Posts Tagged iPod

We need another villain

cinematic villainsI’m looking for a good villain. I’ve had enough of relatable bad guys that need to be empathized with as well as feared. Maybe it’s just leftover angst from the Presidential Election, but I’d like to see a character whose two dimensionality I can point out without making me look like a bad person.

What the public needs is someone they can love to hate. Someone whose iPod has a playlist of children crying. Someone who keeps a cat around just so they can maniacally pet it in a revolving chair. Someone who looks good (and by good, I mean bad) with a mustache.

In the world of nerd literature, definitely the best place to look for archetypal bad guys, the opposite is the trend. As writers strive for more depth, characters wearing both white and black hats become more realistic.

That’s great most of the time, but sometimes it’s just fun to watch Captain America punch the Red Skull in the face without having to consider the Skull’s perspective.

Giving a character a detailed set of motivations makes him or her more relatable, but it also makes the character less evil. Audiences were supposed to view the army Voldemoort raised in the final Harry Potter film as the ultimate force of darkness, but it looked like a mob of homeless people. You’re supposed to fear the Army of Darkness, not empathize with it because social stratification left it with no other viable options!

A good work of film or literature needs complex characters, but sometimes readers and viewers need absolutes. Everyday life is a gray blob, we face choices that are morally ambiguous and often inconsequential outside of the moment. Even when someone commits a genuinely bad act, there is usually a reason behind it.

We forgive people’s bad vibes, and wonder if we’re making the right choices, but we often don’t know anything for sure. A little fictional certainty once and awhile is a good thing. Shakespeare had it right when he created Iago.

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Digital nausea

serversIn his first novel, Nausea, Jean-Paul Sartre describes how inanimate objects can stifle the growth of an individual’s identity. Of course, anyone with a large amount of possessions knows that these objects can become overwhelming in a physical, as well as an existential, way.

Consumerism is an important part of modern society, but eventually people start running out of places to put things. That explains why so many people flock to minimal devices like iPods and Kindles to store their collections of music and books. However, what they may really be doing is creating nausea in a new medium.

My original iPod still works perfectly, despite being several years old, yet I had to trade it for a newer one because it ran out of space. As soon as I got the new one, I gathered my CDs for an upload session, only to realize that, loaded with music, photos, and other files, my computer itself was running out of space.

Of course, there are devices with more storage space. I could always upgrade further to an iPod Classic, which has 160 GB of space, and a new Macbook Pro with up to 750 GB, just as an example.

If that’s not enough, there’s always the Cloud. Internet companies have massive buildings full of red hot servers that can store a lifetime’s worth of data.

Still, I wonder if that would just prolong the inevitable. Like cars on a new stretch of freeway, stuff has a tendency to fill any vacuum. Empty space just isn’t useful, even if it is a good insurance policy.

In “Billenium,” a dystopian fiction story by J.G. Ballard, two people in an overcrowded future discover a hidden room. In a world where living space is dolled out four square meters at a time, this normal-sized room is a treasure… Until the discoverers  invite more and more people and the open space disappears.

People seem to do the same thing with their purchases, especially when music is just a click away and only $0.99 per song. But what happens when we can’t cram any more entertainment into these tiny containers?

Each individual needs to decide when the line between collector and hoarder, or between functional human being and sufferer of nausea, has been crossed. It’s just important to remember that everything, even in digital form, takes up space.

Our future selves may laugh at bookshelves and CD cases, but that future will be built on a trail of discarded devices and new server nests. We spend a lot of time in the digital universe, but we still exist in the physical one.

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