In the Lighthouse Interview
Thanks to Tom Lichtenberg of Pigeon Weather Productions for picking me as the first interview for his new In the Lighthouse feature. The interview’s highlights include:
- I make several irresponsibly uninformed wild predictions about the future of publishing
- I give a few teaser tidbits about upcoming projects
- Tom says some nice things about me then makes a couple amusing remarks about the ambiguity of my identity and gender
Read it all at http://nblo.gs/fDX93
The God App » If It Didn’t Exist, We’d Need to Invent It
Seems like everyone has an idea for an iPhone app these days.
It’s a scene that plays out with increasing familiarity… you get cornered at a party by some earnest, if deluded, armchair entrepreneur who waits eagerly for you to take a sip of your cocktail, thus rendering you speechless long enough for them to utter the dreaded phrase, “You know, the other day I came up with the BEST idea for an app…” Like the as-seen-on-TV gadget and the dot-com before it, the iPhone app has become our get-rich-quick fantasy du jour.
Well the other day, I came up with the BEST idea for an app. Specifically, the other day was when news broke about that Catholic Confession app (an honest-to-God actual app in the iPhone appstore). There’s a lot to love about that app, mostly that it marries two of my absolute favorite things: Catholocism and Apple. But after I thought about it some more, I realized that in many respects, the app simply doesn’t go far enough.
What we really need is a God app.
Here’s what mine would do:
- Confessions: I like the idea of confessing your sins to your iPhone, I really do, but the lack of social media integration is a dealbreaker. Let’s face it, the idea of a private confessional is painfully last-millennium. But an app that lets you broadcast your confession in 140-character chunks to Twitter, Facebook, or your other social network of choice? Or better still, lets you post photos and video of you actually committing the sin you need to confess? Now that is something worth shelling out $1.99 for.
- Praying for Guidance: One of the major benefits of religion is that it makes most of your important decisions for you, so of course your God app is gonna need that capability, too. Essentially this would work like that Magic 8 Ball app (or like an actual Magic 8 Ball, for readers born before 1990). Ask your God app a question, shake your phone, and the app will spit out a randomized response. For best results, questions should be answerable by phrases like “Yes”, “No”, or “Ask Again Later”.
- Scripture: Yes, the God app will have an e-reader feature pre-loaded with public domain spiritual texts spanning the gamut of faiths. And if you’re feeling a little agnostic, switch to shuffle mode and get random phrases from the various texts thrown together in quasi-meaningful arrangements, Burroughs cut-up style.
- Sacrifice: Ask the Aztecs, ask Cain and Abel, no self-respecting religion lets its followers off the hook without sacrifice. But human sacrifice is out, since bludgeoning someone to death with your iPhone is only going to break your iPhone, thus seriously hindering any future use of the God app. And no one wants to be stuck trying to cram meat and vegetables into their 40-pin jack, it’s just not sexy. So really the only viable sacrifice is the skrilla. Think about it, Paypal integration for your God app, get back in your maker’s good graces with in-app transactions. Cheating on your spouse? No problem, just buy some sin credits. Planning a weekend-long bender? Better top-up your sin bank in advance to make sure that worrying about your immortal soul won’t harsh your buzz. Starting a new job on Wall Street? Sounds like a lot of sinning up ahead, but luckily, setting up automatic monthly transfers to your sin bank is easier than threading a camel through a needle’s eye.
Those two guys on Jeopardy obviously don’t watch a lot of sci-fi; otherwise, they’d have known that all you have to do to defeat a supercomputer is ask it what love is.
OK let’s get something clear about Egypt and Tunisia…
These were not online revolutions. Twitter did not overthrow any government.
The internet, smartphones, twitter, facebook… these are tools. Useful tools, but tools nonetheless.
But if those people hadn’t taken to the streets and taken direct action, then no one would have given a shit.
Which isn’t to say that activists in the west shouldn’t learn to use the internet as an organizing tool. Just understand that when it comes to making a real difference, online petitions and green avatars are not going to be enough.
New confession app for iPhone sanctioned by the Catholic Church of the United States
C’mere, kid. You wanna know the secret of existence? I’ll tell ya…
God is standing at the mouth of a cave, screaming “Hello!” into the darkness and pretending that the echoes of her own voice are different people calling back.
This Is a Youth Uprising
Egypt Youths Play New Role: Driving a Revolt
“For decades, Egypt’s authoritarian president, Hosni Mubarak tolerated a tiny and toothless opposition of liberal intellectuals whose vain electoral campaigns created the facade of a democratic process. But this all too comfortable relationship was upended this week by the emergence of an unpredictable force, the leaderless tens of thousands of young Egyptians who turned out to demand an end to Mr. Mubarak’s 30-year rule.”
“Their readiness - tens of thousands have braved tear gas, rubber bullets and security police officers notorious for torture - has threatened to upstage or displace the traditional opposition groups.”
“Over time their leaderless online network and others that sprang up around it - like the networks that helped propel the Tunisian revolution - were uniquely difficult for the Egyptian security police to pinpoint or wipe out.”
“If you look at the Tunisian uprising, it’s a youth uprising. It is the youth that knows how to use the media, Internet, Facebook.”
As I turn the tv on I can feel its mechanical cockroaches chattering inside my brain, and it makes me smile. They stand up as he takes the podium, slabs of slowly-rotting meat stupidly slapping their palms together like a chorus line of trained sea lions. In another forty years every single person in that room will probably be dead. Melanoma über alles.
I want to see what these fuckers look like in Lycra. I want to cake their faces with hypertoxic animal-tested lipstick and drape their skulls with red, white, and blue tinsel wigs. In a country that’s choking itself to death on car exhaust and cholesterol, physical beauty is the only true currency left.
If I can’t vote for any of you fuckers by SMS then what fucking relevance can you possibly have?
This is my state if the union, bitches.
She dropped her Kindle into the foot tub when she nodded off during her pedicure.
Overheard Conversation, First World Problem