It’s funny how we revere technology almost like a god. But we do that largely because it’s way easier to revere that than following an established religion where you often have to give cash gifts to large institutions, especially if you want to host a wedding there. What a racket that is. Weddings, I mean. Oh, and the Trump-eriffic Mueller Report.
Technology, like religion, was created by us humans so that we would have something explain why little Billy was run over by the motorized parade float featuring hairy, fire fighter drag queens at the Gay Pride parade, despite Billy’s utter innocence. Sure, his parents were mightily distracted and in a zombie-like trance watching season 8 of Game of Thrones or playing Fortnite til 3 AM on a caffeine high. But a vengeful technology god took Billy away to teach them a lesson. Or to teach Billy a lesson. I am not sure which one. I haven’t been sleeping well.
Let me be precise here when referring to technology as a god. I am not referring to the Miracle/Curse of CRISPR, the gene-editing technology that may one day alleviate the pain of disease, and help to create healthy populations, or potentially make a bunch of amoral Chinese super soldiers. No, it’s far more mundane than that.
Back to the technology-religion thing for a minute. It’s really simple to worship at the Altar of Bits and Bytes, at the Church of iPad, at the House of the 88-inch OLED Screen with 4K, because, let’s face it, you don’t have to get dressed up and show up at an place of worship on someone else’s schedule, where parking is difficult to come by.
No one asks you to pray or for donations at the Temple of Technology. They just ask for a credit card and a monthly subscription that over time equates to a king’s ransom of a small African nation. Which you are happy to fork over blindly because you get pretty immediate rewards and gratification as opposed to having to wait until the afterlife, which I am told by people who claim to have knowledge of such, is a hard place to find a decent Chinese food restaurant that isn’t overbooked.
Now that technology is our new god, or is at least 85% of the way to replacing most major religions, we have new worries and fears. I think it’s fair to say that humanity’s greatest existential threat is when the WiFi goes down, or your smart phone goes on the fritz. That’s when the technology god wreaks his (yes, I used a masculine pronoun because that bloody profession of techies is about 99.9% male-dominated) revenge and puts you at the mercy of the evil minions who occupy the lower rungs of the Help Desk.
Minion #3,692,134 lords his (or her) power over you after you have waited 73 minutes on hold (a.k.a. purgatory), then gets you to give your most personal details like your blood type and the last time you picked your nose in order to verify your account before he (or she) explains that after “rebooting your device” (that always sounded vaguely sexual to me for some reason), you’re kind of screwed and they have to send a technician to your home, for a small fee. Kind of like buying an indulgence, no?
Yet, despite the ignominy of dealing with the Help Desk Minions, and the associated manager or Level 26 expert you had to wait an hour to get to just to tell you the problem is somehow your fault, once they miraculously re-establish the electronic connection and the flow of electrons and compressed data packets, you are elated to be able to continue streaming pretty much meaningless pictures of your cat or child that no one else wants to see. Unless it’s my cousin’s daughters who are super adorable.
Where does this discussion all lead to? What are you, dear reader, supposed to glean from this shaky piece of writing and ranting as the long weekend of Easter arrives? I don’t know, but I certainly did sucker you into spending more time on your electronic device reading this mess.
Dateline December 26th, perilously close the freezing toilet,
despite temperatures upsettingly close to global warming theoretical models
Internet of Things = Holiday Laziness
So if you dared to read the previous previous episode of this epistemological equivalent of recycled toilet paper from a Third World Communist-era country with high dysentery, you know full well that my thoughts of winter and cold led me to explain to you the prevalence of technology, our addiction to it, the impending tsunami of the Internet of Things. And, if you read between the lines, you know I’m not a very good hair stylist or theoretical physicist. But you really had to be paying attention for that one.
So as you can see, the holiday spirit has made me lazy too and I crapped out and came up with this easy to make and even easier to read episode of the comic that should be banned by authorities. But that has given me time to spend with my kids, my family and most importantly, myself. Mostly unconscious and on a couch, warmly cuddling my iPad like the child I always wanted. (It has an off switch. Just saying.)
