Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Technology, for the most part, does a lot of good. Take margerine for instance. A product that mimics butter without all the negative consequences of high-fat. Truly a miracle of modern science.
Sure, some freaks will want to use it as a sex lubricant, but that's their business. All we can do is remind them that oil-based lube breaks down latex and they should consider a water-based alternative.
The point is that once it's out there, you never know how a new technology will be used.
Look at the internet. Entire fake communities of people have sprung up around this recent and revolutionary communications technology. Millions of people in instant contact with the text-only versions of one another, sloughing off the unpleasant parts of their personalities in order to present themselves in the best possible light to other people doing the exact same thing. It's order and beauty and poetry all wrapped together in a fluffy pancake of love sprinkled with pixie dust and Canadian prescription drugs.
The trouble, I think, is when these pretend communities try to come together in order to express their common interests in actual real-life forums. Fora. Whatever.
Usually the bad that happens is expressed as disappointment when the fantasy of the text-only relationship is destroyed (see: the vast majority online dating) or it's a harmless-bad of the dork-tastic kind usually involving Star Trek or Star Wars or some other iteration of geek that I'm not qualified to speak on.
But sometimes the fantasy of the internet spills over into actual real-world delusion. When a group of people who all share this delusion decide to get together in the real world and do something, that's when we're all in trouble. That's when the internet is bad news.
What I'm thinking of are these jackholes down in Arizona who have deputized themselves to patrol the Mexico border.
Here's the chilling quote: "Many volunteers were recruited over the Internet and some plan to be armed."
Maybe I'm overreacting. But here's what concerns me: "Jim Gilchrist, a retired accountant from California who organized the project..."
And this: "Chris Simcox, Minuteman field operations director..."
I don't know either of these men. I just know that when accountants and their buddies start calling themselves an army and handing out titles (it doesn't say what Mr. Simcox does for a living, but I'm guessing it's something in either the accounts-receivable or food-service fields), some shit is just bound to go horribly, horribly wrong. It's like their volunteering for their own personal adult version of Lord of the Flies. The only question left to resolve is which one of them gets to be Piggy.
I'm just saying if your keynote speaker at the orientation meeting is Bay Buchanan, you're already 3/4 the way to Crazytown.
I mean, look at their recruitment ad:
"VOLUNTEER! Save America from the wave of brown faces coming up from the south! Protect the border and our national security! Males age 18-75 (will accept a spry 80 if you have your own truck) for militia duty, border patrol. Must bring own firearm. Live alone or w/parents. Virgin and/or divorced preferred. Xenophobia required. Persistent, willful misunderstanding of American history and the Constitution a plus. No commies, no fags. BE A MINUTEMAN! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information."
I'm just saying it seems suspcious.
One more quote: "The newspapers and the TV cameras are hoping something will go wrong and somebody will get hurt or somebody will do something stupid and that will draw attention..."
OK, so there is an upside from a voyeuristic entertainment point of view. He's got me there. Me and my new friends over at the Minuteman Watchers Club will be observing closely.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.6