It’s been a month since I started blogging. I decided this week to stay away from news, but, despite my efforts, I still had some things get in my face. My favourite event of the week was the handshake showdown between The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and that thing down in the States that they are calling POTUS. This week’s song is called “Hand Crusher” and once again features Brian Knox McGugan on bass.
So today’s blog is a follow on from my first blog of four weeks ago, “My Digital Future” where I talked about “the paradox of progress”. In the month that has elapsed I have, of course, had to use computers and devices because, whether we want it or not, these infernal machines and the industry attached to them, foist their will upon us. It is increasingly difficult to exist without one. I can’t make songs and videos or write this blog without one, so I am self flagellating in that regard. If I had the cash, would probably drop out in a heartbeat to live in a little solar powered cabin in the forest some where.
This week WordPress decided to update it’s interface and once again I have spent hours trying to find out where everything is. My iPhone constantly asks me if I want to upgrade to the latest version. The only options are “Yes” and “Later”. If you click on “Later” it brings up another window asking for your phone’s password so that it can update, later, while you are sleeping. “No thanks” is not an option. Push notifications always cover something I am working on. If I don’t get the swipe right, it takes me away from what I am doing and forces me to look at it. But enough of that. Let’s just get on with some good old time solutions, shall we?
The Dungeon in my Mind
As I wrestle yet again with another wave of upgrades, website and software failures I discover that my subconscious has started to build a room. It is a dark, dank room deep inside the basement of my mind. It is lined with ancient bricks and has an iron maiden hanging in the corner. There is a table or workbench that contains a whole host of 9th century torture tools.
As I encounter each new electronic incursion into my life, I imagine having a dungeon full of shackled app and software programmers, each waiting to be introduced to Dave’s Digital Inquisition. My questions are simple and freedom is imminent if the answers prove truthful or helpful. Else wise I seek to change their approach by subjecting them to the very frustrations I have, 10 fold. It’s my imagination, I can do what ever I want in there.
I ready the fire and place the pokers neat to the embers so that they can’t actually get hot. I don’t actually want to hurt anybody, I just want to know if these people feel anything. Do they think of the ramifications of the paradox they are building? How do you make them think about it? How do you make them feel even just a tiny bit guilty and make them care? And then it dawns on me…well torture, of course.
We know that torture doesn’t actually work. When subjected to agony anybody will say anything just to get out of the chamber. But still, there is something satisfying about watching a good revenge movie that I think everybody likes. So before you start freaking out, understand that there is worse stuff on Netflix than is presented in my little foray into darkness here. I watched the first episode of “Santa Clarita Diet” with my wife last week and it ended with images that put her off the show completely, so we won’t be watching that again. But hey, I guess you gotta sell that kind of gore to get viewers in the 21st century and so…
I bring my first digital transgressor to the table. I have readied “bamboo shoots in the finger nails” for this guy. He’s the one who decided it would be acceptable to make gifs and movies go full screen in Facebook on a second tap instead of stopping, which is what we all want to happen. The button choice to stop the playback is a smaller button and harder to hit. Every time I want to stop the playback I am required to add 2 extra taps to my task. With each unwanted full screen playback the desire to plunge my steel pokers into the fire and actually make them hot, increases.
I ask my question; “Why? Why do you make me do all those clicks? My wrists hurt and the additional clicks are exacerbating my shoulder injury from when I was using a mouse too much”. I need an intuitive interface, not a forced compliance interface.
The reedy bespectacled techno dweeb just looks at me with a blank stare while he soils himself, not because he is afraid, but because I haven’t let him use the bathroom yet. The place stinks, but its my own fault, I should have been a more compassionate torture chamber master. With a smarmy grin on his face he says, “We need YOU to use all of your data bundle on your cell so the phone company can charge you for extra data AND we must somehow force you to watch the ads. Even if you don’t see the whole ad it still registers as a click through and a view. The advertiser is happy and then I get paid”.
His answer leaves me empty. I think to myself, “How much of my data bundle is sucked up by ads? Am I paying to watch these ads? How twisted is that?”. I continue my interview. “Do you love your job?” I ask.
“Yes, I love it”, he spurts, a little bit of spittle hanging off of his chin. Seized by an uncontrollable reflex, I gouge out his eyes with my thumbs. For some reason he doesn’t scream but just laughs at me, so I cut off his thumbs, knowing how important they are to his use of a digital device.
He sniggers at me and, in between maniacal screams, blurts out “Siri”. My phone answers him “How can I help?” With that, I become completely numb and cut out his tongue. For some reason there is no blood and he just continues to snigger and chortle. In my frustration, I blurt out more questions to my imaginary tongueless, thumbless, eyeless computer dweeb. “Who gave you the right to do that, or was this a unilateral decision? Is that your thing? Subjugation? Is that the kind of person you are? ”
I ask him “do you have any understanding of ‘elegant degradation’?” To which he responds with undecipherable gobbledygook gook because I have, after all, removed his tongue. And so I give him back all of his body parts and release him knowing that he will tell probably the police and my days of freedom will come to an end.
I snap out of my dream state and take stock of what this reality is doing to me. I wonder if I am alone in this or if others experience the same ennui. This constant, ever shifting library ladder of life that only seems to move sideways. I want to go straight up, not sideways.
I want spend less time on machines.
The Path of Least Resistance
All those years ago, I had an objective in mind and I plotted a path on how to get there. I never expected that I would encounter so many forced deviations that would derail my chosen path and force me to select a new one that is no where near the objective I had in mind. It feels like cultural appropriation at the hands of programmers.
You see, I want human connectivity to be free because, before the internet came along, it was. The internet and the people who run it, are intent on making us all miserable for their personal gain. Connectivity is what keeps us all sane and healthy. As this video explains, addiction in our society (to drugs, to phones, to sex, to whatever you use to fill the gap) is caused by a general lack of connectivity.
I don’t want my audience to grow because some click farm in The Phillipines has given me 250,000 likes for a price. I want to develop my audience old skool, person to person, but the internet won’t let me, it’s profit model is constructed around isolating people under the illusion of connectivity. My accessibility to a public is completely dictated by how much money I spend on any one of a number of advertising services. Today you have to pay an admission fee to get social connectivity and that fee is not only paid in cash but time as well. Those who can’t afford the price of admission are more than likely going to become addicted to something. So my imaginary torture of the aforementioned dweeb programmer was really in the best interests of humanity because the programmer is the pusher in our school yard. It’s time to stop the programmers from destroying our world while they proclaim that they are actually saving it.
When I was young, I used to hand out flyers and mail parcels to people to get them to come to my shows or book me on tour in far off lands. There was something real about a piece of mail and a phone call. But today, every way I turn, it’s all, “You don’t want to do it that way, you want to do it this way”.
But I don’t want to do it their way. In the creative world, forced compliance is not an option, it stifles innovation. I will not be assimilated. Of course, i haven’t worked out my alternate plan just yet, but I become increasingly more motivated to do so with each day that passes and every upgrade I must endure.
If anyone has ideas about this, I am all ears.