I know they’re AT&T ads, but I remember watching these and being so excited for the future. Yesterday, I actually looked up how much a virtual reality headset costs. My car drives on half electricity generated when I brake. These videos make me flush with gratitude for how tech has changed our world.
But I also see that really nothing big has changed. The advances demonstrated in this video are largely conveniences meant to help people consume more quickly and work during their vacations, and making face to face communications obsolete through video screens. Almost everyone in these videos is alone. The in-person interactions are incidental. (The exception is the athlete receiving medical care, which stands out as a humane and very necessary deployment of tech. Sagefully, the patient’s health is of utmost importance to a major American corporate entity – his NFL team – making his recovery not a self evident matter of good fortune for a person and his family, but because he gets back on the field, the season is saved, blah blah blah.)
Commerce will self-innovate, businesses will always look for ways to improve themselves to out compete the next business or address new needs and pain points for consumers. But tech and money can’t solve problems that exist between people. They can only make the conversations more predictable and less frequent, less intimate, they insulate the richest people from the poorest people, and provide a dim glow of connectedness for the warm smelly suchness of other people.
So ‘think different’ is all I’m saying. just do it. you will.
Posted in economics, internet, Quickies, video
Tagged apple, at&t, commerce, internet, smelly, suchness, tech, technology
Nelson Mandela, 1918 – 2013
‘Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.’
- from ‘Invictus’ by W.E. Henley.
I try to see everything labeled ‘environmental/immersive/ambulatory’ that pops up in Los Angeles because I feel it’s the coolest thing theater has going for it. No other form can make you stand up, walk around, touch, feel, smell and throw yourself into a story or experience like the present art of theater. TV and video games can’t do that, and never will (my apologies to Virtual Boy.) And yet, how do we spend our time at plays? Silent, seated, hands folded or clutching a program, policing the behavior of other paying patrons, and counting the minutes until the intermission brings renal release. Artists and companies which go out of their way to stretch and mangle the frozen boxes where we usually imbibe our drama are doing us and the art form a great service, because they are giving audiences something they can’t get from a screen, something undeniably now, with more dimension and perspective than can be achieved while sitting down.
“Everyone grieves differently.”
As most of you know, my theater company Brimmer Street develops original works for the theater from scratch, collaborating with writers, actors, designers and producers from start to finish. Our latest mainstage offering is Pack Up the Moon, by Christina Cigala and starring yours truly.
Posted in Features, los angeles, theater
Tagged #lathtr, Amy K. Harmon, Arts, Brimmer Street, Christina Cigala, los angeles, Moon, NewPlay, Play (theatre)
“Any joke about raping you, yeah, that’s pretty funny to me.”
“WAAHHH WAAHHHH!!! I’m a big cry baby and I need daddy to save me from the razor-sharp wit of an absolute genius!”
This is what Jason Rohrer will read in this post, but I imagine everyone else will feel otherwise. This is because in a brief twitter exchange between myself and Jason today, he managed to turn a perfectly civil discourse on casually offensive comedy, and the strategy of contacting advertisers to combat it, into a personal attack. I figured I’d put my money where my mouth is and let Daddy know he was pulling my hair.
Really I just wanted to consolidate it so he can see how ridiculous he is and maybe get him and others like him to check their privilege and see the light: that casual rape jokes are harmful, and it is not an affront to free speech to point that shit out.
Posted in los angeles, people, snark, theater
Tagged Carlin, Daniel Tosh, Jason Rohrer, Jim Norton, Joan Rivers, Lindy West, Rape, W. Kamau Bell
Imagine that you owned a house, and you discovered what might be a serious problem with its construction. This is a problem that you yourself are not qualified to deal with – let’s say that it’s some combination of engineering and local construction code which only someone with intense training and experience could competently solve. You call a contractor, or an engineer, someone who professes and certifies their expertise in exactly this sort of matter. You pay this person to inspect the damage and give their honest opinion, and recommend a way forward. They tell you bad news – not only is this damage severe, you must tear down your whole house. There’s no way around it. You ask why and they tell you ‘it’s just how it is, I know, because I’m an engineer.’ What else could you say? In the interest of your family’s safety and obeying the law – you tear down your home, presumably to move into an apartment nearby. Maybe you have to money to rebuild, maybe you don’t.
Let’s say that down the road, in about six months, you find out that not only was your house not unsafe, but no laws requiring it to be torn down even exist, and your engineer was lying. They did this to your face, in a public setting and in an official capacity, and they were wrong. Would that person not be responsible? Imagine that this house was in the family for years – wouldn’t that kind of willful fraud be a crime? Isn’t it a gross violation of trust and common decency to profess expertise that one does not have, with the knowledge that people will make decisions on your advice which could impact their lives and those of their family?