The hyper-reality of modern life.

A beautiful sunny day and at last it’s beginning to feel warmer.

So I went into the garden to sit with Kate instead of lying in bed and writing this blog. One thing I have to do for the rest of my life is not allow my neck to be at all sunburnt. Jaike has a stretchy neck thingy which works quite well but slips a little. I will investigate suitable material and try and design my own. Feel a little self-conscious wearing such a neck protector.

Throat a little sore during the night so took some paracetomol, first time I’ve done it at night for a while.

Just sent a long email off to the HR person for the school with regard to my early retirement and procedures so far, wonder what the response will be?

Kate and I went to the cinema with Sal and Mike (thanks to you both) to see While We’re Young, an ‘inter generational satire’ which made me chuckle and caused me some cogitation. It was about two forty somethings hooking up and being ‘hip’ with two twenty somethings as they experience some mid-life angst. We all empathised with the angst but were uncomfortably aware that we were all fifty something plus.

My main cogitation was over the way we use modern technology. In the film Ben Stiller’s character get’s upset over the way his young counterpart uses subterfuge and some ‘bending of the truth’, otherwise known as lying, to create his documentary. He’s upset because he thinks documentaries are about truth.

Whilst the younger protagonists use old style technology like vinyl and typewriters as it’s ‘hip’, the older folk both use ‘smart’ phones a lot but in different ways to the young ones who use modern technology to mainly record images. Our kids are almost constantly looking at a screen, recording and manipulating images, ‘especially ‘selfies’. In Graeber’s book he writes about how when he was growing up new technology promised so much; for him it was flying cars, me jetpacks, and you out there? But most modern technological development is information, computer based technology. When we were young we would have been amazed by current special effects, brought up as we were on very basic animation. Trouble is it’s only simulation, the ‘simulcra’ of Beaudrillard, the hyper-reality of Eco. And this is where watching the film tied in with Graeber’s take on modern technology which is that so much of it only “makes it easier to create, transfer, and rearrange virtual projections of things that either already existed, or, we now come to realize, never really would”. Much as Stiller’s character began to realise about the younger ‘documentary’ maker. Or as Graeber has it:

“the feeling that we had somehow broken into an unprecedented new historical period where we understood that there was nothing new; that grand historical narratives of progress and liberation were meaningless, that everything now was simulation, ironic repetition, fragmentation and pastiche”.

But that’s just my pretentious take on an entertaining film.

And Philip Hensher in today’s Grauniad writes about what many of us oldies feel about modern phone usage, that people are looking more at the screens on their phones than interacting with those with them or the social and general world around them. But it seems that no-one now complains to people as they rudely stare at some screen or other when they’re supposed to be with each other, and much modern discourse is actually mediated through the various phones. Anyway old curmudgeonly me agrees with Mr Hensher that this behaviour cuts people off from a whole world of creativity and possible social interaction.

It’s interesting to note that Kate has observed how calm Ruby (her daughter) is during and after acupuncture sessions. Kate thinks that it gives Ruby licence to not stare at a screen and interact online and releases her from that pressure.

So the tory twats and liberal liars claim that increasing the untaxed income allowance really helps the low paid. No it hardly does. What helps the low paid is paying them a decent amount.

And what a good idea – stick VAT on financial services, just like other services which have to pay VAT. Of course it would have to be done to make sure just the kleptos pay the tax and don’t pass it in to the poor punters as usual.

Time for another Kliban:

If it works try this link to take a little quiz to see where your voting intentions might lie. I came out Green again like with the one Julie sent.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


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