Cyber Monday Pawns

Howeswho: Doctor Who - The Rise of the Cybermen

Happy Cyber Monday.  There, if ever there was one, is an oxymoron.  Happy nothing!  Cyber Monday is an out and out marketing scam designed to wrest any remaining contents from the wallets of Black Friday shoppers.

Marketing people fight for what they call “Share of Wallet”.  Not their wallet of course, they are dipping into yours.  They know that because of the twinkly lights and the happy songs that you are feeling all warm and fuzzy and Christmassy right now.  You are full of the joys of the consumerist season, ready to enrich the lives of all about you with the wonderful presents you will give.

Come January all that warm fuzzyness will have descended into a cold, hard, grey reality when you see what you have done to your wallet.  January is a long month, and because the December paycheque usually arrives early the gap between the December and January paycheques is a chasm.

Blue Monday, the saddest day of the year, is the Monday of the final week in January before that new year paycheque arrives in your torn and battered bank account.

The Cybermen were a race of cybernetically augmented humanoids from the Dr. Who series.  They are the equivalent of the Borg Collective from the Star Trek series.  They want everyone to become like them.  They are devoid of emotion, like the Borg they are a collective and see themselves as an upgrade to normal humanity.

The Marketing Industry want to to become an upgraded human.  Enhanced by your PC, Laptop, Tablet or Smartphone and granted instant access to the Global Marketplace you are their pawn.  They lure you into making poor decisions with incomplete information in the very opposite of what the Internet was supposed to provide.

They harvest your search information and use that knowledge to gouge you on the prices for the items of most interest to you.

Instead of becoming a Cyber Monday Pawn today why not defy marketing manipulation.  Be Human, be a Mensch.  Save the planet from consumerism.  Refuse to purchase.  If you need to give gifts why not give gifts that save the planet?  Plant a tree!  Plant a dozen.  One dollar plants one tree.

Spending your money well now will make you feel so much better come the January Blues.

Talk like a robot!

Robots

On February 11th 1938 the world changed.  BBC broadcast the first ever science fiction show.  They chose an adaptation of R.U.R.  (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Capek.  This Czech playwright defined the robot genre with his ground breaking play.

Everything that has explored the Pinocchio concept since has its roots in Capek’s work.  This includes giants of the genre such as Blade Runner, Edward Scissorhands, Mr Data and the Borg in Star Trek (TNG), I Robot, Robocop, Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, the Matrix and Forbidden Planet.

The word “Robot” is a derivation from the Czech word robota, which means forced labour and derives from the word for a serf.  In English it translates neatly into “Slave-Labour”.

As a theme it has two sides.  One side is the depersonalisation of humanity in the industrial age, treating people as “human resources” and turning them into machines.  The other is the concept of a society that becomes lazy because they pass over menial tasks to machines, giving more and more power to the machines until they take over and enslave us.

Capek’s robots are more man than machine.  In this sense they most resemble the replicants from Blade Runner.

I think I will start a campaign to have Feb 11th designated as “International talk like a robot day”.

Ode to Spot; by Mr Data (Star Trek, TNG, Schisms)

Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,

an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?

Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses

contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,

a singular development of cat communications

that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection

for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;

you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.

And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,

it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display

connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.

And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,

I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.