Dog Eat Dog

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (Page 238)

“Something had been disconnected. For though I had seldom used my capacities for anger and indignation, I had no doubt that I possessed them; and, like a man who knows that he must fight, whether angry or not, when called a son of a bitch, I tried to imagine myself angry—only to discover a deeper sense of remoteness. I was beyond anger. I was only bewildered. And those above seemed to sense it. There was no avoiding the shock and I rolled with the agitated tide, out into the blackness.”

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Community Chest in a Heartbeat

BookTalk 4.2 – Apocalipstick

Invisible Man – Chapter 2-6
The Invisibles – Issues #9-16

Times have changed.  Invisible Man was written back in the 1950s and The Invisibles back in the late 1990s, early 2000s; and both stories could have been very different with the technology of today—namely, ubiquitous connectivity, through smart devices and social networks.  If the protagonist in Invisible Man had a cellphone, then he could have avoided or at least alleviated some of the trouble had at college.  If The Invisibles is about the unseen characters in society throughout time, times have changed in that even these individuals have a forum and a community online now.  A globalized panopticon—usually portrayed as dystopian in Literature—has been inverted by the users to unleash powerful computations.

Supercomputers are the most powerful minds.  Humans can structure minds and create networked minds as superstructures, all similarly organized down to the individual cellular structures of the brain.  Program focus and content and resulting actions are dependent variables, still the processing speed, volume, and power (especially in amplitude) offered by supercomputers make them a priority concern.

Community organizers should fortify the superstructures that support a fond supercomputer as soon as possible.  Youth conservation contains an inherent nostalgia that has qualitative value, whether formative or instructive.  Broad scientific studies would include longitudinal structures and diverse sample sets.

Invisible Man – Chapter four (page 99)

Here within this quiet greenness I possessed the only identity I had ever known, and I was losing it.  In this brief moment of passage I became aware of the connection between these lawns and buildings and my hopes and dreams.  I wanted to stop the car and talk with Mr. Norton, to beg his pardon for what he had seen; to plead and show him tears, unashamed tears like those of a child before his parent; to denounce all we’d seen and heard; to assure him that far from being like any of the  people we had seen, I hated them, that I believed in the principles of the Founder with all my heart and soul, and that I believed in his own goodness and kindness in extending the hand of his benevolence to helping us poor, ignorant people out of the mire and darkness.  I would do his bidding and teach others to rise up as he wished them to, teach them to be thrifty, decent, upright citizens, contributing to the welfare of all, shunning all but the straight and narrow path that he and the Founder had stretched before us.  If only he were not angry with me!  If only he would give me another chance!

Young American Men Are Choosing Video Games Over Work in Staggering Numbers https://t.co/pvsOSJTCuh

— F. B. Perdomo (@BeardofSteel) July 17, 2017

Dr. Bledsoe, “Old Bucket-head” (page 101)

He had been kind to me from the first…but more than that, he was the example of everything I hoped to be:  Influential with wealthy men all over the country; consulted in matters concerning the race; a leader of his people; the possessor of not one, but two Cadillacs, a good salary and a soft, good-looking and creamy-complexioned wife.  What was more, while black and bald and everything white folks poked fun at, he had achieved power and authority; had, while black and wrinkle-headed, made himself of more importance in the world than most Southern white men.  They could laugh at him but they couldn’t ignore him…”

PTSD among the post WWII veterans returning home was devastating and poorly acknowledged, and Ellison captures a few perspectives of the black experience on a level of literary prowess akin to Heller’s Catch-22.  The narrator or protagonist progressing the story overall, moves from seeking the right path, to repenting and asking for forgiveness and ultimately accepting a penance, through the course of chapter 2-6.  A spiritual experience that ends with a very real existential rationalization delivered by Dr. Bledsoe in chapter six:

“I know about it.  But you’ll get over it; it’s foolish and expensive and a lot of dead weight.  You let the white folks worry about pride and dignity—you learn where you are and get yourself power, influence, contacts with powerful and influential people—then stay in the dark and use it!”

“Her memories have condensed and crystallized into bric-a-brac around her.  Sometimes it seems to her that they have set her in them, like a fly in amber.”  The Invisibles Omnibus (365)

First, Free WiFi

I started saving documents and forgetting the filenames.  Keywords did not retrieve any results that interested me at the time.  Searching for something was futile in the sense that I forgot what I was originally searching for and it didn’t matter, when there was an endless stream of new information readily available to occupy my time.

He told me to write it like a newspaper article, front page, above the fold, bold headline.  You know, something like on the reading level of a fifth grader, for mass release.  I had not the heart to tell him that the newspapers died a while back and that secretly I still read the newspapers, but they were not same newspapers he was thinking of; he was thinking of the New York Post and I was reading the New York Times.

He continued to dictate to me the extent of a story as I pretended to record it, and if I did, I had misplaced the recording until recently.  After browsing through some files, I recovered a conversation hastily sketched between him, myself, and an audience via speakerphone.  In a few brief moments he revealed how he acquired a vast fortune investing in an historic enterprise.

FiWiFR, pronounced like stiffer, to FWFR means to solve a problem through the market.  I guess it was a reboot of eBay mixed with the convenience of a smartphone app.  The turnaround was quicker, so the behavior reinforcements tightened.  Posting was effortless, and what started as a way to auction off dinner reservations, turned into the de facto way to reserve venues and highly prized ad space and it all melted together after a while.  People FWFRed tasks and other social obligations as part of the gig economy, making it an integral part of the macroeconomy.

Luckily, he harvested the company’s stock and profited from the venture capitalists ready to accelerate FWFR’s brand.  What could not be auctioned off?  The criminal elements of extortion and entrapment intertwined until social regulations strangled the overflowing convenience.  The platform fell out of favor and receded into the technocratic background as another tool for social engagement.

My uncle Frank’s union championed the idea that citizens should be able to auction off their own Internet history data to the highest bidders, and this appealed to the narcissism industry as individuals could actively promote their identity and market it better, thus increasing the capitalization of the data.  You have to know who you are marketing to and what you are selling.  The bottom line is: first won, first reserved.

#301984

Find a new tweet each day in the month of April @BeardofSteel on Twitter.  30 quotes from the first chapter of 1984 rationed for victory and assembled by the hashtag 301984.  30 years after 1984, in the year 2014, I also pieced together a literary analysis of 1Q84, V for Vendetta and 1984, that explores their lasting appeal.  #301984 attempts to clarify all of the sudden resurgence in popularity of a novel published 70 years ago.  Enjoy!

Landscaping

Behind La Tienda exists a lot where there once was a garage.  Now fenced by unkempt chain link, the lot serves as a drive-through pickup point for housing contractors looking for day laborers.  A white extended-cab approaches.  The truck wears splashes of cement and random dents and bangs.  The driver slows to a stop; he points at two guerros.

Coasting down the two lane highway, Karl and Bryan discuss the job ahead.  Bryan spits into a 20oz. bottle of Mountain Dew already a quarter-filled with dark muck.  Karl slams the accelerator to pass a dawdling minivan; he posts his right arm at the top of the steering wheel and slouches to the left as if he’s going to exit at any moment.  Constantly eyeing the mirrors yet never noticing his reflection, Karl mutters about Canadian snowbirds.  Bryan looks straight at the road.

After a few turns, they arrive at a site deep in the forest, an unincorporated part of the county.  A narrow stretch of acreage extends from an aluminum hangar.  As they draw nearer the scent of hot tar surfaces, pinching the nose.  With the engine cut, the birds and crickets cause the most noise for miles out.