Wednesday, June 14, 2017

An experience in virtual reality

[From the archives]
Tuesday (20160801)

I had one yesterday when I went up to the park.  Don't rightly know what to call it.  Amusing? .. Surprising? .. Puzzling?  Discombobulating certainly. The footpath was packed with people. This is a pic from google images, probably on a weekend, but not so different in impact. How come[?] on a Monday, about 1pm. "Something's going on here," I thought. "Monday isn't a day people flock to the park." Moreover there were no kids, or oldies that could be identified as 'parents, or (more likely being a Monday), grandparents. These were all people in their teens, twenties, and some obviously in their thirties. The weird thing was the way they were all standing about like at some meet, .. sort of moving on the spot, or drifting aimlessly, like stalks of seaweed in underwater camera view. Well there they were, .. all staring at their mobile phones. What's going on? Nobody's actually walking, or strolling in any purposeful way. Just sort of 'being' there.

Then (reality check) it hit me. Don't tell me! (It had been in the news.) Pokemon Go.

Then I had the ^%$^%# !! experience.

"Wha'.. the F^%* !! "

These were grown-ups. 'Pokemon', as I understand it from finding out, is something like collecting number plates on cars, or train names, or footballers from breakfast cereal packets. [Trains, .. Ah, .. what a blow that was to a nine-year-old when these terrifying, rushing, hissing, belching monsters spitting cinders and setting the grass on fire on hot summer days were taken out of service and went diesel, then electric.]

 But still, nine-year-olds versus adults. Why weren't they at work or where/whatever they were supposed to be doing (on a Monday)? (Chasing little virtual cut-outs around indeed? Is somebody pulling my leg? (Another reality check - How much does it cost to play this "game"?) Is this how people "connect" these days? The adult version of collecting cards of footy players? Is this what you get from eating vegemite? At least when you were nine you had to actually make some sort of a "You show me yours and I'll show you mine" transaction, and actually talk to people; maybe even recruit a third to see if their collection could help. I didn't see anybody talking, or doing anything that looked like making a swap. No point I guess, if everybody already has all the 'cards'. So what exactly is the point? I mean other than to test how best to co-opt people's attention. First the hardware, then the software. Yes, I know it's a bit, .. (of me), .. but if this is not a cause for concern over the malleable simplicity of simple people's simple minds, then I don't know what is, .. because it's not only demonstrating what can be done, it's revealing the substrate on which it's doing it.

 Not long ago Google got complaints for changing the lettering on its search page to make it look like a three-year-old's colouring book, and there are increasing comments generally around 'infantilising the public space'. It can't be infantilised, if the potential for infantilisation is not there. Ergo, ..

We've already had a week recently of reminiscing 'Playschool' on public radio in adult prime time, then followed by a week of broadcasts on pokemon, and now (also in the last couple of weeks) (on public radio), 'up-speak' is catching on. Again. Upspeak (/uptalk), .. also known as valley-girl talk, Doesn't it piss you off? It's almost as bad as the craze among yesterday's upper school and university students, of speaking like teletubbies. Sadly for some and annoyingly for many this has left its legacy, particularly among many professional women whose need for security and belonging has proved to be unshakeable.. And not least (and certainly not last), is the detestable proliferation of "vocal fry" - sizzling the vocatives in bacon fat, when they're not being snorted down nasal passages like turkey-gobble. All revealing the nature and the power of social connectors, the age group of their appeal, and what this reveals for the way society is headed. With the score equal at half time (after 2,000+ years) will religion make a come back? .. or will it succumb to the greater power of infancy, as, ..nappies trailing, .. yesterday's cohorts make it into the snuff of old age.

The problem is (in my view) about all of this 'child education' stuff, if you reflect the child back to them on their own terms, peppering it with baby-speak, then that's what you get in the transition to the adult world (teletubbies, bananas in pyjamas etc), .. with some never to make it.  Can't blame them (for standing around like seaweed) (looking at the 'abacus' in front of them - trying to work out what it's all about). It's exactly the same with religion, reflect back to people their own Pride and Prejudice (and fears), and you have them in the palm of your hand. It's the salesman's golden rule; find out something about you and work it so you 'identify'.

Who among us has never been 'souled'?

 [Ho no, .. you'd never catch *me* with *that* one!]

 Religion, ..organised religion, .. is ignorance dressed to the nines with official significations [1] [2] in case people don't get it, .. that it is *power* - enormous power. Born by warrant and the innocence of people it eventually draws to itself the authority to suck their blood in some cosmic sociopathic gyre, eventually presiding over them like some genie, until, held by their common bond (that must not be broken) they find themselves in subjugation, fealty and fear. ("One Ring to rule them all..") ("Kiss it.") [Pope F. seems to be breaking the mold though. Good.]

 A bit strong? Not if you lived five hundred years ago before there was separation of Church and State over 'here', or at the present day over 'there' (where there isn't any).

Here's Len again, with his take on it. [Since Len, protests have caught on a bit, but not a lot.]  I think the idiosyncrasies he's talking about is what musicians would call a 'hook', and it derives from the tribalism of the schoolyard (particularly girls') [Len's right there, about this tribalism being a 'girl' thing, and related to lack of confidence in many cases, but more than that to a need to belong ] but hang in for his last point, he's not so far wrong - in time we'll all be hopping and bopping (or swaying like seaweed) to the same app., with as much confidence as the 'in-your-face' mobile phone you're looking at gives you (however much that might be) which is not a lot, as far as I can see, from the number of people with their heads down, buried in it 24/7).

 ["Lack of confidence" indeed. There's too much (empty) confidence going around, if you ask me. which is why there's all this teletubby-speak, upspeak, and world-weary groaning-speech trying to make an impression. Speech used to be a very powerful means of communication, now all the communication of value is carried in how, not what, (it) is said ("like", .. innit?)

Gotta go. (You got this far?) (Can't be so wide of the mark then.)

 [Hang in for the mark of the Never-Ending Stowee.]

 "Ï'll be back."

 [I see in this update some of the more impressive pictures are either not making it to Google's search, or have been removed.  Read More? ]

Connecting links  (=> "The Great Regression ")
Globalisation and 'being sold'  ("Sneaker Culture has arrived!")
The increasing infantilisation of popular culture => [1] [2]
(Define who you are by your tatts, studs, and bovver boots.)
[Globalisation (good listen) ]

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