Sunday, August 22, 2010
Things I miss
Not the big chains. The old school "High Fidelity"-type record shops. Black stacks of plastic wax. LPs arranged in skategories. The Rolling Stones, Yambo Rools, Rude Boys, The Kinks -- Lord have mercy, here's Lenny Bruce's Stamp Help Out. Anything is possible. Everything is here. Amazon.com just ain't the same.
Not Barnes & Noble. The weird little niche operations with owners and clerks who actually knew you -- and knew something about books. Places you could browse and find weird accidents.
Stuff you could just turn off.
God forbid you simply turn your computer off. No. You have to go to the shutdown menu. You do that, and tell the !@#$ computer to shut down. Half the time it doesn't shut down. Such and such a program won't let it. Shut down, you say. Shut down! Then another menu pops up like a nervous Scotty on the original Star Trek. "Are you sure, Captain? Are you absolutely positive you want to shut down? Do you think that's a good idea? You might destroy any open files." Yes, you say. Yes. Shut down. I'm serious. I want you to shut down. Then, by cracky, half the time it doesn't shut down. instead, it installs some updates from the Microsoft motherlode. NOW INSTALLING UPDATES ONE OF THREE. DO NOT SHUT YOUR COMPUTER DOWN. The damn giant TV has one remote for the output source (the giant screen) and another for the input source (the cable box from Verizon). You have to turn them off in the right order or you're screwed. If you dial somebody's robot answering machine by mistake and hangup, your !@##$ phone rings you back and resumes the message where it left off.
Stupid popular culture
There used to be a dumbass morass of idiocy that made me feel intellectually superior. In the good old days, stupid stuff was made by stupid people. Today, all the stupid stuff has been cleverly engineered by really smart people with a cynical but brilliant grasp of their target demographic. There's a malign brilliance behind most crap.
Being Out of Touch
You're driving in your car. You're taking a crap. Nobody can call you. Remember?
Feature-Length Animated Cartoons
I'm no Luddite. I love CGI and 3D. But there's something special about drawings that move. Living drawings. Le dessin animé.
The Amnesia of History
I achieved consciousness at the age of 36. As a child, teenager and young adult, I was essentially a poltroon, an idiot, a chump, a mook, a laughingstock. If the stuff I did as a kid survived on YouTube forever, I've jumped off a bridge a long time ago.
Fukuyama was right. History ended in the early 1990s. What we have now is more like championship wrestling. The guys with the American flag costumes are screaming at the guys with the black leather and chains. It's a !@#$ fake. I've lost interest.
The Space Program
Earth is a seed. There's lots of stars, but it's a vastly barren universe. We need to get out there, grow, spread, multiply and change. It's just that simple.
The Cold War
Never thought I'd miss this one. But, in retrospect, we had a biopolar world of West vs. East. Basically, a high stakes chess game. Now, we have a multipolar game of 43-man Squamish -- a constantly shifting, anarchic mix of Rollerball, Whack-a-Mole and Space Invaders in which anybody can strike anywhere at anytime.
It used to be stuff died and that was it. Slavery, piracy? That all died in the 19th century. Nazis? We won, they lost. Hitler's skull turned into Stalin's ashtray. They're dead. No more Nazis. Korean War? Hey, same as the last war. We won. They lost. But the 21st century is more like a zombie movie. Stuff that's supposed to be dead just refuses to die. North Korea. Nazis. Slavery. You name it. You freaking killed it, but it keeps coming at you.