There are a great many important topics out there that need consideration. Fantastic amounts of ice melting at alarming rates. Children in Gaza and the West Bank living entire lives in what some call the largest open air prison in the world…. Fast food workers on strike, Honey Boo Boo has replaced the Honey Badger and now none of us give a shit. Metrics chug along, analytics harvest amounts of information about us, the corporations know more about us than we do, they out think us, place suspicious amounts of Kool Whip in places we can’t resist. The world is dying… that is DYI-ing I mean. Spell check took over….. The computer is writing most of what I think…. I don’t know anything anymore. We are all on our own. We have so many questions, we look for so many answers, and more of us are told to turn to Uncle Google, the fun internet wo/man who can bring you Wikipedia, the Weather, and vulvas the size you wouldn’t believe unless you actually clicked on the “yes I am over 18 button” prior to downloading a virus that eats your YouTube play list but we ask Uncle Google anyway.
“Where is the closest macrobiotic pork store?” “Did that star really have sexual relations with that other star?” “If I die in Farmville, do I also die in Second Life?” And in asking these questions we learn so much, so much those thumbers already knew. However, there is also something to be learned from asking the old questions, that one we first asked as kids, “why” then built upon with “where” as we reached awareness, “when” as we reached the age of reason, “what” and “who” as we raged as teens, and “how” as we struck out into the world to learn a skill, to survive, to grab a parcel of green earth and hold on as long as we could. You can tell the age and stage of Empire by using The Googles not to answer the questions, but to see how our world looks to The Googles, the analytics that suggest the most commonly used terms, the auto fill. And to this end, the author turned down the poison pen – in this case the caustic keyboard – and took out the iThingy and entered the first of these questions alliterated.
Who. Type it in to The Googles yourself. Maybe the experience will be different for you, but from my attempts on several devices, “Who” always suggested “Whole Foods.” So to this term we have replaced that basic of all questions with that need for food that is better than C Town, Grand Union, or Pigglywiggly. Food is our last unabashed definition of class in a world united by Benton. What people eat defines status, greater than education, I mean, he went to Expensive Collegetown but did you see what he eats?!!! Whole Food, below those who find time on weekends to go to the farmer’s market, a step child to those who join a local CSA and take Uma and Isaac to see the chickens, the bastard child of the Park Slope Coop member, and a repeat blasphemer of those who grow their own organic vegetables. However, Whole Foods is a step up from those people, the ones who shop wherever there are coupons to clip, the ones who gobble down quantities of corn syrup and polyhydrodextrosorbototomotorotoxin. It is telling that our “who” really does define “who” we are… you are, what you eat, at least in our modern class structure. Think about your friends. Then think about them eating at White Castle. Do you unfriend them? What if they make you eat White Castle?
What. What? This came up as Whatsapp. Ok, perhaps they paid The Googles for placement. Perhaps it was a mistake, but again, on each device I attempted, the auto fill said whatsapp. Apparently, Whatsapp is some hub for the digital iSomefuckingdevice generation (full disclosure, one of my devices is an iSomefuckingthing). The current obsession with apps and mobile devices and a constant plug into the great duh at all times so we can find local deals, check in at Kentacohuts, and look up facts when our brain leaks a little too much and we’ve forgotten how to get home, or the name of our spouse. Or want to find another spouse. Or casual sex…. Yes, I enjoy snapping a picture, putting a rude comment on it, and posting it to the intertubes. I look down way too much, as does all the iSomedevice Zombies, I haven’t seen where I am going since 2004. Your children may never live to see your face. They may be way too engrossed in some device or perhaps a suppository administered at birth that turns the retinas into screens, perhaps the controls only available by some kind of fisting, some gross distortion of the human body that makes Cities of the Red Night seem like a Saturday Morning Cartoon, and poor Gregor Samson nothing but a shrug since our apps are wired into us, all of us, and if no other comfort could be given, at least Gregor could be satisfied that Mother and Father remained human even if he succumb to that dead of the alien, the crustacean with a half-mind the Hunger Artist with a heart of gold and Father was the Silence of God and Mother the extinguisher of all that was good in the world.