So with the holiday season in full swing, and ever more ways for the marketers who control the Internet of Things to tell us what to buy, and why we need it, and subsequent ads custom tailored to trigger our deepest, darkest, most perverted desires and convert them into purchases, we have not only become grand and gross consumers, but lazy ones as well. One click, and it’s purchased and delivered to you by a human, a drone, or a drone human. This my friends, my Romans, my fellow slack-jawed readers is progress! (By the way, I got new ski boots, thus satisfying a four year desire/need that ranks close to food and sex.)
However, in this age of ease, laziness and three-toed sloth, technology has brought some dangerously unintended consequences, and I’m not talking about North Korea and China hacking my Twitter feed so that I am accused of calling the President of the United States a “running dog lackey of the cesspool of narco-porno-terrorism” — again. I am, however, talking about the technological scourge of our visual world known as High Definition TV, and the even more perilous and insidious 4K TV. That’s right, I said it, ultra-high definition TV is a bad thing because it allows us viewers to see the world as it is, and not as how it could be with gauze sheathed glasses.
Why such a scourge you ask? (Actually, since no one reads this comic/rant, no one sane is really asking. I am really the one asking. Besides most of my unwilling readers are actually bound and restrained, like Hannibal Lecter.) Well, there are certain combinations that shouldn’t occur in nature, and one of them is pornography and high-definition TV. I know the imprisoned among you think this would be a good thing, but why would you want to see all those appendages, scars, tattoos, entry and exit points in such graphic detail? Don’t you have a hard enough time looking at yourself in the mirror in the morning, up close, to know that humans look pretty damn hideous in detail?
Not The Face and Definitely Not the Logic
Let’s skip the sexual appendages and areas for a minute and concentrate on the human face. Unless layers of makeup are applied, hairs are plucked just so, sleep has been had in adequate time increments, the lighting is just right, and the alcoholic content of the wine you guzzled is just short of jet fuel, it turns out that human faces aren’t as nice as we think they are. In fact, the human brain adapts to survive by deceiving itself so we believe that perfect he or she across the room is beautiful. Our brains shield us from the reality of the crooked nose, the pitted skin, the greasy patina on the nose, the uneven eye placement, the gummy smile, even the thin lips so we don’t have to deal with the reality that 4K and HD TV grant us.
So, if we logically extrapolate this hideous face architecture coupled with our inherent brain deception, and drop a couple of quadrants to the human private parts, and now think of those “bits” in super-mega-quintuple high-definition, not counting the aforementioned tattoos and scars, why the hell would you want to see “the piston scene” in ultra-high definition? Porn stars really aren’t that good-looking, because if they were they’d be in Hollywood.
Technology has given us too much, I say. I really don’t want to see a monkey’s hairy butt in that much detail, so why would I want to see a woman’s woo-hoobeing invaded like Poland by someguy’s obscenely large wing-wang (yes, I always feel inferior) with a mind-boggling, vomit-inducing detail revealing “things” the human mind makes a dedicated effort to conceal, smudge, gloss over and otherwise make palatable through neural deception? We need the gauzy filters and lighting effects. We need special effects and makeup artists and regular definition TV so as not to see the high definition horrors of low production values that could lead to procreation. The logic of visual hyper-reality has no place in the bedrooms of the nation or the porno sets of Hollywood, Prague and Tokyo.
It almost makes me want to give up gettin’ funky with my significant other. That would be incomprehensible.
Which brings me to the next thing beyond comprehension. Child-rearing. You see, my thoughts of the cold snow and ice reminded me that my car needs to have its winter tires put on, and thus I realized I would be sliding, swerving and slipping sideways and forward to my destination hoping I don’t crash and/or incur more costs or penalties. Traction control be damned, it is dicey out there.
Just like parenting. If I may use an automotive analogy (translation: this author is not a deep thinker), your offspring are kind of like an adrenaline junkie lead-footed driver in a car with bald tires, while you, the stupid, impetuous parents, are like stability and traction control, airbags and anti-lock brakes, doing everything you can to prevent or at least reduce the likelihood of massive fish-tailing, skidding, crashing, hydroplaning, uncontrolled sliding, rollovers and unintended off-road misadventures with drug-addled, tattooed people of the opposite or same-sex.
Your job, quite simply, is to get your children — legitimate, illegitimate, adopted or kidnapped, natural birth or from a test tube or as otherwise defined by the law and social conventions — to their destinations in life, somewhat safe and sound with as few scratches, replacement parts as possible, no blown gaskets, and most of their critical fluids intact.
