1/31/2006

superorgasmic turbosexy space-age technewtopia (yawn)

I'm reading an excellent book by the ever-brilliant Roger Shattuck called Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography. Early on he's talking about the irony of technology--that for every one problem solved by it, there are ten more created. But we still cling to the essential narrative of modernity, which is that one day, in the not too distant future, we will find that ultimate solution to all of our woes.

No, not death, silly! Don't be so morbid! Someday we'll all live in, I dunno, hermetically-sealed designer homes where germs can't get us. And we'll have self-perpetuating, self-programming, self-cleaning robots do our sexual bidding. And the sky above our germ-free cyberbubbles will always be blue, at least according to our personal-programable weatherpods. And musak of our choosing beamed by satellite straight into our brains providing a suitable soundtrack for each and every minute of the day. And there will be no more strife. And no more hunger, but also fat-free, zero-carb alternatives that are as good as the real thing! And so on. You know it's in the back of your mind somewhere, too. This technewtopia.

I always think of my dad when I think of those little gadgets that are supposed to make life run like clockwork. That man was a sucker for any gadget that promised to free up your time, so you could...what? Play computer-solitaire, watch old World War II documentaries on the History Channel, sigh, fidget, and wait impatiently for your wife to come home from work so you can jump down her throat for being five minutes late, bicker for half an hour, watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and go to bed, get up the next day and do it all again? Well, it's a life.

When I was in Sarasota, I was very impressed by my aunt's cooking. You know I sincerely love my aunt, and I'm not being the least bit facetious here. She served up this great big breakfast, and I was like, "mmm, Aunt, this is wonderful!" She's like, yeah, nephew, and it's all frozen, from concentrate. Just add water, and whoop! Der id iz!

I mean, this is some funky space-age shit going down in the kitchen. It takes all of three seconds to prepare, and the thing of it is, it really is good. Not like when I was a kid, with those rubbery frozen waffles, chalky eggbeaters and grizzly fakin' bacon.

But then, you snarf it all down, and you're sitting there with your thumb up your ass with nothing to do all the rest of the day. Maybe the dishes, you say? Well, they've got this superturbo space-age dishwasher, too. We're talking Hemi-powered. This bad boy could turn Paris Hilton back into a virgin, that's how pristine your dishes come out. And it's got a dashboard like the friggin space shuttle on it. It can do almost anything--it even cleans cups and saucers that you left out on the coffee table via the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) effect (that's what the red "spooky action at a distance" button's for).

All these fantastical time-saving devices are well and good, if you're someone who really needs more time. But what if, as the old Styx song goes, you've got "too much time on your hands?" And it's tick-tick-tick-tickin' away with your sanity? And you just don't know what to do-ooo-oooo?

Sure, theoretically, you would be someone so full of vim and vigor, with such a loaded social calendar that even if you didn’t have to spend a minute of time preparing meals or cleaning the house, putting your face on, getting dressed, whatever, there still would not be enough time in the day to get all that electrifying living done. But the truth is, you finish your super-efficient, turbo breakfast with your ten cups of instant coffee, and then instead of saving the world for democracy, rescuing kittens from trees, painting the Seventeenth Chapel, and delivering Nobel speeches, you sit around watching Elimidate, and then catch Maurie doing his ghetto paternity tests, followed by a little Jerry Springer white-trash smack-down, maybe a Judge Judy screechathon, some Celebrity Justice. All the time waiting, waiting, waiting…for Oprah. I can't go on, I'll go on.

All I know is that mankind was obviously not meant to have so much free-time. I don't know what womankind does when it gets bored (mahjong anyone?) but mankind masturbates.

Sometimes technology is not the answer. Of course, it depends on the question...

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