exchanges going on we are - basically - fucked. For example I don't have one "app" for anything. I am the last man on Earth, I suppose, who does not have even one "app" for anything. That I know of. Even on my phone (which I've lost - am waiting for a replacement for - and don't miss at all) I didn't have one "app." I don't even know why I'm supposed to have them. They have "apps' where you can drive up to Dunkin Donuts and they hand you your coffee and you hand them your phone and that moves money from somewhere to somewhere. And this is supposed to be convenient. What's the difference - you're still handing them something? Only in this case people you never heard of are taking your money from a place you didn't know you had it. What is it about this that reminds me of the old credit card internet trap where you end up paying for months for something you didn't know you were paying for?
I'm not trying to be one of these boorish "anti-tech and I'm proud" jerks. I can't stand folks like that. I'm not talking about being anti-technology, I'm talking about proceeding with some caution about what we agree to, on the fly, without considering any consequences, and just going along like a fucking sheep in a herd. Can we at least talk about it? I'm all over the internet, and have been involved with it since it came up. Hell I had one of those useless $800 computers from Radio Shack or whatever the hell it was, that did nothing, took forever to program one function, and came with 47 books explaining how to write code... in the 80s! So I'm not, like, a pure troglodyte. I simply look at this blizzard of options and little do-dads and trick outs and go "why am I needing this again?"
I don't think that qualifies me as a true trog.
So, I go along. I like cigars. I like to read books. I like to go into stores and banks and talk to people. I like when they know my name. And I don't like the impersonal aspects of this structured, accepted avoidance of people on a regular basis.
Because in a world like that it is much easier to pull out a semi-automatic weapon and kill 26 people than it would be if you had daily exchanges with folks, face to face, and got to view them as human beings instead of having it be okay to stay isolated and imagine that other people are nothing more than icons on a smooth, clean screen. Maybe.
Posted by RW at 8:52 AM