Sure, there will be episodes where “fluids” will leak, the airbags will figuratively deploy and the dashboard warning lights will light up the instrument pinnacle like a baboons behind in heat (usually after the child has experimented with acid in said parents’ basement, or gotten a tattoo with the name “Midge” in an all too prominent place). But what would a journey be if it didn’t include inclement weather, roadside assistance, more than a few blind curves, pot holes and running up on the sidewalk of life?
The biggest problem isn’t even so much keeping your kid on the road to adulthood despite the likelihood of he or she winding up in jail for public nudity. Rather, it’s that you as the equivalent of the automotive safety net also need to be a mechanic. As we know many are crooked, few are competent and most are high on paint and gasoline fumes. Which isn’t such an awful thing, it just makes social engagements and job interviews more difficult to complete without graphic profanity and dropping your pants for sheer shock effect (dad).
Being poor mechanics on top of being a safety net means we often cheap out on maintenance and replacement parts to ensure we have some profit margin to be able to save for retirement. The result usually is parenting that involves quick fixes (e.g. “go ask your mother, I’m watching cartoons”) or psycho- and electro-convulsive therapy.
Last and Least
Penultimately, your offspring, as represented by the vehicle in this story, slows down, wears itself out, kills the battery every so often, gets into an accident or gets a flat tire, and sometimes admits maybe a paint job is a good way to hide the damage. (Unless of course, said vehicle and driver are turning 50, have a collective midlife crisis, get a paint job and fender extensions, and modified parts, and then leave home to have an affair with another “dealer” so to speak.) But I digress.
Ultimately for the parent, you want to steer the vehicle and its occupants so that at some foolish point they can err fatally, not use birth control and then wind up being the safety net/mechanic to their own (un)planned adrenaline junkie lead-footed driver in a car with bald tires.
So it is with these random words, these unstructured, tangentially and loosely linked thoughts, these bumper car-like mental occurrences translated into key strokes that I bid you, the mentally degenerate readers of this chronicle a happy holiday season. Spend some time with the ones you love, or if you can’t do that because of the restraining order, buy more crap as a means to short-term happiness and self-fulfillment. It does work, I know from experience.
My loyal followers, and those that feel guilty and follow out of shameful guilt (love you the most),
Through no fault of my own did I contract this unending sinus infection/cold that has helped make the tissue companies and pharma industries reach record quarterly profits due to my many purchases. But I am mending slowly, so much so that I raked the leaves in front of the house as any good sucker would.
Sweeping the thousands of leaves that fell from the tree in front of our house, I had time to think. Too much time, as it turns out, because I came up with this mental muesli which I am now imparting upon you folks. It largely revolves around taking a stand against something. Anything, really. In this case, it’s a stand against fundamentalism. Fundamentalism of all kinds — moral, religious, environmental, economic, corporate, automotive, food, you name it. Although there aren’t too many atheist fundamentalists. I don’t think they’re willing to die for anything, unless it’s maybe something like their favorite Chinese food restaurant being closed by the health department for flagrant violations involving small woodland creatures, a blood-soaked chopping block and rusty knives. But I digress.
I must especially take a stand against comedic fundamentalism. Those comedic people are the worst and most fundamental. You should have seen the comedian convention last year when the pie-in-the-face faction squared off against the seltzer faction, and then came the heckling, erudite Molière backers, who know how to use snobby, powdered-wigged wit in a deadly way. It wasn’t a pretty sight and more than one funny-boned purveyor of laughter was trucked out of there on stretchers. Blood, toupees, sinew, coconut cream and sharp words littered the messy, messy floor. I’m still scarred after that convention.
But I have gone off track again. So let it be known that if I don’t take a stand against fundamentalism in most of its forms (preferably the non-violent ones), and in particular against comedic fundamentalism, who will be left to joust with jesters and provide you with the artistic and savage commentary and buffoonery that is Stanko & Tibor? No one, that’s who.
So bear with me for this episode of the comedic sage that fits neatly on a page, and laugh if you can. It’s wordy, it’s visually WAY too busy, and it’s silly. My advice: Don’t let the comedic fundamentalists win.