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I’ve become aware, via cultural osmosis of a strange phenomenon. I’m not sure if the phenomenon is more disturbing than the fact that I know about it in such detail, or why.
I was never much of a computer game enthusiast, and always wondered why anyone over the age of 12 would be. A tech savvy friend once described these games as “very sophisticated waiting.” The amount of time and energy spent navigating comic book worlds, solely created to pull profit from a devotional fan base is puzzling. In my day, the age of coin operated arcade games like pong and tank, I preferred air hockey, or pin ball- a tangible object made for a more satisfying expenditure of a quarter. The video game style that most appealed to me were cerebral, like the moon landing simulation, the lander depicted as a tiny illuminated stick figure that was sensitive to the forces of thrust, and the mystifying gravity of the moon, The only goal was to finesse the controls in a way that enabled a smooth touch down, no shooting lasers, no monsters no killing or capturing.
Unlike me, my best buddy was a genius computer nerd, and there- by trustworthy enough to have keys to a community timeshare mainframe. We could get stoned on a late night bike ride and hang out at ‘The Peoples Computer Center’- A small store front operation that had some desks, chairs and couches in the front, a couple of banks of teletype terminals, and in the back an air conditioned windowed room that held the whirring refrigerator sized electronic brain.
The game that interest me was the game called ‘Life.’ You would establish various parameters, and then enable your organism. The teletype would then begin the process of depicting with lines and symbols the geometric progression of your life form according to the program you established. Geometric patterns of growth emerged as the terminal clicked away...OK we were stoned, and waiting, waiting to grow up, waiting for more real life.
So Pokemon Go is in the news, I know about it because people have been falling off cliffs, walking into traffic, being mugged and other strange viral behavior, apparently everywhere, very quickly. Of course I had to read about it, who wouldn’t.
I guess I can understand the compulsion, the technolgy is intriguing- Enhanced reality, oh my. But lets get serious. Walking around with your nose on a slab of technology is a pretty low way to spend your time- Zero creativity, hardly an original thought is really required, and the goal- I’m not really even sure, as I’m not interested enough to care, but it seems like this stuff is being taken really seriously.
My mind goes to the outlandish, and if anyone uses this, send me some royalties!
What if this games GPS driven enhanced reality expands into. say point-of-view shooter games, or even POV malicious refrigerated trucks? Would there be people virtually machine gunning cartoon terrorists in public places, while not watching where they’re going, not interacting with fellow players, or maybe worse teaming up and creating virtual lynch mobs to root out the virtual guilty. The moral compass of this kind of gaming gets a little dicey.
My proposed game is a Zombie hunt, where all those playing Pokemon Go have zombie attributes superimposed onto them by enhanced reality, and the goal is a brain shot, to put down the hapless fools that insist on playing this ridiculous game. Oh, but that creates another ridiculous game, that spawns another crowd of the hapless. Virus like, this thing has legs.
Just wait till the drones get involved...
Okay, I admit that I am a movement spy.
As thepeopleswhistle I fancy myself the Scarlet Pimpernel of class war. In the name of solidarity and equality, I work to solve problems caused by our governments and our businesses. This proud American Fascism, corporate and militarist to the core, plows through masses of at risk people who are sold and in the way – as consciously terrorist as that big French Truck plowing through the crowd of Bastille Day celebrants.
It is fascism now with Hilary-types running the show – not a future fascism with Trump. The armed security forces are everywhere and they are heavily armed - double zeros licensed to kill. They don’t fear prosecution, just bad publicity. Why, you might ask, should we accept a situation where the person who stops me for a traffic violation has the option at their fingertips of killing me? Why should we agree that the person who patrols my camping activities in a state park is given the discretion of riddling me with bullets right there by my campfire?
Recall the textbook definition of state power – it needs a monopoly on violence. Which monopoly has made “police forces” virtual armies of occupation in towns like Baton Rouge, Los Angeles and Eureka. Disarming these forces is crucial. Replacing them with civil, not military, interveners is necessary. And I am confident that the first wave of such civil interveners would be yesterday’s armed cops.
It is the gun that draws the nuts. Any job whose description includes “can kill people when you want to” attracts a number of questionable candidates. The failure of police review, not to mention war crimes tribunals, shows the futility of policing the armed forces. Armed people functioning as units serve each other’s survival First and last. Us “citizens” are all Iraqi faces in a hostile crowd to those armed paranoids, increasing numbers of whom are Endless War graduates.
These domestic occupation armies shoot black people at will. But if you lack black people the money elite are satisfied if enough time is spent terrorizing the homeless. American towns are Spanish Pamplonas where the blue-suited, silver-badged bulls are always running and the street people better be running too.
The great urban parasite is always experimenting with tightening the noose of terror among the disposed. “Aggressive Panhandling” is the latest game in town One of the towns in my HumBayBeltWay tried it and failed in court. The local politicians know that this effort is doomed as well since it fundamentally defines “aggressive” as panhandling anywhere there are likely to be people. But the point behind such pointlessness isn’t success – the politicians merely want their wealthy patrons that they are giving it the old class war try.
But wait, one of culture heroes was homeless. No, not Jesus, I mean George Orwell. Too many years in the Imperial Police in Burma and elsewhere eventually produced the radically socialist Orwell. (He wrote a novel “Burmese Days” and an essay “Shooting an Elephant” which give us a taste of his deep disillusionment with his role) Orwell purged himself of that experience by going homeless. Read his “Down and Out in Paris and London.”
In fact, don’t wait. Here is an appropriate taste from George himself:
“There is no ESSENTIAL difference between a beggar's livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but, then, what is WORK? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course--but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless.
“And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout--in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethical ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him.
“Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised?--for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modem talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except 'Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it'? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other businessmen, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modem people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.”
Another tweet from: thepeopleswhistle