Shelving books at the library today, I handled a gem from 2011. From the book’s own jacket:
For an entire year, otherwise clear-thinking members of the most affluent, over-educated, information-drenched generation in American history fell prey to the most expensive, hi-tech, laser-focused marketing assault in presidential campaign history.
Twitter messages were machine-gunned to cell phones at mach speed.
Facebook and MySpace groups spread across the Internet like digital fire.
YouTube videos featuring celebrities ricocheted across the globe and into college students’ in-boxes with devastating regularity.
All the while, the mega-money-raising engine whirred like a slot machine stuck on jackpot.
The result: an unthinking mass of young voters marched forward to elect the most radical and untested president in U.S. history.
The bolding is mine. The president in question is of course Obama. I’ll leave you to figure out who the author most likely voted for in 2016. Talk about instant irrelevance.
To the gentleman at the Indian restaurant today, who will never read this but it feels good to type it anyway:
The protests were not because someone “lost”. People in Australia and Europe didn’t lose anything and don’t feel a sense of loss. What they feel along with many people here is that they’ve gained an ignorant, unqualified liar who has yet to prove himself otherwise, and that the rhetoric is treading dangerously close to the type of drivel that oozed from the corners of the mouths of men who’ve inspired worthless fanaticism and slaughter.
Enjoy your fucking tea.
Happy Inauguration Day. Time for some windmilling.
Today is a day for pithy bullshit blog posts. It is also a day for death metal. If you don’t have any, you can borrow some from YouTube: Origin is very appropriate, on any day. If that link ever gets broken, just go buy their album Omnipresent. You’re supporting a small business. You can thank me later.
I just think your app is stupid. I don’t think you are stupid.
After speaking with fellow New Year’s Evers about a new (to me) app called musical.ly, or as I like to call it, Musically, I’m realizing that there are millions of people in this world that I will never understand.
The gist of the app is that you make your own music videos, using your phone. They’re mercifully short, and though I’m sure there are some genuinely great clips out there, it’s a selfie that moves, with sound. It’s like Snapchat, but more permanent and centered around songs.
This app is going to make someone a bucket of money. That’s not an issue for me. The issue is understanding why it will make someone all of that money.
I have commented to my wife before that she and I are both on the verge of becoming people for whom the newest technology and inventions make little sense. We’re not quite people asking for help navigating the internet at the library yet, but we’ll get there. When I see things like Musically, it’s odd, because I feel as though the ability to make things like this comes from a certain type of person that I don’t understand. It’s not enough to say that they just wanted to make money, because the thing requires creativity. You actually need to want the thing to exist, beyond what it might do for you financially. Or maybe I have that wrong.
I don’t understand the appeal of Musically. Or of Snapchat. I don’t understand why I’m so enthralled by watching videos of other people playing video games either. I think it’s because these apps don’t immediately fit into the category of toy when you first look at them. A cell phone isn’t a toy, really. But they’re crossing into that territory and are probably used more like toys with each passing day. I think toy and I picture a truck, or a doll, or a set of building blocks. This is the only explanation that makes sense, since there are plenty of toys that I look at with wonder and confusion, but since they look like toys, my brain puts them in that category and the wires don’t cross. With a phone and some jackass dancing in a park while filming himself, I just want to trip him. Maybe that’s just me.
I like to believe that people are, at bottom, very alike. I question that when I hear about self-driving cars and smart homes that can adjust the brightness of a light from a phone. How many of these are toys, and how many are something else? We are strange, mysterious, absurd creatures.