It is at this dismal and frightening hour we come to “When.” “When.” When did the family dog die? When did the lights go out? When you close your eyes, what do you see? This common term does not come up with “when is the end of the world,” which was disappointing to this blogger since I saw what little impact I have had in the months/years/decades I have been writing, promoting what appears to be the spent meme that the EOTWAWKI is upon us, the when does not mark any milestones common to the human experience, to our wound up coil that all springs at the same rate. No, when is an owned word. The Googles offer up to us “Whentowork” a software that appears to manage employee time so that your Paid Time Off is not too generous and your actions are managed by machines so that our productivity can be measured, our actions thought out, our spirit removed, the ghost in the machine exorcised. Whentowork is very fitting at this junction we stand, as our shape of things to come is indeed the cyborgs of Asimov and Bradbury’s dreams but put through the logic of Celine and Brecht and shat out by one of Lovecraft’s epic monsters. The time cards replaced by scans of our biometric, hell where I work I can count 12 cameras and report my movements in 15 minute increments. Whentowork
Where. This author is often silent in new company. This may be no different. I have not met you. You have not met me. In the corner I choke on my words. Glower. Scowl (I was born with such a look it is hard to lose it – my grandmother smiled all the time in order not to look like a murderer… my mother… hates society too much to put on such pretense… and so is known for an angry look). I could wonder at “where.” Where is dinner? Where did I live? Where are my keys? Where is the first circle of awareness, the first sphere that sets us apart from cockatoos and kangaroos since I believe all animals ask “why.” Why is that animal coming to me. Who is that monkey? What if I swipe my paw at that ball of yarn? When should I mate? How can I get those ants out of that hole to eat them? But where is to locate ourselves in space that is abstract. Where are we is to consider that there are places we are not. An insane women I knew as a child would rant and rave that I did not exist when she left the room. A women who could tend to her body functions, dress herself as not to attract attention, but had lost “where” irrevocably. She “was.” When she wasn’t “where” I wasn’t exist [sic]. And to this question, our Googles fills in the mystery, the answers as clear as those provided by The Alchemist who told his wide-eyed student we all have a place in the universe. “Where is Chuck Norris? Yes. Let me repeat. Where. Is. Chuck. Norris? F_ck. Give me a vowel, and make it a “u.” Our love of war and violence is similar to our lust society. We can watch all the murders we want. We can see tits and ass everywhere, wrap up our young children in perverted vestments, plaster vjay in billboard and on screen, but we must not touch our bodies, or those about us. To violence too we build alters, TeeVees, films, video games, sports, all in the name of simulating the systematic destruction of another life, not our own. Unless you get a Power Up. Or hack water world… It is not a wonder that as our politics appear more liberal, our fascist selves do not come wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross, but holding on to a joystick and wrapped in a kaftan. Enders Game come to life, except the little shit playing knows it’s not a game.
Why. It is said by philosophers and educators that this is the oldest question. The first and last we ever ask. The alpha and omega of the human experience and experiment in consciousness. And here the cold heart of the monolith point not to Jupiter and Beyond. No Star Child or super ape, evolving in real-time like so many microbes in a lab or buried seeds in a jar, we look to the ether, that rarest of elements and enter… “why” and the auto fill spares us the need to thumb farther. “Why is the sky blue.” It is to say that indeed language cannot convey spoken meaning, cannot contain in written form the expressions, the motives, the tone, tenor, and trembling such matter as would convey a multitude of meanings, perhaps even promote the utterance to that of a Power Word, when I write the word… “Really”? Really? Do we need to wonder why we cannot explain to the Greater Unwashed the warning signs of Climate Change? The need to get back to basics? The need to protect farms and small business? How can we explain the false hope of Fracking or the theory of peak oil, or that all matter spins to entropy when so much of our fellow humans in this great land of ours appear to be grappling with the question… why is the sky blue? Well… son… Because mommie and daddie don’t get along any more champ. That’s why the sky is fucking blue.
And it is to “how” that I can take out the cultural thermometer from our collective unconscious’s rectum. An unscientific experience, I did not make notes, did not have a control group, did not Google the answers as to why, did not do so many common experiments in order to validate my data, to round out my singular and limited experience, bombastic ideas and test my mental models against so many theories by so many learned folks, ask away of all those Knowing Ones…. No….. As so many of our age, nothing more than barflies in a digital age, village idiots open and ranting 24/7 (or Nonstop as they said in Russia)…. I could not move another finger to try to understand the filling in of “how” not with so many tools and skills I wish to master… but “how I met your mother.” I raise a glass to our Empire. I am a few clicks away from a woman and a donkey. Who will win this time?