Saturday, December 01, 2007

Inauthenticity and Machines

In signing in I noticed I had made 391 blog entries prior to today's.

C. S. Lewis disparaged diaries.

But with creative nonfiction taking pride of place nowadays, the perfect work of literature would be the perfect diary, even if written in the third person. People crave reality; it is the age of reality TV, creative nonfiction, docudramas--which should tell you one thing: It is the age of unreality, the age of inauthenticity. And whatever authentic thing the media discovers in this world it generally exploits and devalues. In a free market world, where entertainment, like politics, competes for the wallet, this should be a given.


We have a DVD player purchased from Wal-Mart on the cheap. It has the most amazing rattling sound, like a playing card held to bicycle spokes by a clothes pin. I move the unit, elevate one end, and sometimes succeed in eliminating the rattle. Last night in my battle with the rattle I finally tied a bandana tight around the machine as if to squeeze it into submission--and it worked!--until tonight, when the machine rejected the toothache cliche' until I smothered it with blankets. Do machines have vanity?

All these Chinese machines. As our chief lender, China supports our slavery to consumption. They don't have to spy on us; we pull our pants down in public.

Soon it will be the ugly Chinese, buying our cities, strutting their stuff, giving Patrick Buchanan a reason to live. It's inevitable. And they will be superseded by another race, and so on, until there are only the elite and the drones. No, no, scratch that--it goes against the democratization of technology, so I reject the idea.

In my country I have found Japanese tourists the most impolite and intrusive, as if we were one giant tea garden. I actually had some of them ask me to move while I was meditating on a pool so they could get a shot of some lilies. I think my response shocked them. (Americans are not Canadians.)

Source of all human annihilation: To consider certain humans as subhuman.

Madness. No, merely mankind.

I liked the DVD player with the toothache, the innocent anthropomorphism of that. Machines have yet to reach perfection and likely never will. As things stand, their occasional failings are their most endearing qualities.

This is the Age of Inauthenticity, if I can neologize, where your next lover might be the real thing. (Not. BO and bored with positions. You will seek the real thing out if it kills you, and it likely will.) One thing about authenticity is its natural imperfections, as in the machine I mentioned. Such defects cannot be duplicated except through complicated negotiations at cellular and digital levels.

The feeling of unreality you have is quite common nowadays. We have objectified ourselves through webcams and home movies, confessions and reality shows. We are living life vicariously in the third person. Hello, Britney, Paris, Angelina!

Nothing is authentic enough for the those without grounding. Hold fast to your traditions, however quaint, for it is more than most have nowadays. Muslims see the day coming when their grounding will be stolen and they must fight for survival. Or did I miss something?

2 Kilorats,


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