Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mind all Googly

Sometimes you write and write, and get lost in the writing. Sometimes you fling it away into the trash bin. Sometimes into the ether. Well, OK, sometimes I write and write.

It's pretty unnerving now that Google funds my free email by googling into my very personal emails. They render up ads which can be funny, or sometimes even anticipate my thinking. Complaining the other day when I visited Chinatown up in Toronto, that all the bookstores I remembered were now all gone, Google very helpfully, in Chinese, with no English translation, offered a link where I could purchase Chinese language books in North America.

But it's also pretty unnerving how the very cosmos mocks my thoughts. How, the other day thinking about old girlfriends and new, there appeared a couple of police cars, lights flashing, between which walked one old girlfriend I hadn't seen in ages, though I did recently find out she still lives right around the corner. Glad to be adverted, she seemed abusive sometimes. I guess I seemed worse. It would have been nice to say hello.

Words are but techniques; according to McLuhan our media encompass our technologies, which are a subset of the larger category. And it may not matter so much what is said, since the medium is the message. Television violence has the same effect as television romance, since it's the mediation which counts and not what one tries to do with it.

If that's the case, and I suppose it is, then what are we doing now? Where have all our gurus gone, to guide us with this hot/cool magic printing press, which if your equipment is newer than mine, can even intrigue with videos?

Lex's law says that the number of transistors alive in the world increases in direct proportion to the amount of information out there; for convenience' sake, let's just count the words. Considering that each machine, except for mine, has millions upon millions of transistors, each changing state, except for mine, millions of times per second, I guess that must be a lot of information.

The chip fabs now just replicate what the old Gutenberg press once did. Big designs now get miniaturized, and reproduced over and over, for playing out some code. The more you print the cheaper they come, until everyone's got a copy.

We all now intertwine, like it or not. We all now interfere. My body is a machine, scaffolding all the colonizing cells which share my DNA (and some freeloaders which symbiotically go along for the ride). Or do the cells themselves just provide the scaffolding for the ambitious little genes? But, thank goodness for the sake of my feelings, my body ends right at my skin.

Our published chips now do the reading, of code which gets loaded in from elsewhere. The hardware-software direction has been reversed, and the pace of quickening quickened. They were code once too, a kind of map imposed on crystaline wilderness. This serpent eating tale truly never ends.

Words, however, can extend my reach right across time and space. I spend more time, alas, communing now with dead poets than I do with loud human beings. But they did pack the best of themselves into their public versions. How very polite of them. I only wish I could return the courtesy.

If McLuhan is right that our very first medium was clothing, and I suppose he was, and that the Thunderings of history were all punctuated by wars, the first of which was division East from West, and the second involved social competition initiated by dress. The enclosure of our private parts. Dress an early technology. Technique. Medium. It hardly matters what you wear, so long as you enclose those private parts dear Adam.

And each new medium rehearses all those previous, so that now we cavort almost fully naked, exposing ourselves on the Internet for the pure lark of it. These are our pastimes now. We might rehearse a return to the very beginning, where there was nothing at all to fight about. We might simply be acting impolitely. There is a tension between civilization and its discontents. Wars as acts of lovemaking. Orgies of destruction. Politeness but a seduction.

All of our words now seem so much at cross purposes. There is no way that the ones which make the most sense can overpower the loudest and most obnoxious, is there? Ghenghis Khan did overpower civilization once. Why won't he do it again?

Can it be enough, finally, that we have no choice this time? That once again it has proven impossible to enclose our most dangerous private parts? Newer Khans (not very punny, that) seem always to be motivated to expose them for private or nationalistic gain.

These Attilas never seem to spend as much time in prison as do the lowly lovelorn who take forbidden pictures of naked prisoners. Whose secrets were being exposed? Which ones do we wish to punish?

Our prisons now still full of seekers after synthetic happiness. While the players with the fruits of our labor still make wagers at the table where we'll never be seated, you and I. Still googling into our minds, with taps, listening devices, pronouncements about who can and should marry whom, the Fathers have grown tiresome.

Well, fuck this shit! I've written enough right here, that were you able to read, and did I but have the talent to write, you could see very clearly that there is no means to enclose our very most inner secret.

We want love. That makes none of us very different from the rest.

We will defend those we love the best, and things can get bloody when we do, but most of those would be terrorists are only confused about the very same thing, and would never hurt us one on one. And those who would, well, how many of them never felt love in the first place? And so many of those have the grace, at least, to be polite about it.

So, in commemoration of this Independence Day, having witnessed a truly wonderful if recession-brief set of fireworks down by the Buffalo River, and if McLuhan is right, and I suppose he is, then how about we punctuate this last great Thunder with a kiss? We're all messed up in one another anyhow. The sanitizing Google tries for over in China won't keep them from this kind of filth right here.

I'm really sorry I can't make this any more clear. I'm really very trying!!! I'm working very hardly. It's my patriotic duty!

Happy Independence Day, oh world of my very own invention. I enclose you with a hug.

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