“You know what’s also a commitment? Your word. You don’t [need] a commodity fetish tarted with the word “tradition.” Jim Crowe laws were also a “tradition.” These ads may be – at best – saccharin camp. But you can keep the heteronormative property rituals, thanks.”—
HOWEVER, even though I agree with Edward Tufte on most things, I’m not sure I agree with the statement that “software is not neutral.”
I don’t believe that any technology possesses an essential nature. Made by people, and used by people, it communicates something about people. You cannot divorce it from its humanity. Software isn’t “evil.” That’s a human behavior.
It’s not Facebook qua Facebook, it’s the bazillions of people who lerve Facebook unequivocally that make it gross.
“"It was straight out of ‘Cujo,’" said dental assistant Gina Guaragno, 23. "I’m sitting in my car Facebooking on my phone when turkeys jumped on my windshield. "I screamed like I was being murdered. They just kept looking at me like it was their car. I felt trapped. I was so scared."”—Gang of Rogue Turkeys Terrorize Staten Island
I went to a trade show this morning, in the middle of a Manhattan monsoon. The M34 bus was packed. Just on the cusp of sweaty. The guy next to me updated his status.
The buses don’t pull up right in front anymore. Terrorists, etc. You have to walk over what feels like an Interstate highway bridge, like a refugee. Last stop. There’s nothing beyond 12th Avenue.
OH SHIT this trade show is for the New York City marathon??? Panicked call to office. As I continued walking, I spotted “my” event in the distance. That unmistakable font. “Heh, sorry, it’s all good.”
The event was organized around the following principle:
Hey, you know how we put stuff in front of people to convince them to buy things? Now with the dawn on the intertechnowebplex, there are new awesome ways to do that! Fire up your engine and hightail it on down to the [blank]tech, where eyeballs are still king, stickiness is so five minutes ago and mobileapppredictivecontent rulez!
When explaining my career, I sometimes start off with an inside joke: “I’ve been to EVERY [blank]tech” *eyeroll, dismissive hand gesture*. I found myself uttering those words from within the [blank]tech walls this morning, like the Land O Lakes Indian, GRATUITOUS SALLY DRAPER REFERENCE, La Vache Qui Rit.
I was not rit-ing.
Instead I was thinking back, playing the montage of my personal trade show history, casting my glance at the sad sad men in the embroidered shirts and the sad sad stress balls, in all colors, shapes and varieties. The mints. The pens. The hopeful luggage tags. The overly optimistic branded Siggs. The carpet from Freeman rented just for your 10x10 booth — not to mention the additional foot-loving cushioning you pay extra for underneath — that, in this case, was bizarrely printed to resemble the grains of a wood floor.
On this plasticky rubber petroleum-based “wooden” “floor,” I had a lengthy conversation with a woman from Colorado selling corporate domain extensions, i.e. DOT COKE, DOT EYE BEE IM, ETC. I made an ill-received Muommar Qaddafi joke. If you catch that reference I simultaneously salute you and worry for your soul.
After an impromptu meeting in the “beer” “garden” where my compatriot ordered and then immediately threw away a styrofoam plate of hot banana crepes, I returned to the monsoon and took the M42 back crosstown into the loving arms of Pret a Manger. Angus beef chili, large.
If you peel away the merch and the collateral and the infinitely looping video demos, you will find a collection of bored, tired women and men, standing under fluorescent lights, trying to make it to beer o’clock. [blank]tech is no more evil than Wal-Mart on a Thursday afternoon. Which is to say, no more or less evil than any other freeze frame of America at any given time.