July 20th, 2011


I Like the Idea of Stephanie Brown as "Robin With a Gun."

I was thinking about marriage in the shower this morning for some reason. Not about my marriage-- I quite like it, though!-- but about the institution. You know, while everyone debates about marriage equality-- a total no-brainer-- there are always the voices that pipe up with "state sanctioned marriage shouldn't even exist!" or "everyone should have civil unions! Marriage is a religious institution, separate Church & State!" Now to the latter I can say "I agree, but the cat is out of the bag. Abolishing marriage isn't going to happen, but either way, it isn't hypocritical to support both equality & also civil unions for everyone." The former question-- should the state sanction romantic unions-- is a thornier one. I mean, there is the huge legacy of oppression to take into account-- traditional marriage rituals being an exchange of property from a father to a husband-- but I think that can be put aside. Then there is the hetero-normative aspect of it, but I think the movement toward marriage equality is taking care of that angle. There is also a serious question of institutionalizing monogamy-- & the problems that polygamy brings into it-- but I think that is almost a whole separate lobe of the argument. So I started thinking-- what is marriage even for? I mean, from a legalist perspective; a a social institution there are plenty of rite of passage, kinship binding features, whatever, but what does the state gain? Traditionally, I think the answer is "parents for children," but with rising divorce rates & single parenthood, I don't think that is the case. In the end, I had to look at the contract aspect of it. If two people throw their lot in together, financially, things can get muddy. "I worked two jobs while you went to grad school" or "I stayed home raising children while you worked" are two easy examples that show how that can play out-- they are essentially life-contracts, a fluid & flexible soup of economic obligations. Now, I can accept arguments that say there should be platonic civil contracts, as well; sort of an adoption process where you become siblings with your long-term best-friend roommate, or whatever-- but again, that is kind of a distaff branch of the argument, along with the "multiple marriage" issue. I guess my point is-- a protected contract for family building is a reasonable legal argument.

Operation Tomorrow.

Since I'm thinking about stuff, I'll make a prediction. It is fairly vague, but I think cuts to the crux of the trends of seen on the internet. In ten or fifteen years? Everybody will have a tablet, but only some people will have a laptop. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I'll go the extra yard & speculate on the why. See, a tablet-- your iPads or whatever-- allow easy consumption. Browsing, lurking, all those things are easily done with the swipe of a finger. Laptops-- it isn't about processing or power or memory, nothing like that. I mean, we can reasonably assume all that stuff will get smaller & cheaper. No, I think the defining feature of a laptop is a keyboard. See, that is I think the crux of the thing. We are all fresh faced on the internet, but I think all us optimists are starting to sober up. "Information wants to be free" & "the Information Revolution will democratize everything" are so naive in hind-sight. Of course everything is a democracy. It already was, it always has been, & people vote that they wanted to be fat, stupid & comfortable. I think the best we can hope for is that the margins will be wider than they've been. Hence-- the keyboard. I mean, lets talk about the second smallest parcel of internet participation-- the comment. Smallest is "like" or "+1" which I'm actually not opposed to, but put that aside. Comments are easy, quick, & cost nothing...but most people don't. I'm constantly reminded of this when people say "I see you comment everywhere!" Really? I just...like, say what I'm thinking & contribute to the dialogue of the internet. Isn't that how it works? Not for most people. Most people say nothing, which is crazy to me. There is micro-blogging-- Twitter, status updates, whatever-- which you can do fine on a tablet. Like "+1" style features, this is good, I'm all for it, but it doesn't change the crux-- which is medium- & long-form participation. Dear every single blogger: you are the best. Doesn't matter what anyone says; let 'em complain that your blog is too boring, or all photos, or only about comics & role-playing games, or too much poetry or whatever. You add to the sum total of art & information, & that is wonderful. Most people? Don't. & that-- that is the heart of the matter. In the future, most people won't need keyboards. All you need to be a consumer & a purchaser is to be able to point at a picture of what you want. It isn't the Orwellian future we should be worried about; it is the Huxleyian future. Not Newspeak but Soma. In a decade or so, the keyboard will be the sign of somebody who cares-- an object of mild derision for the rest & a symbol of pride for the few.
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