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Sun, Apr 08, 2001 12:41PM -0600

An old meme

OK, I thought I'd just mention this briefly. What depths I have sunk to. I don't know how brainwashed you are by the net yet, but chances are you've seen the phrase "All your base are belong to us." They even had a feature on it on the local news a couple of weeks ago. (More evidence of the decay of Western Civ.) All this brouhaha from a bad translation. Who the hell translates these things? Actually, I wonder how much you get paid? Why is it that it appears that the translators only understand one of the languages involved in the translation? Or are they just using Babelfish?

Slashdot ejecta

The State of Oregon v. Randal Schwartz case caught my eye yesterday too. It's not shocking really, just another example of how the rights of corporations have become more paramount than the rights of individuals. Are police really nothing more than mercenaries for the Man? Even after Rodney King and the Rampart scandal, I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but now I understand why people who aren't even doing anything criminal instinctively shy away from the police. Admittedly, what the guy was doing was against the law (cracking password files at his place of employment, Intel), but why is he getting punished more than that guy who hacked into the Pentagon?

Lastly, I found an article by William Gibson which essentially compares the English with the Japanese. I'm a little uncomfortable with reifying entire cultures like this, but since I don't know anything firsthand about either culture, I have to take his word for it.

But I like the interesting idea of futurology. (There's got to be a better term for this, but this is the first thing I pulled out of my ass.) Basically, what I mean is our contemporary preconception of the future. Even though I am essentially a child of the '80s, I still grew up with reruns of cartoons that were spawned in the '50s and early '60s, the age of American Technocracy, when we actually sent people to another world. (Unless you believe it was all a hoax. I admire your skepticism. Even though I think you're wrong.) So I grew up expecting us to have colonized the moon by 2001, and probably even the moons of Jupiter (yes I watched Stanley Kubrick's movie when I was young and thought that it was all real) and that we would all have flying cars and every sidewalk would be moving a la the Jetsons. I was quite disappointed this year--NASA has been cut to a tithe of it's former strength and we are farther from space colonization than we were in the '60s. That's what I mean by futurology--the notion of the future that you carry inside your head, irregardless of how much it is at odds with reality. And then I look at the Internet and cel phones and realize that we really are in the future, but that's besides the point.

In any case, I think that the U.S. handed down the torch to the Japanese. The U.S. no longer dreams of a futuristic, technocratic utopian society. In some ways, it is in fact ossifying, perhaps a sign that we have reached the middle age of our Age of Empire. I don't think the Americans have a coherent futurology that they appeared to have half a century ago. Such is the price of Empire.

Then again, we might just all descend into pre-Industrial Age anarchy anyway. Is anyone else worried about the power grid? AOL went down last night due to power related problems. This summer is going to be a doozy, especially in California.

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l i n k s

an article by William Gibson
AOL went down last night