When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

Paul Raven @ 25-11-2010

Things are getting real weird real fast. Did you hear about the Germans who insisted on the right to “opt out” of Google Street View and have their houses pixelated? Well, now they’re being targetted by pro-Google activism that consists of drive-by egg-raids and labels stuck to letterboxes proclaiming that “Google’s cool” [via TechDirt].

Double-U. Tee. Eff?

For the record, I think the folk opting out of Street View are misguided, and the egg-raiders are idiots; no advocacy in this post, I assure you. But think a moment on the high weirdness of this situation, about the mad wild flux of global culture that has made it possible. Just a decade ago, this would have been a gonzo near-future sf plot that any sane editor would have bounced for being charmingly implausible…

I’m sure this is the part where I’m supposed to wonder “how did we get here from there?”, but that’s the weirdest thing of all – I know exactly how we got here from there, because I’ve made a point of watching it unfold like a card-sharp’s prestidigitation, but I still can’t quite tell how the trick was done: it’s hopeful and baffling and wonderful and insane and terrifying all at once.

And things are likely to get weirder as the times get tougherI’m starting to think Brenda may have a point; the Singularity’s already started, it just doesn’t look anything like the shiny transcendent technotopia we thought it would be. Which shouldn’t be surprising, really… but it still is.

[ * And a posthumous hat-tip to the late Doctor Gonzo for the headline, who I resolutely believe would be taking a similar horrified joy – or perhaps a joyous horror, if there’s a difference – in the headlines of the moment. We’ve bought the ticket; now we’re taking the ride. ]

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4 Responses to “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”

  1. Chris says:

    I’ve no idea why people are doing these things. Both things 😉

    Cheers from Germany,

  2. ConfidentlyDubious says:

    The alarming thing is that the egg-throwers were NOT protesting (in an idiot and threatening way) against not being able to get non-censored Street View data. No, apparently they were trying to hammer into everyone’s head that “Google is good”, instead.
    This is an isolated episode, so it would be foolish to attach too much significance to it; but…

  3. Wintermute says:

    Google isn’t evil! Larry and Sergei said so!

  4. SpeakerToManagers says:

    Singularity? Nah. It’s just the way people get when the economy turns to crap and millions are out of jobs. Just about everyone goes nuts and bizarre fads pop up all over. Happened during the (first) Great Depression, too. Google “goldfish swallowing”, “hoovercart”, and “marathon dancing”.