Monday, January 2, 2012

Smartphones: Taking Over Human Interactions One Byte At A Time

Happy New Year kiddies! Being the curmudgeon that she is, The ABIB is always glad when the holidays are approaching and then even gladder when they are done. Although I do love our sparkly, perfectly-shaped Christmas tree! Anyhoo, been closely monitoring the alien takeover of our species and I'm here to give you an update, folks.

Smartphones: those amazing gadgets that can do everything from the mundanity of making a call (YAWN) to helping you to propagate the species (Hey, Siri, where's the closest sperm bank?). Yes, they have invaded our lives to the point where I have to speak out, to issue in the strongest terms a dire warning: THEY ARE HERE TO ENSLAVE HUMANITY! Yes, folks, it's true, smartphones have been sent by...who knows but my bets are on the Thetans (more on that later), to take over our lives and they're doing it with our enthusiastic, nay, sycophantic complicity. It has reached the point where, if you don't have a smartphone you are considered to be either, a: sadly unhip/downright hayseed-y, and/or b: a fucking cheapskate. See, they have cleverly begun the tide whereby they turn us against each other with themselves as the point of belonging. I know what you're thinking: Hey, ABIB, what's your fucking problem? Are you one of those sadly, self-deluded "superior" types who resist the inevitable, technological move forward? Are you still laughably reading paper books and printed magazines? Are your feet hopelessly stuck in the mud of pathetically outdated Luddite landscapes that keep you vainly rooted to the past? Fair questions, my friends to which I say: FUCK NO! Hey, I have a cellphone (of the non-smart variety...does that make it a "dumbphone"?), I have FIOS, I have Facebook, I Google stuff! No, this is not about The ABIB being a bitter crank (which of course, she is), it is about humans being drawn inexorably into the Android, iPhone, whatever-other-world-construction of our own doom. Can anyone say "The Matrix"?

To wit: I was at the movies the other day and as I was making my way to the restroom, witnessed another theater in the vast multiplex emptying at the conclusion of a movie. Now, generally people go to the movies with at least one, but sometimes several, companions. Ostensibly they do this in order to share the experience, to have another PERSON to talk with about the movie, to be coupled in the same human frame, if you will, namely ENJOYING A MOVIE! So, there I was making my way to the can and was suddenly surrounded by a sea of people WHO HAD JUST SEEN A MOVIE! To my horrified amazement, one by one, immediately upon exiting the auditorium, they whipped out their smartphones and began to slavishly tap things into them. Now, I have to believe that at least TWO of those fuckers were together but I'm guessing the tally is much higher and rather than, oh, I don't know: ACTUALLY SPEAKING TO THE PERSON(S) WHO HAD ACCOMPANIED THEM TO THE MOVIE AND WHO HAD ALSO JUST VIEWED IT, they chose instead to begin communicating with their smartphones. Do you see where I'm going with this people? Where is the logic in actually being in physical proximity to a companion and, rather than engage that OTHER HUMAN in a conversation, instead you choose to communicate electronically with someone at a distance, or perhaps, in a more sinister vein, directly with your phone. This shit is FUCKING CREEPY, PEOPLE! I watched in amazement as they drifted by, unaware of others around them, mesmerized by whatever was being sent to them through the tiny screens in their palms. I tell you, if Rod Serling were still alive this would make the grand daddy of all Twilight Zone episodes.

One need only turn on the TV (see last post on THIS sorry subject) to find oneself lost in a morass of weirdly passive humans all willingly giving up their autonomy to their beloved smartphones. Two commercials in particular come to mind because as I watched them I found myself wondering: who the fuck wants to be like this? The first takes place outside a Verizon wireless store, it's a snowy, pre-holiday night and people are milling around (outside?) when one-by-one Verizon employees begin to activate electronic, smartphone screen-driven versions of things previously available only in the natural world. They "light up" an electronic version of a roaring fire, they activate an electronic tree of smartphone screens that make it "snow". The humans, rather than being horrified at the wholesale robbery of basic reality (FIRE AND SNOW? ANYONE?) are instead mesmerized, awestruck, their blank, shining eyes glazed over with what can only be described as hypnotized emptiness. FLEE MOTHERFUCKERS!! FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES!!

OK, so the second piece of TV commercial evidence I present to you is one for AT&T and their new 4G network, whatever that means. Two lazy-ass motherfuckers are sitting inches apart in lawn chairs, clearly at a football game tailgate party, they are, of course, not speaking to each other or anyone else, rather they are slavishly "interacting" with their AT&T smartphones on the "blazingly fast" 4G network. Three different humans approach them with "news", the first being about ticket availability, he's excited, animated, this is, after all, GOOD news! They slowly raise their deadened eyes and in the MOST INSUFFERABLE manner possible, display their smartphones to him in unison, with proof that, not only do they already know about the available tickets, these two horse's asses have already BOUGHT them and they are waiting at Will Call. The refrain they offer to their HUMAN FRIEND who brought them this information? A superciliously superior snark of "so 27 seconds ago." The message of course being: resistance is futile, asshole; we will always win! This scenario is played out two more times, with the exact same trope: a friend approaches with what is "news" only to be shot down by these two motherfuckers who, in the same shitty way let them know that information gathered in the real world can't hold a candle to their 4G network-powered smartphone reality. And their lazy, fucking asses have never left their lawn chairs. "So 27 seconds ago". This commercial actually makes me want to hurl my television off of the highest building and see it smash into tiny smithereens on the concrete below. "So 27 seconds ago". I saw this commercial for the first time and I found myself wondering WHO WANTS TO BE LIKE THIS? Who friends...who indeed. Well, if our smartphone alien oppressors have their way: ALL OF US!

But you don't have to give in! Resist! Buy a cheap-o dumbphone on eBay and use it for calls and (OK, OK) the occasional text! Fight the power! Risk ridicule and the marginalizingly withering bon-mots of your friends as they ironically try to shame you into joining up with the undead. Keep texting on your sadly ancient numbered keyboard, ignore the jibes of "why don't you get a REAL phone?" I have endured all of these and more in the name of the survival of our species' ability to think for itself and not rely on "Siri" (the same name as Tom Cruise's Scientology spawn? Coincidence? Thetans? Hey I watched the South Park episode, I know the deal!) to answer all of your questions. Get a fucking MAP for Christ sake! Wake UP! Think for yourself before it's too late! Don't make me go all Morpheus on your asses, because I would NOT look good in those pince nez sunglasses, people!