Before I let the cat out of the bag with Geek Wednesday, I'd like to recount an incident from my workday. I was checking the news headlines online and saw an item that made me want to reminisce with someone who could appreciate my feelings at the moment. I looked up and saw all the kids at their desks (the average age of our geeks is about 25), and knew it would be pointless with them. Then I saw one old-timer like me, and I called over to him: "Bill, did you hear about Altman? I remember as a teenager thinking that M*A*S*H was the greatest film ever made! Damn, I bet it's still good...Donald Sutherland was the Johnny Depp of his era...made you laugh just by walking into the frame...and Altman was the perfect director for him and Gould..."
This guy deserves the praise that is following him into the realm of the formless: he and his work were truly unique.
Psychotic. You people have been sucked, brain-first, into an evolutionary vortex. Fighting, shooting, pushing, shoving, cursing one another...to get your hands on a machine that plays games.
Oh, hi everybody: it's Night the Cat here, with another edition of Geek Wednesday. Now mind you, I live in a psychotherapist's house, and I have not seen anything approaching the madness that you people will descend to in getting your gear. You're really, really scary when you get like this, do you know?
And guess where it all starts—with corporations and their advertising. Let's review the story that came out of Boston: the gamers themselves actually started out in good order—one of them organized a numbered list of people as they arrived to await the opening. Names would be called in groups, and order would be maintained. But then the store management (the store is owned by SONY) said that the list was useless and basically said, resign yourself to chaos, 'cause that's what you'll get.
So guess what they got? Yep, chaos, just as the corporate talking head predicted—and probably wanted. Sure, get it on the evening news, let the psychotic lust for the machine that does sim-warfare with brain-melting, addictive verisimilitude leap through the airwaves, infecting everyone it touches. This is the goal, the most devout wish for consummation that any corporate marketing dweeb can imagine: call it demonic viral marketing. Order is as repugnant to these people as the English language is to your President. Chaos fills the cash register.
Therefore, by the time the mayhem had started and the police arrived, the SONY marketers' ardent dream had come true: the crowd had turned into a mob. The cops made the store honor the original list that the gamers had devised. The whole story, and others even worse, may be found here.
Let's see if we can find any sanity in geekdom this week. Ah...no, never mind, not here: the Zune is incompatible with Vista. But in the name of Bast, you gotta love Microsoft: they're just so incredibly, doggedly incompetent that they make you laugh. Maybe that's why we keep giving MS our money, because they're so funny. Maybe that's also why Pelosi says impeachment is off the table: when Bush is gone, what will Stewart, Colbert, and Letterman have left to lampoon?
Another sign of lunacy: my human, the psychotherapist, calls it "emotional lability." Are MS and Novell friends (last week they were) or enemies, sniping at one another like a couple of Middle Eastern despots? If you care, then maybe you're just as certifiable as Gates and the whole lot of those corporate dogs...
All right, there's got to be some note of sanity in geekdom this week...let's see what Apple's up to, they're good for a little common sense most of the time, not to mention great products. OH NOOOOO, they're having a Black Friday event!!!!!
I give up—humans, you're on your own. As Roger Waters would say*:
And when you lose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown.
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone.
And it's too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around.
So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone,
Dragged down by the stone.
*Pink Floyd fans and lovers of great music: don't forget to bookmark Daily Rev (or use the links in the sidebar to add us to your RSS reader), because in January, 2007, we'll be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of Animals, with reviews, insights, reminiscences from the band, and sound files of this epochal event in modern musical history.